Project: T203700 #3728

This project is to develop a guideline which can be followed by utility and consulting engineers on the best practices in grounding of steel poles.

This project is to develop a recommended guideline on the best practices in grounding of steel poles. The study shall summarize grounding concerns and challenges such as gradient control, pole coatings and corrosion control as well as investigate different methods of grounding steel poles


Alternatives to wood poles, steel, aluminum and composite, have become more prominent in recent years. Steel poles have particularly been selected as a wood alternative. Issues and concerns related to grounding of steel poles include but are not limited to the following:

  • Continuity through the slip-on section junction point and the need for flexible copper jumpers
  • Continuity through bolted connections used for –arm brackets, steel caisson foundations and pole sections
  • Given the above two items, ability for the pole to be used as a conductive path for placement of personal protective grounds
  • Hardware used to ground the pole
  • Corrosion of the buried pole section
  • Using the buried steel as the grounding electrode rather then a separate ground rod
  • The design and inclusion of gradient control rings outside around the pole base
  • Inclusion of a non-conductive coating on the pole base below grade and/or just above the ground line level
  • The use of weathering steel versus galvanized steel