Black Scum in Bath and Sinks

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Dennis_GA, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. Dennis_GA

    Dennis_GA New Member

    Messages:
    4
    When I run water in my bath and sink, I see a black scum on the surface of the water. It does not smell. When I drain the tub the black scum clings to the side of the tub and seems greasy. Any ideas what is causing this and how I might fix it?

    Dennis
  2. Kristi

    Kristi Tradesman Plumber

    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Yuck! Is this black oily scum definitely coming from the water? If your drainage is a bit slow due to clogging, it could be that this black stuff is coming from the clog themselves... and yes, you could possibly have both clogged at the same time if they haven't been cleared for many years! When these "drain rats", as I call them, are removed it's usually shocking just how black and oily they are... otherwise, I'm not sure what the deal would be with the water would be? Sorry if I'm not too much help, I just wanted to get you started - there's going to be somewhere in the region of 2000 years of experience on this forum to help you out, though, so hang in there!
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Are you on chlorintated water or your own well? If not chlorinated, then this could be a water quality problem like iron or manganese reducing bacteria. Check the toilet tanks and describe what you see. You should look for an oily film that moves away from your finget tip as you touch the warer. If it doesn't move away, it's probably some form of oil. Then flush and wipe the palm of your hand on the inside of the tank from the water line down. If snotty slimy, you have IRB etc..

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  4. Dennis_GA

    Dennis_GA New Member

    Messages:
    4
    I am on county water and it has excellent quality. I found it only happened with the hot water, so I flushed the water heater. I also removed the faucet and noticed a little of the black stuff on the aerator and a lot in the drain. I cleaned them both. So far no more scum. Hope that fixes it for good. Thanks for the responses.

    Dennis
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You didn't say if the water is chlorinated but if it is, it isn't enough adn it should be chlorinated. Your neighbors should have the same problem.

    Raising the temp of the heater to 140f for an hour or so will kill the bacteria that is causing the black slime. And this is a water quality issue, so I wouldn't consider the water to be of excellent quality; without water tests, you can't see, smell or taste those things in water that will harm you. This bacteria is not harmful. Strange there isn't an odor in the hot water in a shower or when the water is heavily aerated.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  6. Dennis_GA

    Dennis_GA New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Thanks for the idea of upping the water heater temperature. I will crank it up when I get home. All I know about the water quality is a report we get from the county once a year. According to that it is good, however I imagine it is possible that some bacteria got into the hot water heater. In fact it may have started about the time we got a new one installed.

    Dennis
  7. abnorm

    abnorm Aerial Photographer

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Orlando Florida
    and at the hot water heater....

    Do you have flexible connections to the Hot Water Heater?

    The corregated copper flex pipes are lined with rubber that decomposes leaving a black residue in the hot water..........
  8. Dennis_GA

    Dennis_GA New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Thanks for all your ideas on solving the scum problem. It was the flexible lines I had from the water heater to the house lines. I took one off and it did have a rubber lining that left a black residue when I rubbed it. I replaced the flexible steel lines with flexible brass ones and the problem was solved. Thanks again for all the help.

    Dennis :)
  9. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    thank,s dennis and all

    i have the same problem! what a great site THANK,S
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