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Tap water often quite dark and with a strong chemical smell - what to do? Answered

I don't ask for much help but this time I am reaching the end of my knowledge and patience with landlord and water authorities.

That's the story so far:
When I moved in I did the usual checks and tests but of course did not pay too much attention to what comes out of my taps.
After a few weeks I noticed that the drain in bathroom sink seems to rust on the enamel....
Easy wipe with some cleaner fixed it but since the actual drain is made of brass I started to wonder what caused the discoloration in the first place.
A bit later I had my niece here and while she had a shower I realised that I only get very little hot water from any other tap in the house.
Landlord stated that no one would need hot water from two outlets at one and refused to have it checked out - WTF??
Paid for plumber myself and the result was not good.
The hot water system is connected "open" was his answer after half an hour of messing around.
For the lame man it means that whenever there is a pressure difference between hot and cold water it will go through the hot water system.
Did not fully get this so he showed me in the laundry.
Open the hot water a bit and it runs out fine, open the seperate cold water tap and the hot water stops.
This even worked when turning on the cold water in the kitchen.
The water is able to go back into the hot water system through the outlet much easier than through the inlet side.
And to top it off, the current install basically turns the hot water system into a giant bypass valve :(
Paid a few bucks extra so I would get that same explanation in writing for my landlord a few days later.

The next and growing problem is the chemical smell.
If highly chlorinated then my aquarium test kit would show this and recommend to use a water conditioner when using tap water to top the tank up.
And it does not really smell like any chlorinated water I know.
Definately a chemical cleaning or sanitation smell though.
The plumber could not do more than basic tests so I contacted my water supplier.
To my surprise they were happy to send someone out for free.
Of course they only cared about their product and all tests were limited to the tap right next to the water meter.
Pressure ok.
Water clearity ok.
Chlorine levels next to zero.
"Harmful substances test" came back negative as well.
It was recommended that I have the plumbing under the house inspected for the water color changes and smells/bad taste.
And I had to admit that what came out of the front tap really looked and smelled fine.

Work slowed me down for a while and the problem only came back to my mind when I came back from a weekend trip.
Needed something to drink quickly so I filled a glass from the tap.
It came out like from a rusty bucket.
Definately of brownish color and the chemical smell worse then ever.
Had to let the water run for about 15 minutes to get something out I dared to drink.
Installed a water filter a few days later and though all is good now.
Pre-filter, 0.5 micron filter and then a cartridge with activate carbon.
Am a single and the unit was meant to be for a busy family.
Should have been good for well over 5000 liters of water.
I don't really use much in the kitchen for drinking and cooking purposes so I guesstimated I need new filters every 12 to 18 months at worst.
They lasted less than 4 weeks before the water came out in drops instead or running....
Cutting the fliters open revealed that both pre- and fine filter were fully blocked and brown.

Provided all documents and evidence to my landlord but again was told there is no issue and the house is just old :(
As a last resort I tried to get under house yesterday to check the pipes itself.
Couldn't get all the way in due to all the pipes from the ducted heating system.
But I found a bad mess of literally all bad plumbing skills.
From the water meter a just finger thick copper pipe goes under the house.
This goes into some 1/2" galvanised steel pipe and it look the main way of sealing the connection was some glue or resin around the screw fitting.
The same old gal but thinner pipes go close to where the connections for water go.
There the "plumber" again used screw on press fittings and glue to connect to thin copper pipes.
Hot water is designed the same way, one big gal pipe straight through and then thin copper pipes connected to it.

I am not a plumbing expert but I do know that copper and steel won't mix if water is involved.
Assuming the hot water system is affected in the same way then this giant battery is eating away the thick gal pipes while supplying me with all the byproducts of this galvanic reaction.
The landlord won't budge unless I take legal action and around here you would want to do this as a tennant.
Right now I have a long garden hose from the front tap going through my kitchen window :(
At least I get usable drinking and cooking water this way, my fish no loger suffer losses after the topping up the water from this hose either...
But this can't go on like this.
Once the gal pipes start to leak the landlord is required to act but not before that.
And chances are these thick pipes will last a few more years before failing :(
If i wouldn't know better then I would say at some stage the ducted heating was replaced and to have more room all but the main gal pipes were removed.
All copper pipes are the flexible ones and are bend to follow the floor and wooden beams.

