Rust Gunk Lining PVC Pipes from Well to Home

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by murray1987, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. murray1987

    murray1987 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    We share a well with my parents. Their water and piping is fine. He put a lot of filters and such because of the hard water in our area. But the pvc pipes coming from the well to our home have about 1/4" rust looking gunk lining them. We discovered this when repairing a leak. They run about 1/8 mile down hill. Anyway we get rusty chunks, particles, specks in the water everyday so we can't even drink it. We cannot even have filters on our sinks or washer because they fill up and clog quickly.

    Our sinks, tub, dishwasher, toilet and washer stay orange! Whink Rust Stain Remover is the only product we have found to make them white again but are going through a bottle or two a week.

    I wanted to try putting it down the pipe but it is not supposed to be used for anything you may drink from. Is there anything I can put in my pipes leading to the house that will clean out all the gunk? We already tried Clorox Bleach in bothe the main filters and just in the pipes to our home and it got a lot of gunk out but once the bleach smell is gone after a day ro two the orange comes back and the water is not longer drinkable.

    What can we use? Is the Whink Stain Remover ok and would it work, and we just don't drink the water for a week?

    Thanks,
    Blake
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,302
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Please don't put anything in the pipes.
    You do drink that water right?

    You may want to put a filter on the incoming pipe if that's possible.
  3. murray1987

    murray1987 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    We put a filter on it and it fills up so quickly, what says should last 3 months lasts 3 weeks.

    We also put filters on our faucets and they fill up with 1 week.

    The problem is the actually pipes underground needed cleaned.
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You have high ferrous iron in the water and all waters have some dissolved oxygen which is an oxidizer that will convert some of the iron into ferric iron (rust) thta lines the pipes the water runs through. The rest of the ferrous iron oxidizes when you use water and wherever the water is allowed to dry on a surface you get an orange to rusty reddish brown stain.

    You need a water test for ferrous, clear water iron, hardness and pH. Depending on how much iron, you would need a backwashed or regenerated filter that would remove both the ferrous iron and rust particles, or maybe a special water softener that can handle the amount of iron.
  5. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Probably not. There might be some kind of professional cleaning process that could clear those lines for you and be able to flush them and leave them safe once again, but your best overall bet might be to have a new line run and to then protect it at the far end.
  6. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    If you want to knock a lot of it off, you can use air. Lots of air.

    It will make a mess and will possibly plug things up in your plumbing, not to mention the toilet fill device, the faucets and other things, but it does work.

    You could also replace those pipes.

    bob...
  7. murray1987

    murray1987 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    To the "You have high ferrous iron in the water", EVERYTHING you said is true, but we have already taken care of all of that. In fact we have 2 sets of filter systems hooked up to the well.

    Like I said before, my parents do not have this issue, at least since a professional came out and cleaned the system and filled it with bleach. Ours were fine for 3 days and then the orange stains came back and so did the particles, then when we had a leak we discovered the pipes were lined thickly with gunk. So I figured there has to be something we can pour into our lines to clean them.

    Would a LOT of foaming drain cleaner work? The kind with 2 types of stuff in one bottle that you use on slow drains that is supposed to clean the walls of the drain?
  8. drick

    drick In the Trades

    Messages:
    392
    Don't use drain cleaner. Even if it works that stuff is hazardous in even small quantities.

    Iron Out is supposedly not harmful in small quantities (or so it implies on the bottle). People use it to clean water softener resin so I think as long as you give the pipe a good flushing afterward you should be ok. Here is what I would do; connect a whole house filter canister between the pipe and the well exactly where the pipe exits the well. Fill it part way with iron out.

    Next, disconnect the pipe from the pressure tank inside the house, buy and a piece of poly pipe, connect it to the pipe you disconnected from the tank and run it out of the house.

    Ok, now run the pump long enough to draw the iron out into the PVC pipe and stop. Wait a few minutes, the iron out will dissolve some of the iron, then turn the pump back on to flush the pipe. Repeat by adding more iron out to the filter canister until the pipe is clean.

    Anybody with thoughts on why not to try this before digging up and replacing the pipe?

    -rick
  9. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    In my own opinion, that would greatly depend upon the overall knowledge and experience of whoever is doing it. This is somewhere around 600' of potable water line with lives at stake at the end of the job.
  10. murray1987

    murray1987 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    After talking to someone at Lowes, they suggested an inline filter coming from the pipe that comes from the well that leads to our home. They had kinds with filters you replace but the better one was self-flushing and never needed replaced. It cost $125.

