Suddenly Discolored Well Water

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Karen, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. Karen

    Karen Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have had fine water ever since we have lived here. A little bit of iron in the water, but nothing you couldn't live with. Out of the blue today, the cold water was suddenly very cloudy and very redish or dirty (which we just can't determine). Is it an indication the well is running dry, just a iron pocket? Any other thoughts would be very much appreciated. We know almost zippo about wells!
     
  2. Brad

    Brad Active Member

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    No, not running dry, but it is possible your well casing is old and rusting. Well casing do wear out and rust up. The best thing for a steel cased well is to use it a lot. Did the well sit unused for a period of time in it's history?
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Any chance you had a lightning storm real recently? Often such a hit will be grounded to the casing and cause the rust to break loose as referenced above.
     
  4. Karen

    Karen Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No we've been using it for over 3 years now. It was fine a little while ago and we just turned it on and dirty/rust colored water is running out at all faucets.
     
  5. Brad

    Brad Active Member

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    The other possibility is if you are using a steel air pressure tank in your system? It is probably rusting inside and discoloring your water. Either that or the well casing is the source of the discolored water I would think.
     
  6. the rusting in the casing and the pressure tank is not going to all the sudden start discoloring the water, something has to cause it loosen up and come off tank and casing. Lightning can cause it to break up or an earthquake. The madrid fualt line has had few tremors lately. I live in southwest missouri near springfield, and last year a madrid quake dirtied our water for a few days. We could'nt fill it but it was enough to shake the rust loose in our well and all our friends wells. The madrid fualt line is easiy 160 miles away.
     
  7. JulieNC

    JulieNC Well-Known Member

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    Every once in awhile our water gets like that. According to a water guy, sometimes dirt or rust breaks loose along the casing, temporarily muddying up the water. Also, when we get lots of rain, our water seems to get muddied up. We got a whole house filter, change it fairly frequently, and now have no problems.

    I wouldn't worry about it unless it continues. If it does continue, you might consider a whole house filter. They're not very expensive.
     
  8. Mrs_stuart

    Mrs_stuart Well-Known Member

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    Our water has done this in the past.
    It started a few years ago, We had several foster kids and the four of us and we used lots and lots of water, not really thinking about the results. We had the water hose on in the back garden and i went into the house and turned on the tap and has red sandy water. Well, i called the well place that had done work for us in the past and they were not really concerned about it because we still had wate and had not lost any real pressure. We had gotten a hole in the lining of the pressure tank that had collect sand is what they said...so we replaced the pressure tank and after a couple of days, the water was just ok, so i called back and they came out and added a filter inside the house off of the pressure tank and they told us to take it easy on the water for a few days and let it settle and they said that we should not be washing cars and watering the garden and such for a while. they also said that we would not run out of water but we were using too much to fast for it to fill up (what ever that means) but we did take it easy and Well everything seemed to be better and back to normal. later, about 3 months after that, i come home, get some water and it is red dirty again so i decide to find out what the problem is and i walk through the house and someone has left the water on in the bathroom sink and we had been gone for hours. I call hubby, he comes home and changes filter and it is back to normal. Well, with kids (and hubby) this type of thing happens so i just watch out and watch the water. We are in an underground river and it is suppost the be the main source for half of the county we live in so we were told that if we run out of water, so will half the county. I watch the filter and make sure we have no wasted running water and it has been several years with no real problems. When our filter is full and hasnt been changed, it will seem cloudy and as soon as we change it, it is normal again. So, if you have a filter, i would change it and if you dont, i would invest in a good household filter.

    Belinda
     
  9. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Karen, check the foot valve on your well/cistern. It could be faulty, which would allow a great whoosh of water to run back into your well/cistern when the pump stops pumping, thus muddying your water. It would also cause your well pump to run almost constantly. Happened to us once, I replaced the foot valve and the problem was solved.
     
  10. Brad

    Brad Active Member

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    This seems appropriate for this thread- Which brand of whole house filter does everyone like the best?
     
  11. GRHE

    GRHE Mountain Ogre

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    Karen:

    I've seen a couple of others things do this. Growing up in the Midwest people would occasionally have separations in their well lines cause by tree roots. This would normally be only with old wells that did not have modern linings in the casings.

    The second occurs to us out here in CA. There are lower "mineral" springs and hot springs in the water flow (on the side of a cinder cone you can't really call it an aquifer). At times we get sulfur pulses. This sometimes results in off tasting and smelling water for one or two days, followed by discolored water for 7-10 days. The sulfur knocks all the rust loose in the old pipes, and until it gets flushed out the water is even rustier than usual. I saw similar things at my aunts farm in MO when I was younger which happened to be near the Madrid swarm area.

    If you are worried that it could be anything other than rust or such you may want to take the precaution of testing. I usually find such things unnecessary, but in the case of water, if there is any chance of contamination I would err on the side of caution myself. I routinely drink stream water, but have had each of my wells tested for E-coli during the last five years. We all seem to have our own phobias, and water happens to be mine. This should only be a consideration if you have a shallow well with an underground pool that could take contamination.
     
  12. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    Only once did our well water get dirty. We have a 32 foot shallow well that stays 7 feet deep (unless we run it dry, then it refills in about an hour). Anyway, it turned sandy and real dirty. Come to find out, the new neighbors who bought the adjoining ranch to the back were resculpting the lake with bulldozers and catching the alligators out. We presume this is what upset our well. They worked on their project for months, our well was muddy for months. We had to buy drinking water during that time and just hope that their dozer work those miles away was the problem. Apparently it was.

    Our little well was hand dug in the early 40's and was the only one not to go dry during the great drought of that time. Neighbors from far and wide came to this well to draw water. I wasn't born yet, by the way.
     
  13. Karen

    Karen Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It must have been some rust in the casing or pressure tank working loose because, we're running perfectly clear again! Go figure!

    Thanks a million for the responses. It certainly not only helped now, but will also in the future if we run into problems. I'm also looking forward to answers on Brad's question about the best whole house filter. How much do those run, by the way?
     
  14. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    We have HARD WATER, we have to pull the hose up every 5-10 years to replace the Footvalve(it builds up crap and valve can't shut)

    it builds up Calcium/iron deposits in the pipes, ever so often it loosens up and Orangist/bloody Sh*t comes out with the water.

    One time the plastic line by the well house in the ground sprung a leak, we didn't know it until 3 days later when WATER was seeping across the road!(we live on a hill 30 foot from the road, just a lawn between us, no ditch)
     
  15. Keith2004

    Keith2004 Member

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    While we are on the water topic I have a question. My water pipes when not used for maybe an hour build up air. This is especially fun in the mornin' when I am getting ready. I turn on the Bathroom faucet and KABOOM! water all over me. I have since learned to turn on the tub faucet on before I even go near the bathroom sink (less splash). Anyways my question is, do I have gas in the water that is causing it? we do have sulfer water that we treat with a chlorination unit.
     
  16. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    The water from my well used to turn the same reddish brown color every summer. The red stuff would stain the sinks, tub & toilet. One old timer told me it was 'rust bacteria' which starts to grow when the weather gets hot. I'm not sure if this is the real name but it works for me. I have a UV system rather than a chlorinator on the well supply. I've found that adding bleach to the water supply before the first signs of discoloration helps keeps the water reasonably clear all summer. I typically fill up a couple of 5 gal. containers so I have water, then add 1 cup of bleach to the well while running the pump with the faucets open. Keep the water running until you smell the chlorine, then turn off the faucets. Don't drink the water while the bleach is in the line. I usually let the chlorine sit in the pipes for 24-48 hours then open the faucets and run the water until the chlorine smell goes away. The water is typically pretty disgusting at first with all the dead bacteria flushing out but clears up after a few minutes. I change the water filter at this time, then run a little more water. I started this process two years ago. It was very hot last summer so I ended up doing this once in May and again in July. This year's weather is running 15-20 degrees below normal so I've only had to do this once.
     
  17. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Our well sprang a leat at the threads right inside the well cap it caused the pump to cycle on and off and it rinsed rust down the well. It had to be partially pulled and a new pipe put in. The pipe that broke was threaded plastic about 25 years old.

    mikell
     
  18. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    This an above ground pump? If so, you have a path from outside the pump to the suction side inside the pump and it is sucking air in and then sending the air to the tank.
    If it is a submersible pump then you have a leak in the pipe from above the water level in the well to the storage tank and as the water leaks back into the well through the hole it is replaced with air which is pumped into the system on the next run cycle.