Tracer Wire Requirements
Requirements for Tracer Wire
The following requirements are based on state code:
- Wire shall be a minimum of 18 gauge, insulated, single-conductor copper wire - Comm 82.30.11(h)1(b)
- Tracer wire insulation color for non-metallic sewer pipe shall be green - Comm 82.30.11(h)1(h)
- Tracer wire insulation color for non-metallic, potable water pipe shall be blue - Comm 82.40.8(k)2
- Exterior access location shall include a means of protecting the tracer wire - Comm 82.30.11(h)1(e)
The water tracer wire shall start in a tracer box located at grade, then be brought down to a grounding clamp which must be attached to the copper service stub (clamp shall be bronze or stainless steel). From there it must run above and parallel to the plastic water pipe to the house foundation and grounded.
The sewer tracer wire shall start in a tracer box located at grade (the same box as noted above), then be brought down to the sewer lateral. This line is not attached to the copper service stub. From there it must run above and parallel to the plastic sewer pipe to the house foundation and grounded.
Tracing the Wire
In order to trace the wire, it needs a return path to ground. Therefore the wire must be attached to an approved grounding conductor (such as copper or copper coated steel) at the point where the pipe enters the footing/foundation. The tracer is to be attached to the grounding rod with a brass or stainless steel clamp. A 2 foot grounding rod is adequate. Rebar is not acceptable. Tracing wire shall not to be bonded to the grounding system inside the home or grounded to the homes foundation. Do not loop tracing wire. When a locating signal is sent down looped lines, which are close together, the tracer signal down the wire will be canceled out by the return signal.
The box shall be installed a minimum of 2 feet from the curb stop, toward the home. This convention will help when using a metal detector to find a curb stop or trace box. Wires need to be a minimum of 2 feet-deep to protect from irrigation and landscaping. Leave extra (slack) wire in the tracer box to allow for shift due to frost, and for removal of the tracer cover. Just as with a curb stop, the box shall not be paved over in the driveway or sidewalk.
Maintenance, repair, and adjustments to final grade shall be the owners or contractors responsibility. See the Tracer Wire Diagram (PDF) for more information.
The tracer box shall have a metal cover to aid in locating. Some manufactures examples are: Bingham and Taylor - 2 ½ inch boxes, Valvco Tracer Wire Access Box and Copperhead Tracer Wire Box, or an approved equivalent. Though the box cover does not have to be labeled, it is preferred that it say “Tracer Wire.” It cannot be labeled “Electric.”
Grounding Clamp for Copper Stub
The clamp shall be bronze or stainless steel to prevent corrosion.