Black particles in water

Discussion in 'Pumps and Wells' started by tazfan, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. Sep 13, 2010 #1

    tazfan

    tazfan

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    My house is in a rural area and water is supplied from a well that was hand dug many years ago. It is 18-20 ft deep. We have alway had good water, and plenty of it. Looking in the well the water is very clear. We have the pump, pressure tank in the basment setup. Lately we have been getting more and more small black particles in our water. They don't stain our cloths but when rubbed between your fingers they leave a faint brown/black streaks. These particles clog our facets, toilet valves and making it impossible to drink the water. At times the particles are much worse and other times we hardly see any. We have had a well tech out but he seems unsure of where the particles are coming from or what is causing them. I am looking at installing a whole house fiter but need to fix the source of the problem also. Anyone ideas would be greatly appreciated!!!
     
  2. Sep 14, 2010 #2

    Driller1

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    Replace the well with a drilled well.

    Dug wells are never grouted property, if at all.
     
  3. Sep 15, 2010 #3

    speedbump

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    Whole house filters like the ones sold at big box stores are a joke. Don't waste your money.

    The black specs are more than likely sulphur particles that form on the pipes like a coating of paint. When it gets thick enough, parts of them break off in little flakes like your seeing. They are not harmful, but aggravating.

    If you have an air compressor, you can inject air into the water line while your running a large faucet, like a bath tub or an outside faucet. The air will agitate the plumbing and knock a lot of this stuff off your pipes. Things will be a little black and gold for a while assuming you have some iron too, but just run all the faucets without their aerators for a while and it will clear up.
     
  4. Sep 16, 2010 #4

    tazfan

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    What kind of filter would you recommend?
     
  5. Sep 16, 2010 #5

    speedbump

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    To be completely honest, even though I sell water filtration, I don't recommend a filter for that. Hydrogen sulfide forms a coating on all your piping. Where you put the filter may catch the flakes before the filter but the sulphur is still forming on the pipes past the filter. There is no filter I know of that will stop the sulphur from forming on the plumbing regardless of where it's located.

    I would just beg, borrow, buy an air compressor that you can add some air to your plumbing as close to the well as possible and clean it that way. It will probably last quite a long time if done properly. The biggest problem is the possibility of plugging aerators, toilet fill valves, washer hose screens etc. But if you want to get rid of them, that's the only thing I know that will work.
     
  6. Sep 20, 2010 #6

    tazfan

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    Doesn't hydrogen sulfide ususally have a terrible smell? Our water tastes good and has no smell at all and we don't have any slimy coatings in our toilet tanks or anywhere else....just the black particles. Our pipes are all plastic as well. Appreicate the ideas and info!
     
  7. Sep 20, 2010 #7

    speedbump

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    Yes it does if you have enough of it. There may not be any odor and you can still have the build up on the pipes.

    It could be something else too, hard to say without actually seeing it.

    Can you smash it by rubbing it between your thumb and finger or is it more like a little rock?
     
  8. Sep 20, 2010 #8

    tazfan

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    The majority of particles are very small like silt that you can barely see them in the water but a few are pepper flake size. When you smash them between fingers, they are not rock like, they just mash down into a black almost greasy like consistancy.
     
  9. Sep 21, 2010 #9

    speedbump

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    Yup, that's sulphur. Use the air to clean out the pipes and it should not occur for several years again.
     
  10. Oct 16, 2011 #10

    hawkerpilot05

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    I would like to add to this discussion. We had our well go out in the fact that the galvanized pipe that connected to the check valve upstream of the motor/pump burst. On the threads of the Galvanized piping, a 3/8" hole formed causing the water to no longer pump up. In fact the loss of pressure and the fact that the pump is 280' below the surface, the water falling back down the well must have created such a vacuum that it sucked our water softener in much like how you crush a pop can by squeezing it in the middle. We had the pump pulled and a new 21' section of galvanized pipe was added as well as a new check valve. I elected to replace the 1.5 horsepower 240V pump with a 2.0 horsepower 240V pump. I went from under 10 gpm to 15 gpm.

    The problem we are having is that we are continuing getting our water filter clogging up by these black particles. The water filter is a Rusco sediment trapper with a 100 mesh screen. It is upstream of the pressure tank and before the Commers 50IM water softener and 50HS Well Water Filter for the smell . When the glass bowl is unscrewed to reveal the filter, it is covered with black particles that resemble the properties of Sulphur as described in earlier post. I have run the well for quite some time and it has not cleared up.

    After reading some of these post, I am curious on what to do or what is causing this.