What are my real life options to fix this water problem?
A set of filters ever 4 or 6 weeks sets me back close to 120 bucks each time, hence the garden hose :(
What sort of tests can I make to determine what is actually created in my water that causes the smell, taste and discoloration?
By the way: a simple rust test available to check for corroded steel pipes only shows traces of rust even if the water is of a slight brownish color.
Replacing the piping myself is not just far over my budget but also not allowed for a tenant.
And somehow I still wonder if there is more hiding in the walls but could not get close enough to see if the opper pipes actually connect to the taps or just another piece of old steel pipe.
Apart from the obvious, what are the dangers of having steel and copper pipes mixed like this for my health?

Discussions

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Downunder35m

8 months ago

I had the used filter from work out drying, then for another hour at a bit over 60° just to be sure it is dry.
If the scale does not lie to me then the new filter has a weight of 365grams.
The one that got blocked after 3 days comes in a hefty 520grams.
Means about 150grams of sediments in 3 days....
Checked the weight again after work and after another 3 hours kept hot but no significant change on the scale, so it really was dry.
With that my boss contacted our water supplier.
Quite quickly we were told that based on our water consumption it would actually be a really low amount of sediments and that our filtration system might not be suited for the job.
Quite rude too...
Then we contacted the experts for our filtration system and presented our findings and concerns.
Funny enough they stated the amount of sediments is unacceptable for any kind of commercial beverage filtration system.
The model we have is still considered to be overrated for our usage.
To make things worse we were told that in other areas they service directly (we do it ourself) they don't even see any sediments in the filter and usually not the pre-filter but the fine particle filters at the other end need replacement earlier.
That sediments also block our fine filters prematurely was said to be a sign of very poor water quaity.
Only option to prevent these ongoing costs and filter changes would be to upgrade to two stage filter system with automatic flush funtion - to be installed before our actual filters!!!
My boss did not like that idea either so we are now seriously considering to involve the health department for an independt check and evaluation.

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Downunder35m

8 months ago

Wonders do seem to happen after all :)
Today at work our water so badly colored that the girls preparing a bucket was told to do it again three times LOL
After that it was finally acknowledged that we can not tolerate this for a business any longer.
Several pictures were taken and next week my manager will contact our supplier and demand answers as well.
As it turns out the ongoing pressure loss until the filter is blocked is also affecting operations as production times increase as a result.

For my private connection I am still waiting on the promised call to inform me about their own findings on the matter.
A more direct Email address to someone in the quality control department was given as well but I got no reply on my Email to there so far either.
My neighbours either side of me today also confirmed that their water is badly colored and appears cloudy.
I suggested to call their hotline and to report a problem with the water.
Both got the same answer:
The water quality is above standards and we suggest you flush your lines or have a plumber inspect your pipes.

What strikes on these responses is the advertising and promoting.
I have no clue how many plumbers made good money from old ladies by doing really nothing and charging for it.
If mud and sediment come into the meter then there is no way to eliminate it by flushing the pipes of the house, but what do I know...
The next thing is the level of power here.
I contacted several labratories to enquire on prices for a comprehensive water test.
As I mentioned my tap water most told me directly that a test would not be required as my supplier would ensure the best quality by legal requirement anyway.
And in either case the requested amount for testing 50ml of tap water is currently not on my budget.

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Downunder35m

8 months ago

Ok, hopefully starting to get somewhere now.
After the last reply from the water quality team of my supplier came back again with just meaningless stuff and no answers to my concerns I contacted head office directly.
Funny enough they used the same sediment is naturally occuring crap until I stated multiple times that my water is usually colored and that water filters block up after a few days.
They tried to get the corresponding person on the phone but conviently no one picked it up.
As today is a quite bad day in terms of color I again asked for someone to come out and check ut that wouldn't be possible on short noticed as it needs to be sheduled.
Currently it would be possible to send someone late next week...

I again offered to take pictures or videos but appearently their Email options are very limited in size for attachments and an upload on Youtube or a file hoster would not be acceptable due to policies with the computer equippment.
As a last resort I offered to visit me at work and simply watch how a new filter turns brownish within one hour.
This was rejected as appearently commercial beverage systems have different requirements anyway and don't fall under guidelines for residential connections.
Keep in mind all water in this town comes from the same main pipe...
My call ended by being assured someone will call me back on my mobile as soon as it is figured why my Emails are not answered with the required details and what the latest water quality tests for our town were like.
Considering I am fighting the issue now for well over a year quite hard I doubt their records would show anything negative.

