Grounding of Electrical Circuits on Water Pipe

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) opposes the grounding of electric systems to pipe systems conveying drinking water to a customer’s premises.

AWWA opposes the systematic interchange of stray electric current between electrical distribution systems and water distribution systems, as well as the use of the water pipe system as an essential part of any electrical system. AWWA does not object, however, to the connection of all interior piping of a building to the electrical service neutral and to a separate grounding electrode, provided that such interior pipe systems and grounding connections are electrically isolated from the water supply pipe system.

AWWA reaffirms that the water utility’s obligation is to operate and maintain its system at maximum efficiency, safety, and economy from a waterworks viewpoint. In fulfilling its obligation, a water utility has the right to specify and use any available piping material or nonconductive pipe-jointing materials for mains or services, and to disconnect any grounding connection that has been installed on its mains or services without its consent. AWWA asserts that a water utility has no direct or indirect responsibility in connection with the installation of water pipe grounding systems or for the maintenance of the integrity of any grounding attachment or connection made to a water pipe system.

Note: In this policy, Water distribution systems, water pipe system, mains, or services, refer to the utility owned or supply piping which is to remain electrically isolated from a building’s or structure’s interior piping system.

Practices specified in this policy statement are consistent with all other pertinent AWWA policy statements.
Adopted by the Board of Directors, May 22, 1966, reaffirmed Jan. 24, 1971, revised June 14, 2003 and January 25, 2009. Revised Jan. 19, 2014. Reaffirmed by the Board of Directors Jan. 14, 2017.