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Thread: Snot like brown slime in water from neighboring farm well

  1. #1
    SunnyD is offline Junior Member
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    Default Snot like brown slime in water from neighboring farm well

    Hello, I recently purchased part of a small farm with a cabin on it. The water comes from my neighbor's (seller) well. It is fed through a buried 1 inch PVC pipe that goes through my neighbor's cow pasture, runs about 750 feet downhill, is exposed for about 12 feet where it crosses over a creek, and then another 50 feet up hill to that the cabin. The only filter is on the refrigerator. I used a "complete" water test from filtersfast.com to test my water and everything was negative and checked OK. The problem I'm having is there is a brown "snot like" slime coming from somewhere that clogs all of my small screens on everything. It clog's my washer hoses, screens on faucets, and will completely stop a lawn sprinkler! I have to clean the sprinklers screen out once a day and he washer band faucets about once every month. I remodeled the bath and replaced all the PVC under the cabin. The PVC I removed was stained dark brown but was very dry not slime. The new toilet tank is stained the same. . The ice maker's control "paddle" in my new refrigerator is stained where a drop might linger and can't be cleaned, etc. The water is crystal clear without sediment, even after standing for a day, and tastes great. Can I trust the tests that it's OK to drink? What could be causing my brown slime? What might you suggest I do?

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    katie is offline Junior Member
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    Hi, great question! I'm not 100% sure but it sounds like algae to me. It is not very common as I rarely have a question like this but there are a few options. Most if not all of the water filter options are for your drinking water, not a whole house. For under the sink, you may like the 3M US-B1 unit. Or, if you would like to determine whether or not it is algae you may want to consider buying a test kit. Unfortunately we do not carry any test kits for algae currently.

  3. #3
    SunnyD is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by katie
    I'm not 100% sure but it sounds like algae to me.
    I from SW Florida originally and have seen algae in PVC pipe and it was green while this is dirt brown. I posted this under general questions, is this a good forum for my questions?

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    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    From your description, I would say the contaminant is orgnanic in nature. You must have your water tested by a local county health board or other laboratory for specific elements/contaminants in your water.

    I would not drink it, even through the fridge filter, until you get accurate test results. The lines may be cracked letting foreign matter into the lines. A disinfection system may be required including a UV or chlorination system.

    Don't let your eyes or tongue be the determining factor that your water is safe!!!

    Andy Christensen, CWS-II
    Last edited by Andy CWS; 11-20-2009 at 03:36 PM.

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    Gary Slusser is offline Banned
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    It is much more likely that it is IRB (iron reducing bacteria) which is harmless but produces slime, and possibly H2S odor. You have to kill it, filtering won't help except to collect more of it and block up the filter as you see it does your faucet tip aerator screens etc..

  6. #6
    SunnyD is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    It is much more likely that it is IRB (iron reducing bacteria) which is harmless but produces slime, and possibly H2S odor. You have to kill it, filtering won't help except to collect more of it and block up the filter as you see it does your faucet tip aerator screens etc..
    Gary, Any ideas on how I can go about killing it? The well belongs to my neighbor. I'm not sure if he has this problem or not.

    Thanks.

  7. #7
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    Is the seller's water producing the condition as yours? Get the water checked by a local health department.

    Does he have any water treatment? Bacterial iron can be handled by chlorination, if that's what it is? Find out, for sure, what the problem is before attempting to treat it.

    Andy Christensen, CWS-II
    Last edited by Andy CWS; 11-21-2009 at 02:55 PM.

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    Gary Slusser is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyD
    Gary, Any ideas on how I can go about killing it? The well belongs to my neighbor. I'm not sure if he has this problem or not.

    Thanks.
    I suggest an inline erosion pellet chlorinator and mixing/retention tank followed by a special carbon in a backwashed filter using a Clack WS-1 control valve.

    I've used that system for the last 15 yrs roughly and it works every time. The chlorinator has no moving parts and the system is the least expensive, requires the least maintenance of any chlorination system and takes up the least space.

    The chlorination kills all types of bacteria and algae etc. while oxidizing iron, manganese, H2S etc.. Click on my name and visit my homepage for more info.

    Here is a picture of an installation, the chlorinator is on the wall on the right. He also has a water softener.
    .
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by rscardigno; 11-25-2009 at 10:11 AM.

  9. #9
    SunnyD is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks Andy I'll try to get it tested right after turkey day.

    Gary, What would the set up without the softener cost me? I'm assuming I don't need a softener to make it work and that a softener adds a lot to the price. I also believe simple is better.

    Sunny><>

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    Gary Slusser is offline Banned
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    You see the slime right? So what is the sense in paying for water tests when the only way to get rid of the problem is a disinfectant, like chlorine? There is no sense to testing for the cause of the slime, we know it has to be something alive in the water, right? Chlorine kills anything living in 'potable' water so save your money for the equipment.

    I suggest you ask the well owner if they have the same problem, and if so what they are doing about it. If they do and are doing nothing, possibly the two of you can buy the equipment and share the cost of operation. Unless one uses more water than the other and you can't divie up a percentage agreeable to both. You wouldn't want to do that if he is going to treat water in the barn and his house though; he should have his own system them.

    I didn't suggest you buy a softener, I don't know if you need one, you haven't posted your test results yet.
    Last edited by rscardigno; 11-25-2009 at 10:10 AM.

  11. #11
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyD
    Thanks Andy I'll try to get it tested right after turkey day.

    Sunny><>
    Sunny, don't gamble with your water. Educating yourself on your water conditions is very important. The more you know, the better your choices will be. Your water may be different than that of your neighbor's.

    I look orward to your test results. Contact the Local Health Department; they often offer free testing for limited tests.
    A gamble is when you take things by chance.

    Happy Holidays....
    Andy Christensen, CWS-II
    Last edited by Andy CWS; 11-26-2009 at 04:29 AM.

  12. #12
    Driller1 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    Sunny, educating yourself on your water consditions is very important. The more you know, the better your choices will be. Your water may be different than that of your neighbor's. A gamble is when you take things by chance.

    I look forward to your test results. Contact the Local Health Department; they often offer free testing for limited tests.

    Happy Holidays....
    Andy Christensen, CWS-II
    Great advice!!!!

  13. #13
    Gary Slusser is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    Sunny,.... Your water may be different than that of your neighbor's.

    Contact the Local Health Department; they often offer free testing for limited tests.

    Andy Christensen, CWS-II
    Actually his neighbor supplies him this water; "Hello, I recently purchased part of a small farm with a cabin on it. The water comes from my neighbor's (seller) well."

    From my extensive experience with health departments and county extension agencies, they rarely do testing for the causes of brown slime. but I'm sure you agree that slime is alive. And that to get rid of it it has to be killed. Maybe you are questioning that this may not be brown slime.

  14. #14
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    When I said: "your water may be different than your neighbor's" I was basing my statement on...
    --It is fed through a buried 1 inch PVC pipe that goes through my neighbor's cow pasture, runs about 750 feet downhill, is exposed for about 12 feet where it crosses over a creek, and then another 50 feet up hill to that the cabin.--
    ...in that, anywhere the plumbing runs along that long journey up and down, buried and exposed through air, sunshine and other ambient influences as well as making passage through cow-dung saturated soil (!!!), with the possiblity of cracks, splits and seal/joint breakage/leakage....well, no need to go on. In the end, it can, in fact, be very, very 'different' water than that of his neighbor's.

    I never said that the SOURCE water was different. His water becomes "his water" when he it affects his life, homestead, and family. Which raises the question: at what point does his neighbor's water becomes his water? Who is ultimately responsible for the line, the pressure, the volume, and, yes, the quality?

