What guidelines should be considered when placing an OSP copper cable underwater?

February 4, 2020

Standard gel-filled OSP copper cables are designed for water-prone areas, but for applications that require the cable to be under significant water pressure (e.g., ponds, lakes or rivers) we recommend additional mechanical protection for the cables. By specifying one or two additional steel shields along with an additional over-jacket, the cable can be used for water depths of 40 feet or more. Superior Essex designates cables with this extra protection as “+M” (for one additional steel armor) or “+2M” (for two additional steel armors).

Superior Essex also recommends that the span under water be no longer than one reel length so that the length of the cable under water does not require splices or a connection point close to the water edges.

Even with the added protection of additional steel armoring, caution must be taken during placement of the cable to protect it from external hazards such as rocks, boat anchors and boat propellers. This can be accomplished by placing the cable in a conduit. The added protection of steel armoring, plus a conduit, offers the maximum protection for short underwater crossings.

The cable should be placed and secured at the bottom of the body of water, to prevent the cable from floating to the surface.

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