The last Email also contained a link to the current guidelines that suppliers have to follow and adhere to.
Basically placed into context so that is supposed to answer my questions.
Very long, very detailed, very boring and complicated to read and understand.
Sediments are mentioned quite often in there.
Things like how they affect and promote bacteria growth, cause layer build up or even "coatings" in the pipe but also how to minimise or control them.
What it does not contain is anything in regards to levels, clearity or color of the water.

Appearently there is no flourides added for our supply as it is coming from natural reserves and requires little to no treatment at all.
That my tests constently indicate their presence was put down to naturally occuring flourides in the supply or simply a bad batch of my test strips...
Same for the other chemicals found through these tests.
Their own tests consitently show all is fine all well below any levels detectable by test strips.

At work no further action will be taken and we suck up the filter costs as appearntly we have a really good price for the water we use.
When I asked if we got that before or after we complained I got no answer....

I am waiting now for a quite expensive set of test strips and solutions to check for bacteria.
Did some reading first on the most common types to found in our creeks and bigger dams.
As those pesky little things don't appear all the time I tried to go back as far I could to find a few types.
Then I searched for a kit that allows to test for the most in my list.
Should come all clear if my supplier is correct, if not then I have to go for a lab test which will set me back even further but now I really want to know how good or bad my so called drinking water really is.


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Downunder35m

9 months ago

Update of the negative sort I guess...
After giving my water provider daily calls for a week now someone came today to check my water again.
I stopped him right when he wanted "to flush the meter out".
Insisting that it makes no difference apart from making sure whatever is currently in the main line floating gets out there is no need to flush.
Mainly though because I wouldn't go out and flush the meter if I need from my tap in the kitchen now, would I??

Again all basic tests including the clearity of the water came back with top results.
The guy then started the usual talk about how good the water is and all that blah blah.
And while he was at it I started to fill a few test tubes of my own.
Some from my aquarium test kits but also the recently arrived tap water test strips.
In both tests kits the alkalinity was above the measuring or better detecting range - all just maxed out.
Then there is a detectable level of lead in the tap water strip.
And both tests confirmed that there is no detectable chlorine or chloride levels.
Both test however also detected trace levels of ammonia.
The water guy already started a lecture about how inaccurate those tests are...
Mind you those test kits are what keep a lot of fish alive in hobby or commercial tanks....
And the tap water test strips came from an authorised lab and they are certified for the AS/NZ testing specifications.
Made the guy read the corresponding parts in the paperwork ROFL
Final blow was my favourite white bucket, once half full we could already see the water is far from clear.
Once full and it looked like thinned down black tea.
We went inside with and I use a quite bright and focussed flashligh on the bucket from the top.
Was like everything in the lit up and of course the guy blamed the white buckets reflections.
So I filled a 2L PET bottle and use an identical with the purchased water in it for comparison.
No shine in the shop bottle but like a laser in fog for the one from the tap...

The guy left quite angry stating I did not want a water test but only complain and accuse him of being dishonest.
But my attempts to get explanations why he does not even have a complete test kit or something to test for contaminats or bacteria resulted in some often "funny responses".
Here are the highlights that shall explain my "problems".
1. Just because a test shows a faint reaction does not mean there is actually something in the water.
The lead comes from the old bronze connection of the meter and the lead based solder used at the time.
(Mind you the meter is the scre type and the connections are brazed ;) )
2. My digital test kit is calibrated every three months and the last calibration was just two weeks ago.
3. The alkalinity comes from the dams and feeding systems and is quite normal because mostly gumtrees grow in the catchment areas.
4. You test kit is not meant for this type of water.
5. The color is not from sediments but a natural thing from the decaying plant material in the catchment areas.
(I visit our catchment area almost once a month on the way to my sister, everytime I check the water there is crystal clear and I can see at least 5 meter down.
And yes, something white dropped into the deeper water still is white and does not reflect brownish.)
6. Just because the light is scattered in the water does not mean that there is anything in the water.
7. I don't need to teste and compare your tap water with bottled water.
Bottled water is alays highly filtered and never tastes like tap water.
8. You can pay for an independent water test but it won't show any other or more comprehensive results as the one I just did.
(Don't know, he did 3 tests, the cheapest lab already over 20...)

