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How do I identify residue in water supply

Posted by ecranny (My Page) on
Wed, May 18, 11 at 11:14

I thought that the water in my area was hard, but have since found that it is relataively soft. There is a brownish deposit that accumulates (most noticable in toilet bowls and inside dishwasher).

I would like to know how to determine what this deposit is, and how to eliminate it. Do I call a plumber, or is there a specialty trade that deals with water purity? One thing that occurred to me is that the water main that serves my street was replaced very recently (so I don't know if the problem is gone), and it used to be an old asbestos lined pipe. They changed it out for plastic, I think. Could the residue be a result of particles from the old pipe getting into the supply?

Any advice on how to get the water tested to identify the problem would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How do I identify residue in water supply


The "Brownish color" is most likely iron. You can contact your local water supplier for a "water quality report". Check the iron content in Parts Per Million (PPM) if it is 4ppm or higher you should look for an iron removal system. I have one made by EcoWater based in Woodbury Minnesota. It does not require any additives, it just flushes itself with water and works well. Had it for 5 years now.

Hope that helps,


RE: How do I identify residue in water supply

An independent water testing lab or water treatment dealer can test the water for you. An independent water lab will provide a much more comprehensive water analysis than most water dealers. It takes only .3ppm of iron to cause staining in the home. As the water is drawn, ferrous (dissolved iron) will oxidize and fall out of solution causing staining. Hard water problems become more prevalent over time as mineral buildup occurs in the water heater and scaling of appliances, sinks, showers increase. 7000 grains of hardness = 1 lb of dissolved mineral in the home. A typical family of 3 will use about 200 gallons of water per day. If the hardness is only 10 gpg this family will have 104 lbs of dissolved minerals in their home every year. This is why even "low hardness" can cause problems in the home.
Have your water tested for your piece of mind and let us know the results. From there we can recommend the proper course of action.

RE: How do I identify residue in water supply

Within a municipality both the water supplier and the sewage treatment facilities are required to repeatedly test the potable water in the municipal supply or the discharge water from the waste treatment facility throughout the day, and to that end they have their own inhouse testing labs.

In most jurisdictions those labs also perform private well water tests for the county Health department to certify private wells in areas outside the municipal water district.

Call you local health department and tell them you would like to get a test and they can set it up for you or tell you who to contact.

I just worked on a house that had been vacant for 3 years with water in the system so we decided to have the water tested to see if we could sanitize the system before startup. The county healt department told us to call the lab at the sewage treatment plant. The lab had us come to their location and pick up sterilized sample bottles. They carefully explained how to flush the system then take the samples and return the samples to the lab. Two days later I had an extrememly thorough test report, all for the exhorbitant sum of $29.

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