An electrical contractor damaged jars during installation resulting in delayed leaks surfacing after new battery and battery building was turned over to plant operations.

In 2017 we received a call from a utility customer who reported leaking cells in a new battery recently installed in their plant by a contractor working for a major engineering firm. In addition to the loss of electrolyte in the jars, the customer noticed electrolyte underneath the elevated building, apparently leaking through the floor. We were asked to send a technician out to identify, jumper out, and remove the leaking cells.

Once on site, we discovered that the problems were much worse than the customer realized.

  • The leaking cells were being filled with distilled water as the electrolyte leaked out. Over time all electrolyte in the leaking cells had been replaced with distilled water. The measured specific gravity of those cells was 1.001. As a result, the battery would provide little to no usable energy if called upon to support the load.
  • The leaking electrolyte had caused corrosion of the battery rack and the metal floor beneath it.
  • In addition, the electrolyte was leaking through the floor of the battery room onto the concrete below the battery building. This created a safety issue for personnel walking beneath the building.

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