LightningMaster Corp

GRWA Winter Spring Edition 2018


Plant operator quiz:  One South Florida wastewater plant suffered multiple, serial pump bearing failures int he same area of the plant.  Operators soon noticed that the failures occurred a few days after a suspected lightning strike.  the causes of the pump failures were eventually determined to be:

A.  Faulty bearings

B.  Angry micro-organisms with tiny wrenches

C.  Lightning

Although B, was strongly suspected by several operators, it was eventually determined that the cause was C. When lightning struck nearby, the secondary effect current flow through the bearings would cause pitting, leading to total bearing failure.

Although a direct lightning attachment is truly impressive, and will probably destroy most electronics, direct strikes are relatively less frequent that nearby strikes.  If you look at the footprint of an entire plant plus its immediate surroundings versus the footprint of a single structure, lightning is obviously much more likely to strike nearby than directly.

Therefore, most of the damage caused by lightning is secondary effect damage, EMP damage, or damage caused by changes in ground reference potential.  A nearby strike is much more likely to occur, and nearby strikes generate these indirect types of damage.

To continue reading how to protect against these occurances, read the remainder of the article here: