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The debris may be sediment from your plumbing or it may be pieces of your hot water heater’s dip tube (a plastic rod from the inside of your hot water heater that has been proven defective in certain models. All hot water heaters manufactured between 1993 and 1997 could have faulty dip tubes.) Dip tube debris will be white, gray or light-green tinted granular or eggshell-like particles. Place some of the debris in a small glass of water. If it floats, it’s probably dip tube pieces. This is a hot water heater manufacturing problem and will need to be addressed by a plumber.
If you have questions about this, call the water quality laboratory at (847) 931-6158.
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The rusty water is harmless and will clear up all by itself within a couple hours. Running the water in your faucet will not make this clear faster. If after several hours, or if a rusty condition in your cold water persists, call the water quality laboratory at (847) 931-6158
The pink residue is the result of naturally occurring airborne bacteria. The bacteria produces a pinkish film, and sometimes a dark gray film, on surfaces that are regularly moist, including toilet bowls, showerheads, sink drains, and tiles. These bacteria thrive on moisture, dust, and phosphates, and are widely distributed, having been found naturally in soil, food, and also in animals. The conditions for the survival of the bacteria are minimal, and they may even feed upon themselves in the absence of other nutrients.
Many times, the pinkish film appears during and after new construction or remodeling activities. The dirt and dust stirred up from the work probably contains the bacteria, once airborne, they seek moist environments to proliferate. Some people have even noted the pink residue in their pet’s water bowl, which causes no apparent harm and can be easily cleaned off. Others have indicated that their experience with this nuisance occurs during a time of year that their windows are open for the majority of the day.
These airborne bacteria can come from any number of naturally occurring sources, and the condition can be further aggravated if customers remove the chlorine from their water by way of an activated carbon filter. In the past this type of bacteria was considered harmless, but more recently some species have been linked to human urinary tract infections, secondary wound infections, and pneumonia.
What to DoShort of buying pink fixtures, the best solution to keep these surfaces free from the bacterial film is continual cleaning. A chlorinous compound is best, but use care with abrasives to avoid scratching the fixtures, which will make them even more susceptible to bacteria. Chlorine bleach can be periodically stirred into the toilet tank and flushed into the bowl itself. As the tank refills, more bleach can be added. Three to five tablespoons of fresh bleach should be all that is necessary.
A toilet cake that contains a disinfectant can keep a residual in the water at all times. The porous walls of a toilet tank can harbor many opportunistic organisms. Cleaning and flushing with chlorine will not necessarily eliminate the problem, but will help to control these bacteria. Keep bathtubs and sinks wiped down and dry to avoid this problem. Using a cleaning solution that contains chlorine will help curtail the onset of the bacteria.
While all water utilities are concerned about the quality of the product they are supplying to their customers, they cannot guarantee water quality once it leaves the pressurized distribution system arid enters the customer’s plumbing. Homeowners’ individual components and the cleanliness of their environment are not part of the utility’s responsibility to provide a safe and aesthetically pleasing product.
For more information: Search, serratia marcescens on the Internet
The particles are coming from a flexible hose that connects your faucet to the rest of your home plumbing system. These connectors can be identified as the stainless steel braided hose that runs from the local shutoff valve to the attachment at the base of the faucet (see diagram). The stainless steel hose has a liner made from an acetonitril based rubber. The rubber liner can soften and deteriorate in the presence of heated water from your hot water heater. Hot water kept at a temperature above 148.0 degrees will hasten the softening and deterioration of this rubber liner.
The chloramine disinfectant used by The Water Dept. to maintain the safety of the water supply will also soften this type of rubber liner. As the hot water dissolves the liner, particles begin to slough off and are carried away in the water stream. The particles can also show up in the cold water if the seal between the hot and cold water inlets has failed in a mixing type faucet.
What To DoThe City of Elgin Water Department does not recommend the use of this type of flexible connector in your indoor plumbing. The connector should be removed and replaced with standard copper tubing of the appropriate diameter. In the interim until you can get the connectors replaced maintain your hot water heater thermostat at a lower setting.