UTGIS recently launched H2Volt, the first standardized contact voltage safety testing program for pools, marinas, and other public water features such as large fountains.
"To the best of our knowledge, H2Volt is the first electrical safety testing program based on the new Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Guide, IEEE-1695," says UTGIS owner Mark Voigtsberger. "1695 addresses a number of different stray and contact voltage testing protocols, including pool and marina testing." Voigtsberger points out that IEEE-1695 is not a mandatory standard, but does represent years of work and research on the subject.
Pool and marina wiring problems are common, and can sometimes lead to electrical shocks or electric shock drowning, as reported by EC&M in the article “What Lies Beneath” and the ebook “Electric Shock Drowning: The Truth Behind the Tragedies.” The damp and harsh waterfront environment degrades electrical infrastructure at a much faster rate than in a home or business. This degradation can result in electrical "leaks" — what the IEEE calls contact voltage. This leaking voltage may enter the main body of water, hurting or disabling a swimmer.
H2Volt is a multistep testing process, meant to be part of a routine maintenance program and not a standalone procedure. That is, H2Volt is designed to validate the other elements of an existing maritime electrical safety program — such as adhering to applicable building and wiring codes, testing ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) monthly, and performing visual checks for frayed cables or damaged grounding and bonding components.
Each area to be inspected under H2Volt is first checked for voltage potentials in what UTGIS calls the "dry side" test: equipment, devices and accessories found along the pier not normally in direct contact with the water. The "wet side" test involves taking actual voltage measurements in the water- both Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) — and mapping that data out with GPS/GIS technology. In addition, the GIS mapping allows layering of data from multiple test cycles to help predict future trouble spots.
For more information, visit www.utgis.com.