    I don't want to argue. I am just considering all the possibilities, many of which I have personally seen in funcky plumbing by both professionals and DIYers. A well-line would be more suitable than gluing a bunch of PVC pipes together, which can be jeopardized by the aformentiond circumstances.

    All that notwithstanding, my recommendation stands firm: Get the water tested! Do a plumbing audit and make conclusions on firm data rather than guesswork, supposition and what's happening or not happening with someone's water.

    I'll make my druthers known and you can do likewise. I'll let him decide if either such recommendation is deemed worthy or not. Thank you, Gary.

    SunnyD...Have a great--and safe--Turkey Day. Look forward to hearing from you later.
    Andy Christensen, CWS-II

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    Gary Slusser is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    When I said: "your water may be different than your neighbor's" I was basing my statement on...
    --It is fed through a buried 1 inch PVC pipe that goes through my neighbor's cow pasture, runs about 750 feet downhill, is exposed for about 12 feet where it crosses over a creek, and then another 50 feet up hill to that the cabin.--
    ...in that, anywhere the plumbing runs along that long journey up and down, buried and exposed through air, sunshine and other ambient influences as well as making passage through cow-dung saturated soil (!!!), with the possiblity of cracks, splits and seal/joint breakage/leakage....well, no need to go on. In the end, it can, in fact, be very, very 'different' water than that of his neighbor's.

    Andy Christensen, CWS-II
    As you very well know, or should as a CWS-II (WQA [Water Quality Association] Certified Water Specialist, level 2), all those possible contaminates you mention can easily be treated by chlorination/dechlorination (carbon) as I suggested.

    So you are having someone needlessly go through the effort and time and possible expense to test their water to find out, or prove, that they need a disinfectant to kill the stuff, including all types of bacteria, algae etc. etc.. I think you just want to contradict me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    A well-line would be more suitable than gluing a bunch of PVC pipes together, which can be jeopardized by the aformentiond circumstances.
    A well-line....?

    Sch 40 PVC is used for water lines from wells all over this country!

    It is also used for well casings, on properties that were previously used as pastures and farm fields etc. for decades. And you mistakenly think it is not a good choice!

    The only thing negative about it is that it takes so much labor, time and expense to install it because of the length of the pipe sections (10'-20' lengths) compared to say 500'-1000' rolls of PE (polyethylene) pipe that are unrolled into the ditch as you walk along the ditch unrolling to coil.

    BTW, both are approved everywhere and comply with NSF Standard 61 for potable water use.

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    Driller1 is offline Senior Member
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    To the OP. Why not drill your own well? Sharing a well is a fight/disaster waiting to happen.

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    Gary Slusser is offline Banned
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    To the OP, drilling your own well could lead to the same water quality you have now.

    IMO it's best to treat the water you have now as long as you are supplied more than your use demands. The equipment will cost much less than a new well.

  18. #18
    Driller1 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    To the OP, drilling your own well could lead to the same water quality you have now.

    IMO it's best to treat the water you have now as long as you are supplied more than your use demands. The equipment will cost much less than a new well.
    Why spend money on treating the neighbor's problem?? This is a second home, money is likely not an issue.

  19. #19
    Driller1 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    To the OP, drilling your own well could lead to the same water quality you have now.

    IMO it's best to treat the water you have now as long as you are supplied more than your use demands. The equipment will cost much less than a new well.
    Why spend money on treating the neighbor's problem?? I do promise potable water, yes, in writing. It is code in Michigan.
    Last edited by Driller1; 11-30-2009 at 05:22 PM.

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    Gary Slusser is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Driller1
    Why spend money on treating the neighbor's problem?? I do promise potable water, yes, in writing. It is code in Michigan.
    Second home or not, he would be treating HIS water, not the neighbor's.

    So from what I quote you saying above, in writing too, you 'promise' potable water; I take that to mean that if there is too much arsenic to zinc, you then remove or reduce any or all those contaminates found to be above the MCL (max contaminate level), right? And that the MI State code requires that you do so, right? I know that that is not true.

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