drawings and specifications. You may be asked to
submit information (fact-gathering package) on a new
power distribution addition to the base. If so, the
following recommended actions need to be considered:
Install utility poles in the same location,
especially on upgrade projects.
Install power distribution systems underground
Conduct a survey using a map to chart the
territory where the distribution lines are to be
routed (for large areas, aerial photography is
faster and more accurate).
Ensure that the survey map is large enough to
clearly show all buildings. roads. streams, hills,
ridges. railroads. bridges. and any existing
power and communications lines.
Select the straightest and shortest route
Route the new distribution system near or in the
general direction of future load demands.
Make the distribution system readily accessible
for construction. inspection, and maintenance by
paralleling them to existing streets and highways.
Avoid crossing hills. ridges, and swamp areas
whenever possible to reduce the possibility of
lightning and wind damage. These areas also
increase costs because additional materials are
needed and maintenance will be more difficult.
Coordinate with communication companies to
prevent the induction of interference with their
Select a route that is away from residential areas
and does not damage the environment.
Keep major traffic routes free from primary,
circuits. especially in nonindustrial areas.
Keep-distribution lines on the same side of the
road whenever possible.
Avoid blocking driveways, entrances. exits. and
fire escapes when installing branch lines or guys.
Locate poles 2 feet from the curb.
Finally. plan for future street-lighting circuits.
Many different types and makes of overhead
distribution equipment are in use today. This chapter
will cover some of the standard equipment you will
install and maintain, such as poles, transformers,
capacitors, interrupting and protective devices.
Utility poles that support electrical lines must be
designed to support the conductors, insulators, and
shield conductors in a manner that provides adequate
electrical clearances. A safe clearance must be
maintained when the conductor temperature is
elevated as a result of a large amount of current flowing
in a circuit and also when the conductors are ice coated
or strong winds are blowing.
The three most common types of poles that you will
be working with are wood, reinforced concrete, and
steel. Other types of poles in use are as follows:
aluminum, fiber glass, and polysil. As a Seabee
assigned to either a PWC or a battalion, you will be
responsible for ordering, installing, and maintainingthe
Power lines supported by wood-pole structures are
generally considered to be the most economical. In the
United States, the southern yellow pine, western red
cedar, and the Douglas fir are the most commonly used
species of tree. All wooden poles are given a
preservative treatment (normally pressure treated) to
prevent deterioration. The service life of the utility pole
can be doubled by preservative treatment. Many of the
older poles now in use were treated with creosote.
Creosote is a toxic compound that irritates the
skin and sometimes causes blistering. It is also
carcinogenic and is being phased out because
of groundwater contamination problems.
Used creosote contaminated poles may not be
burned and must be disposed of in EPA
approved landfills. You should use extra care
when working around poles treated with
creosote, avoid prolonged skin contact, and
wash thoroughly after handling. Clothing
contaminated with creosote should be
laundered separately from family clothing.
Creosote oil, pentachlorophenol, and chromated
copper arsenates have been used to provide a
preservation treatment of wood poles. Newer poles are
now treated with less toxic chemicals and, therefore,
are safer to work with and also easier to climb (because
the treatment softens the wood). They are
environmentally acceptable because they do not
contain materials that are toxic to mammals.