    Could the increase in GPM be causing the sulphur particles to break off where before the lower GPM wasn't causing this?
    Would it be safe to remove the Rusco filter and rely on the Waters Softener and Water Filter for the smell to filter it out without fear of plugging them up?
    How would you use air from a air compressor if the black stuff is coming from you well and not in the lines of the house?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  11. Oct 16, 2011 #11

    speedbump

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    Wells & pumps; not a... Professional

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    I have to write something here or the Forum won't let me post this way.

     
  12. Oct 16, 2011 #12

    hawkerpilot05

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    Speedbump, Thanks for responding back with my questions. :)

    How my previous set up was that even though the 1.5HP motor/pump has a check valve installed in it I believe, the well installers I have talked to still use a external check valve. I have roughly 280' of galvanized piping in 21' increments screwed together that is attached to a brass check valve that is attached to the motor/pump. They put the new 2.0 HP motor/pump together and then attached the brass check valve and then screwed the first 21' of galvanized piping and lowered the assembly down the well and then added the next section and so on. Inside of the house I have a Well-Tron bladder tank.

    On the 1.5 HP motor/pump that had the hole in the line, I was there when they pulled it up and it was the same. The last section of galvanized pipe was screwed into a brass check valve that was attached to the motor/pump. You could see the hole that was on the galvanized pipe threads just outside the check valve. The check valve was unscrewed from the galvanized pipe and the whole wall on the galvanized pipe threads on the inside were deteriorated and weakened as the thickness was gone. This is the section of pipe that was replace and they reused the other sections but switched the 4 sections of galvanized pipe that were in the water with 4 sections of galvanized pipe that were out of the water.

    They told me that it was caused by electrolysis from the dissimilar metals. What they did now is use tape sealant on the threads of the galvanized piping where it threads into the brass check valve that is screwed onto the outlet of the 2.0 HP stainless motor/pump.

    After it was installed, they did run the well for about 30 minutes and did a rate check on the water coming out of the well at the casing. It function like it should and then it was lowered the rest of the way using the fitting that attaches to the pipe that takes it into the house. After that I ran the well for about 6 hours using the outside faucet. However, it has been 4 days and we are still getting the black Sulphur on the Rusco filter requiring us to cleaning it. The time between cleaning is getting better but before that we had gone 2 months with the filter in and had done nothing but crack the drain valve but never had to remove the filter.

    I had to replace the tank on the water softener and it took 2 days after the new 2.0 HP well pump/motor was installed before it was returned. I showed the tech the black stuff on the filter. I had read your post and am pretty sure it is Sulphur as it has the properties you describe. The water softener tech said that the water softener will have no problem filtering the black Sulphur and then the backflow it uses to clean itself will remove the stuff from the water softener. I was a little hesitant about removing the filter as I didn't want to hurt or worse plug up the water softener but will probably go ahead now after reading this thread.

    You are right that the higher pump /motor (2.0 HP versus 1.5 HP equating to 15 gpm versus 10 gpm) than previously installed is probably over kill but it really wasn't that much more given the total price and it will give me the option of using it for irrigation of the lawn for a limited area I want to do. I know the pump isn't strong enough to do a large area for irrigation but that is fine.

    When talking with the well person, he did mention that if the black particles continues that they could come back in put air in the well to clean it out. I assume this is what you are talking about when you mention using your air compressor on the house lines. I am curious how this is done on the well itself? Is it safe to assume an air line is put down the well and air is introduced to make the water turbulent to break off all the Sulphur so when you run a outside faucet, it all pumps out? If so, this is something I may have to do.

    As I have done some plumbing work on the inside of the house and in a section of copper plumbing I removed, the inside was all black like you mentioned. At least I know now what is causing this.
     
  13. Oct 17, 2011 #13

    speedbump

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    My question would be: how long did they run the water off on the ground? Sometimes it takes several hours and in rare cases even longer to clear up. But I would never hook a pump to the house until it cleared completely outside. That's just asking for dis-satisfied customers.

    The teflon will not stop electrolysis. He should have went back in with SCH 80.
     
  14. Oct 18, 2011 #14

    hawkerpilot05

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    He ran the well for about 30 minutes during which time we tested the GPM that the pump is rated at for our depth. They did this about 5 times by filling up a bucket and timing it and it seemed the water was clear as far as I could tell. I then ran the well for about 6 hours using a outside faucet after they left. It appears that it is getting better but we will see.

    In discussing this with the well person, if it continues, they will lower the well pump/motor down to the bottom of the well and use a air compressor to pump air into the well to stir thing up and with the pump at a much lower level, it will pump everything out and then they will return it to its normal level. We shall see how this plays out.