Now I had a phone conversation with their great service team to complain about the test and again got nowhere.
Of course I was assured that the water is tested multiple times a day before even entering the distribution system.
Also that in all main filter and pump stations the water is tested according to regulations.
But I was unable to get any real numbers.
Not even if any bacteria tests or sediment tests are done on town or city level at any given time.
And same no for any checks after major works or incidents.
Only excuses that the informations is either not available to the public or that she has no idea where to get these informations.
Last but not least I was informed about two very funny things.
a) The costs for an idependent test would not be refunded by my supplier even if they would provide facts for a sub standard water quality.
b) An idependent test would not be accepted as evidence in a legal case because my provider would have a higher acceptance level and is already required to provide ongoing lab results because they are a direct supplier.

No clue but it seems the next step is to fork out the money for a test or better get some neighbours to sing up for a group discount.
After that and assuming the tests are not as good as those my provider claims I might need legal advise or try to involve the local council.

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Downunder35m

9 months ago

Ok, I cuta piece of the filter from work, used a brush and then some poking to remove a lot of the trapped brown stuff.
Used a small bucket for this and it did not look pretty when done.
A coffee filter removed the remaining original filter material and quite a bit of the finer stuff.

I did two test with the filtered brown water and what I had in the coffee filter.
Coffee filter first:
Assuming quite a bit of crap is in there I decided to use a long drink glass and to let some of it seperate.
Apart from a very thin clay layer at the bottom this was otherwise inconclusive.
No big chunks of debris or such things other than the filter material.
The filtered water however was subject to my full set of aquarium tests.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
Mind you I used destilled water for cleaning out my test sample from the filter, so I was quite stunned to see high levels of hardness and calcium.
But then again it just confirms my suspicion about stuff in the pipes being dissolved.
There are several ways to detect the red iron oxide but I always liked it simple.
It turns black if boiled in water - a nice trick for rusted tools.
To no real surprise the same happened with a sample of the filtered water.
The black iron oxide turned the water into a more grey and dark color but it was no longer brownish red.
A lot of other things participated out as well, forming a slurry like bottom layer once cooled and settled.

Our work supply is on a different main line in town, so things at home might be slightly different.
My supply of destilled water is running is low, so once the current heat wave is over I might to make a new batch.
After cleaning the stainless steel still and using water stright from the tap everything that is left in the still be concentranted.
All stuff that can evaporate like chloirne will be lost too but that I can accept.
For this test I will take some pics along the way and wait for any chemical analysis stuff after getting some comments on the residue.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a cheap place somewhere to send a sample to?
Full gas chromatigraphic tests and all....
Well, one can still dream... LOL

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Quercus austrina

9 months ago

At first, I was going to say that it was most likely just your old galvanized pipes, which, once they start to go bad, only accelerate toward failure. However, your last comment cries a much larger problem.

I don't know about the laws in your particular part of Australia, nor those of Australia itself, but here in most parts of the United States, we have inspections that must be passed in order to obtain a Use and Occupancy Permit (U&O Permit) prior to anyone occupying a building. One of the things they check for is Potable water - from inside the building. That gives the Inspector a true examination of the plumbing's viability. Do you have anything like that? That would most likely come from whatever Municipality you live within. What big governmental agency looks after water quality for you? Maybe contact them. If all else fails, watch the movie "Erin Brockovich" for inspiration


Flint Michigan was a special case of bean counters taking control over something they really knew nothing about. Their problem is that they have LEAD pipes in their water system. That was fairly okay since they had a lining of minerals inside that kept the water away from the pipe itself, deposited by an added corrosion inhibitor. When they changed their water source, but didn't add in the inhibitor to the much more corrosive "newer, cheaper" water, the lead pipes lost their protection and started leaching. Sound familiar?


In any case, you and all those who are part of that particular water supply deserve what you are actually paying for. And as for your landlord, I agree with the general assessment of his character.

Good luck!

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Downunder35mQuercus austrina

Reply 9 months ago

Down here it is mostly still the old wild west mentality and law.
Responsible for water, supply and such is the provider.
They do the reports, tests and get the money for the water.
Somer higher authority claims to make sure all is fine but for the entire state there are only about 8 field working people for this job.
There is no requirements of any sort to give a landowner enough power to enforce a check.

