Contamination, slime, early membrane failure
I have been having serious issues with my reverse osmosis system. After diagnosing a prior issue involving a leak in the auto-shutoff valve and discovering slime in the system, and sanitizing the system (although maybe not well enough) and replacing the membrane, etc, I am now having the following issues:
1. My TDS is now over 175 coming straight out of the membrane housing (tested directly at the "good water" exit from the membrane housing). Taste has been pretty bad, too (not horrible, but not good), not sure if this is only because of the TDS or also the slime. The membrane is less than 2 years old (21ish months). The taste has been pretty bad for a while. My tap water reads about 600 on my TDS meter, for reference.
2. There was a pretty decent amount of dirtyish colored slime in the membrane housing (including a very small amount of red slime), and some in all of the other housings as well after and including the first carbon filter.
I am not sure if the two are related. Can bacteria eat through the membrane? I have tried to sanitize the system with bleach, but am about ready to give up on it. Am I going to need to toss it and get a new one?
I have been reading that flushing large amounts of hydrogen peroxide or bleach through the system can remove all the buildup, but I am unsure if this will actually dissolve the slime. I hesitate to do anything that involves washing parts in soap and water because I know there are many areas that I cannot reach, so if the sanitizing stuff will not do it on its own, I may as well not bother.
Is this a common issue with reverse osmosis systems? I cannot find much information on line about it. Is this from improperly sanitizing it or not being as careful as I should have during filter changes? Are the newer cartridge based systems (watts model ro-4 ro-pure) less susceptible to this type of problem since you throw out the entire housing? And, on that note, it seems they might be harder to sanitize since you could not add bleach to a sump housing to run through the entire unit?
This is a standard Watts Premiere system that I have installed. I believe the model number is 5SV, it is their standard "old-school" sump housing non-manifold model, "5 stage" including the final postfilter. It has a steel tank.
Ambiesis contamination from RO?
I just found out that the RO system I've been drinking water from for 3 months has not had filters or membranes replaced for years! The system has been in this house for 6 years, it may be that long! The reason I was questioning my father about it is because I've had diarrhea for 3 months. The lab confirmed an Ambiesis (amoeba) infection and prescribed an antibiotic which did nothing.
I'm racking my brain to figure out some other cause. Prior to 3 months ago, I was drinking Brita Pitcher water at home. Does anyone see a connection here? I think the system should be purged but I don't know how to do it and my father is 90 years old and slowing down. He's been the one I expected to maintain it.
Thanks for your input.