Wiring a receptacle for a lift station

hydrogeo99August 16, 2010

Wow, everybody has been such a great help on this board...I'm two for two so maybe someone can help with my last electrical dilemma.

I have a lift station next to my septic tank that pumps effluent to the drainfield. The lift station is a precast concrete structure with a 120V pump and float switchÂthe float switch has a 3-prong cord that piggybacks the pump cord. Obviously, these both need power at the lift station. The original owners of the house had run a dedicated 120V romex line to the pump station and just stuck a receptacle box on a PVC conduit next to the pump station. The cord from the pump and float switch just came out of the ground next to the pump station and plugged into the outlet. This was unsightly, and in addition, the PVC conduit had broken at some point, leaving the receptacle box dangling from the PVC conduit. The power cord for the pump/switch was exposed to the elements as well as un-protected from damage, and now the romex that brought power to the receptacle was exposed as well.

I dug a hole next to the lift station and installed a GFCI receptacle in a PVC junction box set inside a water meter type enclosure so I would have access to the receptacle but it would remain out of sight and protected from damage. That worked fine for some time, but on occasion (when it rains a lot) the GFCI trips when too much water gets into the meter box enclosure.

SoÂIÂve been trying to find a better way to provide power to the lift station. I thought of just installing a junction box inside the lift station for the receptacle and then plugging the cords to it, but believe that would probably be considered an explosive environmentÂso that's probably not the best way to do it. Does anyone know of any type of sealed or explosion proof enclosure that would allow me to install the receptacle inside the lift station? Or maybe some type of waterproof enclosure that I can replace the water meter box with so I can keep the receptacle out of sight and out of harm? I've only got about a foot of cord or less coming out from the lift station so whatever is used has to be installed right next to the lift station or inside the lift station. Any other ideas? Thanks,


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First, NM (Romex) isn't listed for wet locations, and that's what the inside of a buried a conduit is. So that's your first problem.

Also, I'm pretty sure (don't have a reference right next to me) that you can't use PVC conduit to support a receptacle. You'd need rigid for that, I think. You might have to use a second means of support even with that. One of the pros who do this every day may have an instant answer for that one.

Once those problems are dealt with, maybe an ordinary in-use cover would be sufficient for proper protection. That's assuming that it's big enough to enclose the plug and its piggyback connector.

I'll be curious to see what the pros say about this.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 9:08PM
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Our neighborhood has numerous lift stations. They all have a foot or two of 4x4 treated post sticking out of the ground that the box and conduit are fastened to. The box has an all weather cover and a glow is plugged into the second slot of the outlet.

At night you can look out and see if the power is on at the lift station.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 10:44PM
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I would mount a panel for outdoor use in between two 4x4's and marine grade plywood and house everything in there or...

Use a piece of 4" or better yet 5" conduit and run the wires up in it like a phone pedestal and cut a section out of the top of the pipe out like 3/4 of the pipe down 8" and remove it so you have a backing area to mount the GFI box. You could then cap a piece of 6" pipe to slide over it.

This is still not as good as a pedestal made for such a use but it would be above ground and pretty durable if you slit the pipe up for the wires and buried it deep enough.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 12:26PM
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