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Electrolysis mitigation

Protecting underground and underwater from the effects of stray electrical currents.


An objective of ESV is to protect underground and underwater structures from the corrosive effects of stray electrical currents – electrolysis.

Electrolysis is the effect of stray electrical currents on buried metallic structures.

Stray current corrosion is the damage that occurs when a direct current from a source such as a railway or Cathodic Protection system returns to the source via an unintended path such as a metallic pipeline.

An electrolysis mitigation system is designed to reduce the effects on metallic structures of the leakage of stray electrical currents. It comprises the feeder cables, the substation equipment and drainage bonds connected to the feeders.

In discharging our responsibility to oversee the management of electrolysis mitigation, ESV is advised by the Victorian Electrolysis Committee (VEC).

ESV’s role in electrolysis mitigation

ESV’s Electrolysis and Cathodic Protection Regulation team is responsible for ensuring compliance with legislative requirements through its performance of the following activities:

  • coordinating Area Tests to determine the extent of stray current issues within a traction substation area and ensure the effects of stray current corrosion have been minimised
  • compliance testing of electrolysis mitigation equipment
  • using its enforcement powers under the Act to enforce non compliances and direct their remediation
  • approval, registration and auditing of cathodic protection systems
  • investigating reported corrosion issues to determine causes, mitigation, and regulatory breaches.

More information

Date: 06/12/2023 13:18

Controlled document

The currency and accuracy of this document cannot be guaranteed once printed or saved to a storage device. If in doubt, please check the ESV website for the current version.

Reviewed 30 January 2023

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Electrolysis and Cathodic Protection Regulation team

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