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Plumbing in the Home/black stuff coming out of faucets


Jimtheretiredplumber wrote at 2010-12-02 16:54:31
I have exactly the same problem. It has been ongoing for about two years. We have lived in this house for ten years. The black water is coming from my master b.r. bathtub faucet. I happen to have a background in both plumbing and water treatment as a profession. I managed to capture some of this black water. It has no odor. Some of it appeared in small chunks which feel rather greasy but they do not stain the fingers when rubbed. Much of it was in a 'dissolved' state well distributed in the water. It only discharges occasionally, about once a month or so. And it appears only when the hot water arrives and heats up the pipe. It never comes from the shower head. It does not appear in other faucets of the house, only the master bath tub. It discharges only for a few seconds when it appears. The discharge is not uniform. Sometimes only a sort of gray discoloration appears, other times, the water is pure black and completely opaque. Sometimes the discharge is a single spurt, other times it is in several spurts, coming a half second or even two seconds apart. It is probably not coming from the hot water tank as a "bottom sludge" since none of the other faucets in the house have demonstrated it. What ever it is, it is specific only to the one faucet. I have not been able to interest my city water treatment plant in helping me find out the specific source of this water contamination since it is obviously happening on my side of the meter.

     What I suspect it is: I believe this is a mold growing inside the faucet. It most closely resembles a sooty mildew, although I have never detected a mildew or “dirty” odor from it. I believe what ever spoor it is, grows until it is affected by the stream of water and breaks off when the water turns hot.  I have never heard of anything like this. I am quite familiar with iron eating bacteria and have smelled it in several different forms. My house has no iron pipes, it is plumed all copper. The house is about 30 years old.

Actions being taken: I am now video taping the faucet every time I turn it on trying to capture the discharge when it happens. I am also collecting via a large bowl the initial discharge so that I can get another sample of it. I will try to grow it experimentally for samples to take over to the University for testing so I can be sure it is not harmful and can learn how to get rid of it.

greg wrote at 2011-02-05 15:25:15
I was told it was manganese.  I have a well system and the house is 14 years old.  I have tried to flush the well by running all the out side spigots wide open for over 8 hours.  in addition I added a BIG BLUE course filter and flushed the water heater.  I still have the problem.  Now what?

johnw wrote at 2011-03-09 01:30:37
We just had some bright, light green oily discharge come out of our MB whirlpool tub faucet. Hot water was on full (I think kitchen sink was on almost full at same time). It seemed to come out in several "spurts" and float around in small globs (up to maybe 1/8"). When examined it smell slighty moldy/plastic, and smears just like thick petroleum grease. We've never seen it in any other sink/tub. This tub gets used infrequently. All pipes are copper and house is 10 yrs old with gas water heater. I too suspect it is some kind of mold/mildew or copper breakdown. Not sure where grease comes from. We have city water with a whole-house carbon filter, so I feel it must be an in-house issue.

Jenn850 wrote at 2012-02-25 20:40:13
Ok.  We have an occasional black soot coming from different faucets in the house... like once a week.  I just drained the water heater, and it looked clear.  No black at all.  Now what?!?!  I was sure it would be the anode rod.  Our hot water heater has the rod under the top cover, so it seems like it is going to be a big deal to get in there to check.  What else could it be?

Lelardo wrote at 2013-10-27 01:10:03
Try changing the hoses going into and out of hot water heater to either copper or all stainless steel.  The stainless weave hoses have rubber inside and this deteriorates and comes out of faucets.  We were bored with this for a very long time and even changes the wart heater.  Today is the first time in so long that water has run clear in a very long time.  We bought the stainless steel because Home Depot no longer carries the copper.  Good luck  

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Leo Luczak


I am a Certified Building Official, and I am certified by the International Conference of of Building Officials as a plans examiner and as a commercial and residential building and plumbing inspector.


I have been the Building Official for a small town in Alaska for the last 14 years. I also spent 20 years working in construction. I don't know that much about wells and septic systems.

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