My water is brown with rust

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    More super evil growling.........
    After I posted about Western Union - I went to run Tesla a bath because she had rolled in something terribly gross. I went into to check the bath, and it was filled with dark brown water. This is NOT the first time this has happened since I moved here. In fact it is about the 5th time in 3 months. I usually don't take baths, so the only time I notice it is if I am filling a bowl or something.

    I was talking to Matt on the phone while this was happening, and he was like - well Mom that must be why you have had that rash on your face for over a week. You know you are allergic to metals. Ding, ding, ding. Thank you Matt.

    I am topically allergic to all metals........and god knows how long I have been taking metallic gross showers. I called the water dept, and their response --- yes, we are aware that X (very small city) city has this problem. We do offer free water filters because of this problem but you have to pay (300.00) to have them installed.

    Oh my God are you kidding me???

    I cannot even take a shower now. This allergy is not just physical, but sort of psychological, I guess I am conditioned. I touch pennies, or rust and I itch and get hives. I have been itchy with huge splotches on my face for over a week - ARRRGGGggggggggg - bathing is not going to happen. Nice, just lovely. I am done. Even my white laundry has been turning pink because of this -- I am gonna crawl in a hole --- and then call the landlord and demand she pay for the installation of this. She could doubt my allergy, but not that my laundry is turning pink.
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Sad to tell you - but that COULD mean (as a plumbers fiance) THat either your pipes are bad........and that could be from the outside (being the water company's problem with a leak which would be the BEST scenario) or YOUR pipes are rusty in the house (not such a good thing) OR that your Water heater is getting ready to blow. A lot of time that rusty sediment is gunk from the tank. Then again - you could just have really, bad city water.....but usually rusty colored water means a break in the water main - and mud is getting into the lines........NOT COOL - and I wouldn't use it for all the tea in China. (I've done lab tests and water draws for bacteria in ppm and honey - I'd be boiling it for weeks or until you saw the little hose coming off the water meter down the road - running with clear water for at least 2 days and an all clear from the City Water guys).

    I would really be calling either the land lord or the city again and telling them I'm calling the NEWS and telling them the 300.00 for the filter is NOT acceptable and then taking a sample to an independent lab......
  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yea Star* you are right. Plus I did notice the water heater is about to blow.

    I really, really miss my Dad right now. I don't know why - it just seems like he would know how to fix this messed up day.
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Daddys do those kinds of things. Even mine - PROFESSIONAL duct taper. lol. If it couldn't be fixed with duct tape, fix a flat or great foam insulation stuff? IT was unfixable. But his methods were tried and true - and years after he was gone? His fixes still held the house together.

    I really would be going to a lab with a pulled sample. You have to go to the lab first and get their sterile bottles and instructions Steely. I used to install water, sewer, and storm drain. I know what I'm talking about. My suspicions would say that the ductile (iron) pipes that carry your water to your home are probably very outdated and old, and/or there is a break in them or small pin holes and sediment is eeking into the pipes. The city probably doesn't have money budgeted to FIND the leak, or FIX/PATCH the holes, because ------FINDING the leaks/holes is a HUGE undertaking and it takes a real pro to do that. Not just anyone can find or figure where the holes and leaks, or bad pipes are. If parts of the pipes are good? They could put new pipes in but if most of the pipes are old and rusty INSIDE? Then they are flaking and brittle and once they dig down? IT involves a LOT of time, money, work - and people dont' like to be without for a long time - PLUS right now - most of the water lines are being replaced with PVC - (more cost effective) so you're talking taking out iron pipes and replacing junctions and all with iron to PCV and it gets quite complicated with elevations, and all. Then they would probably want to replace your meter boxes and that is MORE money.....and possible troubles so yeah it's a huge undertaking - BUT in the mean time? I'd want to know ------is it for SURE just dirt ---------because sometimes the water could be cross contaminated with sewage. Not likely - but it is possible. That's why I said - get a labs bottles and get your home water tested - find out exactly where to pull a sample - how to do it.....and make sure you understand the results. If you're breaking out in a rash? SOMETHING is a contaminate in that water besides iron.