    I discussed the use of PVC versus galvanized piping and they seem to not prefer using PVC on deep wells. My well goes down 430' with the static water level at 200' and the pump at 280' below the surface. It may be that they are just old school as I have read online that more people are going to PVC.

    Anyways, will follow up how it plays out and will most likely right now just run my well for awhile using a outside garden hose and remove the Rusco filter for the water inside the house.
     
  15. Oct 18, 2011 #15

    waterwelldude

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    I am not a fan of pvc in a well with the pump over 100' myself.
    The pvc will fatigue over time and can split or brake.

    To stop the pipe from getting a hole in it from the electrolysis, is to rap the threads with tape, and it will not happen again.


    Running the well for 30min. should have cleared it up.
    With it still not clear it may indicate a bigger problem. Using the air compressor would be the next step to take to determine if the is something else going on.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  16. Oct 18, 2011 #16

    hawkerpilot05

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    The wrapping of the pipe is what they mentioned also. Hopefully this will work but even with the previous pipe not wrapped, It went 22 years before it happened.

    I will add a little more to this discussion. When we pulled the pump, they had a 1.5 HP pump in stock with them. However, I wanted to upgrade to the 2 HP as I plan to install a small irrigation system to water the lawn around my house. As this will be small area, this pump should work and I was really limited to it as my wiring from the breaker box to the pump was large enough to only handle a pump of 2.0 HP. Looking at my well disclosure form from 22 years ago, it showed that the well should support this pump just fine. However, I was advised that wells will produce less water over time and that could be the case with my well.

    What they did was put a loaner 2.0 HP well in for the 4 days until they could come back and put the new 2.0 HP well in. In testing this loaner pump for GPM, it was putting out just less than 15 GPM that it should be but they attributed it to it being a old pump/motor. I did run the well for about 8 hours after the loaner 2.0HP motor/pump was installed. The filter did clog up later in the day but the next day seemed to get better lasting a whole day and then 2 days after that.

    4 days later they came out and installed the new 2.0 HP pump/motor. When running this pump to test the GPM, it was doing just better than 15 GPM. They tested it by timing it on how long it fills a 5 gallon bucket. They did this about 5 times in the course of the 30 minutes they were running the pump. Just about every time, it filled the 5 gallon bucket in 18 seconds which beats the 20 seconds that would equate to 15 GPM.

    The well guy is thinking that this new pump being much stronger is acting like a vacuum and sucking up allot of crap on the bottom of the well that the previous pump wouldn't get. Our water has around 5 ppm of iron I believe and has the rotten egg smell. After battling this with a water softener the original owner installed that wasn't able to remove all the iron and the smell, we installed a new system. 2 months prior to this we installed the current water softener and rotten egg smell remover and our water has been wonderful.

    Then the well problem happened that also destroyed the water softener tank and am dealing with this issue. With the repaired water softener back in, our water is back to normal. We are just dealing with the Rusco filter plugging up from the black stuff. It is getting better as the time between changes is decreasing so hopefully it will go away. If not, we will go the air compressor route or I just may remove the filter from the housing. This filter has the water go through a swirling action which causes the larger pieces to separate out of the water and fall to the bottom that you can flush out with the valve on the bottom of the filter housing. It is just the fine particles that are clogging up the filter. My only concern was if I removed the filter, would it damage our water softener. The water softener tech who reinstalled our water softener said it wouldn't as the backwash the water softener goes through would flush this out. We shall see what happens.

    I would add that in the 8 years in the house, I have flushed the well with chlorine twice. I did this to try and remove the rotten egg smell. Both times it worked for awhile but it always came back. Hence the reason we purchases a water softener system designed to handle the rotten egg smell and iron and it does indeed fix this problem. The one thing though in flushing the well, I found it took about 7 hours of running a garden hose to get all of the chlorine out of the water. So I will try to run the well some more to help flush this stuff out.
     
  17. Dec 25, 2011 #17

    kouvakis

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    dont fool around with half measures replace piping with pvc
     
  18. Dec 29, 2011 #18

    Tech

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    Driller1 has the right idea.

    How high is the well from ground level?

    Do not remove the filter, it needs to be there to catch toilet paper etc, before it enters the pump. The filter needs to be cleaned often.
    The water goes through the filter first before it goes to the pump
     
  19. Dec 29, 2011 #19

    johnjh2o

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    Toilet paper!! I thought we were talking about potable water.

    John
     
  20. Dec 29, 2011 #20

    Mr_David

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    This was a interesting read and I think Speedbump did great job in answering the OP's question.

    Then :eek: A toilet paper filter ! ???????
     

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