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Water Quality/black flecks in water and dark water at times


we have a well that was drilled in 1989 to a depth of 180'. we have off and on had an issue with black flecks in the water and clogging of screens of the faucets. there is no smell and the particles settle to the bottom of a glass.
today i was getting water from the outside spigot and it trickled down to a small stream and i shut it off thinking it was frozen. a little later we turned the water on inside the house and it was working so a couple hours later i went out and hooked up the water hose to fill the horses water trough. )approx. 110 gallons) it filled the first tank with clear water and i rinsed out the other 75 gallon tank and started filling it. a little later i checked and it was full of black water. checking the hose it was coming out black to very dark. at the spigot it was coming out dark then it would get lighter and then dark again. we have left it off for awhile and it's still not completely clear. in the past when it would freeze it would run dark for a minute or two and then clear up.
when the well was drilled i remember the driller stating that he drilled thur two layers of coal. could these particles be flakes of coal? or is it sediment in the bottom of the well (about a 6" casing) again there is no smell or oil and the flecks are gritty.
thanks for any help you can give us or who we should contact to get it checked out.

Hi Sharon,
I'm not sure.  My first instinct is that it is coal flecks from the bottom of the well.  However, that wouldn't coincide with the fact that you've noticed dark water when you've had freezing weather.  There's no way it would be frozen that deep. Try getting a magnet and see if those flecks are magnetic.  If they are then we know it's not coal and you have an iron problem - either from the well water itself or from the casing or pipes.  If it is coal then you may want to consider a whole house filter - put on the house side of the pressure tank.  It may be that it will clog and you will have to change it regularly but at least you won't be getting that crap all through your house.  Here is the kind of filter I am talking about:

You can spend a lot more money on a filter, and you may need to in the end, but I would try this one first and chances are it will work just fine.
Let me know if you have any questions,
Environmental Engineer
Gen. Contractor

Water Quality

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Steve Young


I will answer questions on residential water treatment, i.e. use of softeners, filters, reverse osmosis systems, disinfection, iron and/or sediment removal and other issues facing the homeowner. I have worked extensively with well water systems.


I have worked in the water treatment area for many years as a consultant and as a professional environmental engineer in the private industry sector. I have designed reverse osmosis, deionization, and water softening systems. I have also done work in water quality and stream and river remediation as it relates to the Clean Water Act.

I am currently serving as an Expert for Home Improvement, Travel (New Mexico) and Travel (North Carolina);

BS Environmental Eng.

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