I tried sever times from my private connection and even by showing the guys upon arrival that without flushing the water on the meter is already affected.
For work we now got something that is basically a copy and paste job from what I got multiple times for Emails.
Stating all tests came back clear and that our filtration problem is caused by our pipes and plumbing.
The fact that the water from our meter there is also brwonish was not even mention in their nice letter.
Most people around here were made aware that the water quality might suffer slightly in terms of clearity and sediments.
But the related works are over for many months now and people just think it will clear up eventually with no concerns at all.
I drank better water from creeks while fishing :(

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Jack A Lopez

9 months ago

I think you're on the right track with running your cold water through a floppy garden hose.

Perhaps the garden hose could be routed through the same space where the iron pipe is, like right next to it. Or perhaps some kind of modern pipe, like PVC, or PEX, or copper, could be used in place of the garden hose.

Although, if I were doing this I would do the work myself. Moreover, I would do it at night when no one could see me, and I would not tell anyone what I was doing.

The last thing I would do is hire a plumber, because you can't trust those guys not to talk. Or even to do a plumbing job right. Besides, paying people to do stuff is expensive.

Anyway, I think that is the high road. That is, to fix it yourself, secretly.

Another possibility, is to accelerate the demise of the existing iron pipe; i.e. sabotage it, but it would have to be done in a subtle way, and secretly, to make it look like you truly had nothing to do with it. That of course, is kind of a low road.

There may be another road, if you can somehow convince your stingy landlord to see things your way. I dunno. Dale Carnegie wrote a book on the subject of winning friends and influencing people. I think it was titled, "How to Win Friends and Influence People"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Win_Friends_a...

Another possibility, like in the event that you're totally in the right, but you can't manage to influence the people around you, well, maybe that's when you knock that place's dust off your shoes, and move some place else. I think that piece of advice is from Luke 10.

"Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you."

https://netbible.org/bible/Luke+10

There were some other things I wanted to mention.

One is that I suspect that your plumber's statement that your hot water system is the "open" kind, is a statement so inclusive that it is meaningless, kind of like saying that your car is the kind with an "internal" combustion engine.

I found a discussion here,
https://www.plumbingzone.com/f31/difference-betwee...

which seems to suggest any system, from which water is emptied, and to which new water is piped in to replace the water that just left, is an open system. Note that in that discussion, HWT is "hot water tank", I think.

Thus every domestic hot water setup, that has sinks and showers, is an open system.

In contrast a "closed" hot water system, just has water flowing around in a loop, via a circulator pump, and the only reason to do this, is for purposes of moving heat. I mean it is really more a heating system than a water system.

But this question of "open" versus "closed", and why it would be important to the mind of a plumber, contemplating iron pipe, I suspect it hearkens back to a classic science fair project, one that considers the circumstances necessary to make an iron nail rust.

I don't know if you have seen this one before, but if you have not, I suggest asking your favorite search engine to show you images of,

"iron nail rust science experiment"

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=iron+nail+rust+science+e...

The simple-minded interpretation of this experiment, is that rust happens as confluence of circumstances; i.e. air and water (and maybe other factors?) working together to achieve what air alone, or water alone, could not achieve.

I mean, just look at the test tube with a nail completely covered by water, with a layer of oil on top of the water, or with the test tube sealed in some other way. No air = No rust

It's prima facia evidence that if there is rust in your pipes, that somehow air must be getting into the pipes somehow, for to work together with the water, to cause the iron pipe to rust. Moreover, if air is getting in, then the system must be, "open", i.e. open to the air.

In truth, some amount of air comes with the water, dissolved in the water, and there's constantly new water coming in.

I mean, really my conclusion is that iron pipe is pretty much just nasty, at least for use with things like sinks and showers, applications where you want to look at, or touch, or drink, the water coming out of that pipe, because the water will frequently have rust in it.

Well, that and maybe there are some other circumstances that make it worse, like water with low pH, or salts in it, will make rust happen faster.

By the way, I do not know how healthy, or unhealthy, it is for humans to drink rust flavored water.

