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Question DetailsAsked on 10/29/2013

why do i have black flakes in my water

Our neighbors had a bad fire last weekend, our house is fine, but now the water coming into our faucets is black.

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1 Answer


Check with your neighbors to see if they have same problem - if so, probably rust flakes and/or iron sulfide buildup from a galvanized or ductile or cast iron water main pipe that was loosened up when the fire department put a major draw on the main, assuming fire department pulled off a hydrant nearby. Another possibility is accumulated sediment and grit tht was laying in the bottom of the pipes until stirred up by the much higher flow fighting the fire. If neighbors have the problem too, get water company to come out and flush the lines by opening hydrants wide open for about 5-10 minutes. You will also then (after they are done) have to flush your lines - first by running 10 minutes full flow through a hose outside, then run the inside water through every faucet in sequence for 2-3 minutes (both hot and cold), as well as running an empty dishwasher load, and running a fill of water into washer then pumping it out without doing agitating/spin cycles. Do these last so the water in the lines is clean first, otherwise you just get more grit in them.

Another possibility is the fire department actually pulled a vacuum on your line because the main could not provide as much water as the pumper was looking for, so broke off rust and corrosion buyildup in your pipes and possibly in the water heater - same solution - flushing lines - but may take 10 minutes or more if came from your pipes.

Of course, this assumes you do not share a well and wood around the well burned and got ashes in the well, or runoff water from the fire went down into the well casing (which should not be able to happen).

One other very remote possibility - basement of burned house filled with ashy water, and there is a broken pipe or open valve under water, so dirty water from their basement is being drawn into the line by siphon effect and entering the water main, then to your house. Would require a real odd set of circumstances but can happen.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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