'dirty water' in one toilet only-help me!

hamsterMarch 19, 2007

Here's the deal..we have 2 toilets- all the water in the whole house, coming out every faucet and the other toilet, is clear except the water in 1 toilet is brown colored. So, I'm thinking dirty toilet tank for some reason. It appeared fine but I cleaned it out anyway and still problems. I took an empty glass and filled it with the water where it comes into the tank (took the tank cover off and where the water comes in to fill the tank - so I caught the water before it touched the tank). It is brown. What could be the problem and how do I fix it?! HELP!! It doesn't smell...but looks like it hasn't been flushed for a few days..if you get my meaning. It seemed to come on gradually over the last 3-4 days and is getting worse. I'm begging now for help!!

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coolvt

You didn't mention what kind of piping is in the house and feeds these different fixtures. Is it possible the the pipe feeding this one toilet is older galvanized pipe and the balance of your piping has been updated to something newer? Brown water like you are describing is normally from rust in the pipe...thus, probably old galvanized.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 9:24AM
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hamster

I believe we have all copper pipes and our water has no noticeable rust. The pipes were added in '76 during a remodel. We were wondering if maybe a copper wire could "go bad"?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 9:48AM
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coolvt

A copper wire? In the plumbing? I'm not sure I follow that one. If you have a cellar, look at the pipe that runs to that toilet and see if it was actually changed to copper. It sure sounds like rust and it has to be coming from the pipe if all the other fixtures have clear water. I would have guessed that it was an accumulation in the toilet tank, but you said you caught the water before it got into the tank so that seems to leave the pipe(s) feeding the toilet.
I worked on a friend's house recently that had dark water in the bath sink. The only fixture with this problem When I looked in the cellar, the cold water pipe going to the sink was the only piece of galvanized piping left. I guess it was too hard to get to and so wasn't changed with the rest of the piping.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 5:28PM
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michgeo

Another thought. Do you have well water that goes through a filter or water softener? If so, perhaps the one toilet is fed from a line that bypasses the filters, and the rust is coming from the well.

It's a wild guess, but our home was originally plumbed so that the toilets and exterior hose bibs bypassed the iron filter and softener. The iron in the water left the 30-year-old toilets looking dirty no matter how much we cleaned them. We finally replaced them with new 1.6 gallon models and changed the plumbing so they are fed from filtered and softened water. It may tax the softener a little more, but we like the result.

The hose bibs still use unfiltered water, but I've been pondering tapping the line between the iron filter and the softener to reduce the iron in the outside water. Some our neighbors who water their lawns and beds from the well now have rust stains on parts of their houses and sidwalks where the water reaches.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 10:14PM
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coolvt

Great suggestion. I am so spoiled with soft water that I would never think of that possibility.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 10:54PM
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hamster

Thanks all
Coolvt..sorry I used the wrong word "wire"...but it is copper..hehe..anyway, we have a new twist...it must be the well because now we have brownish water throughout. It looks like watered down coke. No odor. Our well is @ 10' deep culvert on end which is spring fed. I know it sounds too weird but we have it tested every year with no problems. It has never been dry (even in the 1930's). The previous owners let people come and get free water from the outside hydrant. (We don't allow this but just to prove the point it is good water.) Hubby is going to unseal the lid today and check it out. Any suggestions are helpful to me.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 10:48AM
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hamster

we seemed to have solved the problem. On the ground next to the well there was a dip in the soil and it had standing water with brown leaves laying in it. My DH raked it out and did a little landscaping. He loaded the well up with chlorine and ran all the faucets a long time. This morning we have clear water. Hopefully we got it. Thanks cool and mich.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 8:50AM
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cindiesue

Okay, I am so glad I found this post!!! Here is our delimma.

We built a new home two years ago in an area that has been building new homes during these two years all around our home.

Over these two years we have experienced this 'dark water' through our pipes - toilets, sinks, kitchen. No ordor, and it goes away after 6 hours.

It has remained on our 'punch list' with our builder and they have had plumbers out who drained our gas water heater, and these plumbing companies have no clue why this continues.

You would think this is a common event somewhere and that they should say, "oh yes, that is.... All we need to do is....." But they have been clueless.

We worry if it is from the inside of the house and we don't flush one of our toilets well enough upstairs, or wonder if the construction in the neighborhood has caused it. Our neighbor next door has had it one time when we had it so we think it is from the outside vs the inside.

Hamster, I hate to tell you, but that may not be the problem. I would like to know if it comes back.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 11:23AM
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coolvt

Do you have a municipal water supply or a well?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 12:19PM
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bus_driver

I recall when many in my area used springs as the source of water. Usually the water was carried in buckets up the hill to the house, typically chores for the children. Often the presence of a spring was the main factor in choosing a house site. It may not sound so appetizing, but I believe that people develop an immunity to the typical "critters" that dwell in such water. Just be sure to drink upstream from the herd.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 1:03PM
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cindiesue

We are in a MUD area
I googled dirty water and received loads of information from water departments all over the US. you will find alot of data there.

One said if you captured a cup of water and put it in your refrigerator the color would go away as the minerals settled to the bottom of the glass. That this is just concentrated minerals that are already in our water supply and get stirred up from a broken line in our community or from a fire where the fire hydrant had to be used.

I don't care. I just want ours to stop. It happens at least every 10 days. Is that normal!!!! i don't think so.

We have the house on the market. I am really ticked.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 1:25PM
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hamster

bus driver...sounds like us...except we are empty nesters so we have the neighbor kids haul the buckets. Seriously..we have our water professionally tested every year. No rust, lime, cloriform bacteria, nitrates-nitrites, sulfates, lead, etc. What's in your water??
Cindiesue: So far our water has been clear.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 3:58PM
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perel

Every 10 days sounds like it might be from backflushing the lines.. I used to live in a neighborhood with old supply lines and the city flushed them weekly. You just got used to having to run brown water out of the pipes for a minute every time they did that.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 3:11PM
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emacito_hotmail_com

Our house is 6 years new, an Elliot Home. A few days ago on a rainy day, I came home and found the water in one toilet dirty looking, no odor. We had a storm last night and this morning my wife called and said both toilets have dirty water in them. In both instances the water looks clear in all the other faucets in the house. After flushing the toilets about 10-15 times, the water will become clear again. Our backyard is still unlandscaped - so there is lots of that hard clay-like dirt sediment that puddles everywhere during a rainy day. I'm not understanding how just the toilets would be affected with this dirty water and not the rest of the faucets??

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 12:27PM
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frodo_2009

when was the last time you saw the city open the fire hydrants and let the stagnant water flush out
depending on where in the water pipe loop you live
its possible [and probable] that the water in the line going to the fire hydrant.is not moving..due to no outlets
causing a flow....have the fire department flush the lines
or...around 2 am.....18" pipe wrench..turn counter clockwise
open all the way for 30 minutes..

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 3:07PM
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pjb999

Not a solution for water that is chemically or microbiologically unsound, but a whole-house water filter might be all you need. An activated charcoal filter will remove chlorine and odours, but if it's straight-out particles, the conventional type of filter will be enough.

This is of course no substitute for knowing why it is happening of course...

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 6:34PM
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