Regarding fish, I seem to recall reading somewhere (possibly the Wiki page for copper(ii) sulfate?) that fish were very sensitive to copper(ii) ions. Although I would not expect huge amounts of copper ions. I mean, I expect the iron is being oxidized, losing electrons, more.

What else was I going to mention? I was going to humbly suggest you look up the word, "layman". It could be written as, "lay man", but it is almost always written as a compound word, and it is totally NOT the same thing as "lame man".

A layman is a man who is not a member of the clergy, or a man who is not an expert in some particular field. There are also laywomen, and laypersons, and also layponies, if you're a fan of the MLP:FIM.

In contrast, "lame man", means man with broken leg, or man who cannot walk.

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Downunder35mJack A Lopez

Reply 9 months ago

Damn, I like your comment Jack - Well done indeed!
Have some updates and additional concerns though.
Maybe just coincidence but at work we struggle now with our filtration system as well.
The pre-filters should be good for about a month based on out usage for drinks and such.
Longest usage time until blocked is now down to 3-4 days!!
This is a massive financail drain, especially if you consider that these pre-filters won't catch all.
The usage time for our fine filters and the reverse osmosis system is down from 24 months to just 3 month.
Of course my boss finally decided to let me know about it and while at it dumped the responsibilities on me.
First order of new business was to call our water provider to enquire on any works on the the water system in out area.
Negative, nothing major done for over 4 months and the big problems appearently started after this.
So I pointed out that since about the time of last work we have filtration and clearity problems.
With the amount of water we use daily the common agrrement was to send someone out ot check.
The guy came today...

I replaced the pre-filter and gave it up for inspection and tests.
"Can't do this here, have to take it to the lab."
And as always, they claimed to be only responsible for thing up to the meter.
So some samples were taken from the tap next to it.
This is what according to the guy who knows came out from the tests:
Chlorine below detection levels - I was fine with that.
Bacteria count zero - no clue how he tested by I didn't care about that one.
Sulphate, magnesium and ammonia checks came back negative as well.
When I asked specifically for an iron or iron oxide test I was informed that it would not be part of the test procedure.
Final blow came with the clearity check.
The guy stated this test would show any contaminents, sediments and anything that would be defined as visible.
Test scale on the meter goes from 0 for basically destilled water to 1000, which would correspond to a muddy puddle on a dirt road.
I confirmed the reading myself and it was 20!
Asked for another test, which was fine and provided a sample from bottled water.
The reading for this was 18....
"See, all is fine and your water is already as good as it could be!"
Getting supspicions at this point I kindly asked if it would be ok to verify the test I did this morning - the guys laughed and agreed.
So I grabbed my white buckets and with the water guy watching filled on from the tap in the washup room.
Quite quickly it became evident that the water has brownish color, like from tannins or tea.
"Well, you definately have a problem with your plumbing mate!"
Asked to hold that statement while I took the second bucket to the tap next to meter.
The already half filled previous bucketnext to it I opened the tap.
No surprise to me, the water in the bucket had the same brownish color.
When I asked the wate guy how this possible could equal to what I find in bottled water I got nothing.
So I asked how it is possible that his test claim to have tested totall clear and fine water.
Again no answer.
Took him a full minute until he said he would test our filter and have his equppiment checked for calibration issues.

Without stating what happend at work I privately called our water supplier to ask about my water quality at home.
Appearently they did a check in my stree just last week and all results came back fine.
If I have any issues with water then I should call a plumber to have my piping inspected.
Asked if someone could come out to actually confirm these results by testing my water I was told this would not be required as my area is on the same distribution pipe as the previously tested house.
Is it just me or do I see a system behind this?

Waiting for a reply from my real estate agent in regards to having the hot water system and piping of the house inspected due to the bad water quality.
Did not mention that some if might come from the outside of course.
Before writing this I grabbed a white bucket and went to two neighbours.
Stated my problems and asked if I could fill my little bucket from their tap to confirm that the problem is just with my house.
Lets just say they were quite concerned when seeing that the water in the bucket was neither clear nor appeared white as it should in a white bucket.
Same brownish color as in my house and at work.