    Any ideas on using one of these?
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    That won't work, and neither will replacing the pipe. Remember, the rust in the pipe is caused by the ferrous iron content in the water IN the well. I have ways to treat that IF it needs to be but, simply because there is rust in a pipe, that is normal with any amount of iron well water so unless the pipe is blocking by say 50%, why bother now when it will return?

    Since you have these filters, how are you getting particles through them to your fixtures? What type of filters are they; disposable cartridge types or backwashed or regenerated filters? Which one removes soluble, clear water iron? If none, it goes right through your filters and lines the pipes. I have seen and solved this problem a number of times.
  12. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    Carter has lots of liver pills too, but they won't remove iron.

    bob...
  13. murray1987

    murray1987 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I understand that I can not remove the iron. The softeners in the system helps some with the hardness. We have dealt with that for 20 years. There is a machine for hardness, some charcoal filter, one for taste, one that adds salt and I don't know what else, it is 6 in all and there is bleach ran through them yearly because that helps a lot with staining and odor at my parent's house for about a year and like I said before, only 3 days or so at my house.

    The orange staining and metal tasting water began 2 years ago. That is when a professional came out and told us to add bleach to the system. For some reason it is the pipes leading to our house that have the particles and metal taste. A plumber told us it was because we were down hill so all the debris is heading our direction. That is why they recommended an inline filter to catch the debris before it got into our pipes. I know the rust will still be there but we would be able to possibly drink the water and use our icemaker if there are no particles in it. Also by flushing our pipes with belach or stain rust remover on a monthly basis.

    We can not afford to replace the pipes nor the well. Another deal with the well was 20 years ago a huge plumber's wrench AND an old well pump were dropped in to it. I don't know if that is the cause all of a sudden for the particles but wouldn't the inline filter catch them before entering our pipes?
  14. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    Your softener will catch particles if that's all your trying to do. Putting bleach into your pipes will do nothing but kill bacteria. Bleach is not an acid and it will not eat iron deposits. If you want to remove the iron, you need an iron filter. If that's too expensive for your budget, buying an inline filter will just make your budget a little smaller. It will not remove anything that the softener won't.

    bob...
  15. murray1987

    murray1987 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    On of the units is an iron filter. We live in a very hard water and iron area. My dad has paid ocer $5000 in units just t make the water useable. The bleach is added yearly to kill bacteria. There is just something going on in the pipes coming from the units to our house, rather they need cleaned from build up or like someone else said we are getting all the residue the filters arenot getting because we are down hill. We have plastic pipes and my parents are galvanized and you would think they would have problems, not us. When we pour bleach or rust stain remover in justour pipes LOTS of orange rust chunks come out. We are trying to avoid the chunks so we can drink our water. I just assumed the inline filter being hooked up before it reaches our house would catch the chunks.
  16. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    Up down hill makes no difference. I don't know who the plumber was that told you that, but he's sadly mistaken.

    If your getting chunks after your water softener, they on the pipes behind your water softener. They can't get through the softener.

    Pouring bleach into your pipes can let in some air which can in fact loosen some particles.

    bob...
  17. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,387
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Murray, you have had a real expert answer this question, but you still seem to think you can solve this problem by listening to a salesman at Lowe's and continue looking for a cheap way to fix a complex problem. Gary Slusser has dealt with your kind of problem for years. He probably has forgotten more about the subject they most of us have ever heard of. The best advice I can offer is to contact him again and this time listen to him and take his advice. In the meantime, for God's sake, do put caustic chemicals into your water supply!
  18. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The equipment is not working correctly. I mean it is allowing dissolved iron to remain in the water which then oxidizes and lines the pipe and it builds up until it flakes off in your chunks. If you insist on using one... your disposable filter should be on your plumbing where the line comes into your house. That way it can remove all chunks that break off ahead of it.

    Shocking a well can make the problem worse because it can increase the rusting of a metal well casing, IRB and other reducing types of bacteria will form slime to protect themselves and that forms rock hard encrustations and their numbers can increase and... if you run that chlorine through a softener and some iron filter minerals, you ruin them. Which may be why the equipment isn't working now but...

    As you should see, your way of dealing with the problem and its cause is not working. You can add all the disposable cartridge filters you want and you are still going to have the orange rusty iron stains even if you get rid of the chunks.

    Gary Swart, thanks for the support. Murray hasn't called me yet.
  19. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Oops! To be sure of what was meant:

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