    Not trying to freak you out - but Ihad to wear a hazmat suit when I did my tests. And I was the one that put the water lines IN. (just in case)
  5. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Star* where do you suggest I start with this issue? A plumber, or the city? The city already admitted that this is a common problem, and that in 2012 they are installing a city wide filter - so it seems that it might be coming from the main. However, today I noticed it is more the hot water than the cold.
  6. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Star* we must have been posting at the same time....still...I am unsure where to start. With the water being tested?

    Has anyone ever read the book Civil Action -- or seen the movie? This is it in action....
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I would start with a lab. I'd call an independent lab that tests water. I'd get their vials, find out their procedures, and costs. Then I'd have my water tested. Get my reports.....understand what is IN my water ie: if it actually is NOT harmful or if it IS harmful.

    Then I would 'talk" to a plumber that is familiar with the problem in the area providing that the water is fit to bathe and drink in - because if it is NOT fit to bath in - your skin is the largest organ on your body and WILL absorb chemicals. Your hair could fall out - etc. THings of that nature.

    If it IS okay- then I'd ask the plumber about my water heater. If it's coming out more now due to the hot water - I'm inclined to think Hot water tank is ready to go on the fritz. BUT the problem is still going to be there - and I'd have the filter put in BEFORE it gunks up my new hot water tank.

    I would ALSO NOT personally - pay for something that is the city's responsibility - THEY have a duty to provide citizens with CLEAN potable drinking water. NOT Rusty unusable water. I could see if the water was briney or sulfur - but rusty? I'd want a copy of their study as to what the problem is. If there is silt in the lines? WHY aren't they flushing them? If the pipes are OLD - why am I putting in a filter - when are they replacing the pipes? Things like that.

    As far as my land lady - I'd hand her a copy of the lab report. and tell her the filter is not going to be paid for by me. But I'd want to know what's in my water. FIRST.

    Now IF it's drinkable and you can bath in it? WHAT THE HECK IS THAT RUST?

    NEver read civil action......sounds interesting
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Draw a bucket from JUST the cold tap, and see how bad that is. THAT is the sample you have to take to the lab - city is only responsible for the COLD water coming in. If possible, take it from the tap closest to the mainline - less affected by pipes.

    THEN draw another bucket from the hot tap, and compare.

    If you think pipes is part of the problem, draw a third time - from the cold tap furthest from the mainline, and compare to the original bucket. If this one is noticably worse, then pipes are probably also an issue...

    You may well have BOTH problems - but the solution is in different directions.

    Hot water tank... get landlord/landlady.
    Cold water... more research!

  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Are you on a well or just city water? We had a friend who had well water and we had to put in filters and help her change them once a month because they were so rusty. I will never have well water around here simply for that fact. We have a very high water table and would have to drill so far down and do such a difficult job to keep the higher water table out of the deeper water it just isnt cost effective especially considering they dont offer sewer service.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Steely, I believe if you are renting that it's the landlord's responsibility to address this problem- whether a filter is needed or pipes in the house need replacing. Also, since you mentioned an old water heater or something along those lines, I'd try running a tub full of just cold water and see if it's rusty, too. That could help locate the problem.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The water testing needs to come first. There's several puzzles here.

    1) There is more than one possible cause for that brown color - one is rust, another is clay, and I'm sure there's probably more... only the testing of a water sample can tell for sure.

    2) You've only noticed it a few times. If its as bad as it seems, you would at least notice it in dishwater when doing dishes. Or in the color of the water in the toilet.

    3) Your skin problems seem to have been intermittent - not a steady build-up, or a noticable problem from the day you got there. A problem with the water source, "should" be more consistent.

    Given that when you've noticed it, has been with things like the tub - AND that its recently bothering your skin from the shower... and that you haven't noticed it in the toilet water...
    I'm going to guess that its the hot water heater that is causing the problem you SEE.

    Yes, there might be some level of iron problem in the water overall... but not necessarily to a level that is quite that obvious, Know what I mean?? So, you may well have BOTH problems, but the hot water heater is making it worse. And fixing the hot water heater may be sufficient for "comfort", but you don't want to tell the landlady THAT.

    Did you draw some cold water and compare?
    If it is relatively clear, you could try boiling up cold water, and have a sponge bath, or for face wash etc.