Side story:
One of my neighbours got a bit emotional when she realised the water quality might have other effect as well.
She showed me her enclosed verandah or green house.
Didn't ask how many but I estimate about 120 orchids.
Except for a few that require special treatment anyway they all were in a really bad shape.
I recommended to try bottled or destilled water with added nutirents instead of tap water...
Knowing she is a breeder now makes me feel a bit sad as it might take over a year for those orchids that survive to thrive again.
Anyways the all said they will contact our water supplier right away.
Wouldn't surprise if the problem is well known and that the test equippent is made to show favourable results instead of real ones.
Sadly there is no legal option in this country get proper help on this matter :(

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Jack A LopezDownunder35m

Reply 9 months ago

I don't want this to sound alarming, but there are some anecdotal similarities between your story, and the uh, Flint water crisis, which was kind of a big story in the news in my country, a few years back.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_water_crisis

https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/us/flint-water-cris...

Basically the story with Flint, is that city made a decision to change the source of its municipal water from one source to another, and the new water source was somehow more, "corrosive", than the previous source, and as a consequence of this change, the residents of Flint, and also a factory in Flint that made engine parts, started noticing problems with their tap water.

Moreover, the problems with the water seemed to be the product of a reaction between the more corrosive water, and the pipes that water traveled through on its path to a tap, including pipes owned by Flint and the pipes owned by individual residents. Basically the water was dissolving metal from the pipes, and maybe also that dissolved metal was precipitating back out, in the form of fluffy, rust-colored stuff.

It would be helpful, if we knew more about the qualities of water that make it, "corrosive" to iron pipe, so that you would know what specific tests to perform, or ask people to perform, on the your tap water, or your company's tap water, or your neighbors' tap water, etc.

To answer that question, I noticed this page,

http://flintwaterstudy.org/about-page/about-us/

written by the same group, from Virginia Tech, who did a lot of work studying the water in Flint. Specifically, I noticed this page has some contact info, and I was thinking maybe if you contacted this group,

flintwaterstudy@gmail.com

and described what you have seen; i.e. water looks fine, passes certain tests before going through a building's plumbing, but looks rusty and nasty, clogs filters rapidly, after it has traveled through a building's plumbing; then maybe someone in this group can tell you what qualities you should be testing for.

Also I was going to mention, chlorine and chloride (Cl-), and the tests for those are probably different, but people might get confused about those, e.g. which test they did, and what the results mean, just because the two words are similar, differing by one letter.

Regarding your company's clogging filters: This suggestion might seem simple minded, but do you think it might be possible to clean the gunk off those filters, or back flush them, or something?

I mean, it just seems painful to have to throw them away so quickly, and there might be some simple, low-tech, trick like this that could allow you to use the same filter more than once, minus the cost of the labor to flush the gunk out of it.

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Downunder35mJack A Lopez

Reply 9 months ago

Still no real answers from my water provider and same for getting to someone at work.
Like they are in denial, will call them again next week if no progress here.

The Flint story is indeed interesting.
We have a similar porblem around here.
Depending on the levels in the catchments we get the water from 3 different dams.
And if things go low additional supply is order from a desalination plant.
Your story made me realise that things here started to badly around the same time we got the first batch from the desal added and really worse since we added another 30 gigaliter due to drought and one catchment being affected by bush fires.
So I contacted one of my old chemistry teachers from my army times on FB to check what ideas he might have.

Try to make it short for once ;)
He stated that almost all old pipes will be steel based.
Only once damaged or no longer big enough for the demand they are replaced with the new plastic ones.
But with no major works done around here for about a year we could rule debris from such works out.
Interesting was his chmical view on things!
Corrosion is always present in old main pipes, with that also mineral deposits.
Together this starts to build up and grow.
Ever seen how old steel pipes look when you upgrade your house? ;)
The thing with the water from the desalination plant is that unless specially treated, all "vital" minerals will be missing.
Just pure water and of course highly filtered anyways.
A much lower and overall mineral content in the supply now washes out the old mineral deposits in the pipes.
As a lot of rust and other stuff is enclosed all this will get loose and enter the water that is going through the pipes.
High demand at some times of the day and next to nothing during the night then causes a build up of loose crap.
He said it is like putting a sugar cube that was in an ashtry for a few week into a glass of water.
All the stuff that was locked inside comes out...

Checked what is available and affordable to do more water checks but won't invest.
Would need to spend about 250 bucks worth of test strips and solutions...
Might use all that info though and get more people together from around here and other towns on the same supplies.
Social media must be good for something -right?