Water Heater Hooped - What is this Black Greasy Petrolium Smelling material in pipes

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Orcacalling, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. Orcacalling

    Orcacalling New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Alert Bay, BC
    Hi

    Over a year I have being showering and smelling a petrolium smell. My skin and hair get coated with a sticky clear material when showering. I feel sick after a shower. I am even afraid to drink the water.

    We do not have a plumber here where I live - a small island. I had someone who does the plumming drain the tank six months ago but said the tank was fine. Problem continued. Last week finally landlord sent someone else and he found at the bottom of the tank green floating material, orange floating material and milk white material. Landlord agreed to change the tank. Upon installing tank the acting plumber call him Danny he called to me and showed me a big concern. On the hose that exits the hot water tank he found lots of black petrolium smelling material that was thick as grease. I have a new tank but this pipe is full of the stuff. His job was to clear the grey plastic pipe that runs from the hot water heater through the walls to taps. He called 5 plumbers but non of them heard of this problem before. He used CLR and ran it through. To date when I turn on the bathroom sink hot water tap or shower tap I smell a heavy smell of that material. If I leave taps open it is if it becomes a gas and my stomach starts feeling sick. I am afraid to use the water to bathe or wash. Have you heard of this problem? Is the water safe? I also have been experiencing a metalic taste in mouth when I touch the hot water, been coughing up a little bit of blood sometimes and asthma has increased. This ight not be related but worried. Landlord will test water after (Canada) Thanksgiving. In the mean time I am seeking answers.
    Thank you!
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,003
    Location:
    New England
    Some of the sludge could be from biological byproducts (i.e., stuff growing in the water). You may need to sanitize the pipes. The incoming water may need chlorine treatment. Does the water come from a well, or town water supply? If it is from a town, they (at least in the USA - don't know about Canada) are required to do periodic water tests and make the results available to anyone who asks. If it is a well, then it is up to the owner, after the initial home inspection when the house was built. I don't think that I'd drink the water until it can be proven safe, and even then, it sounds like it doesn't have the greatest taste, so may require some treatment or continued bottled water for at least drinking and cooking.
  3. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Sounds like your well should be sold to British Petroleum. You might be pumping up some hydrocarbons! file a mineral claim.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,003
    Location:
    New England
    It's possible, if there are flexible supply lines to and from the WH, that the lining has given up, breaking down, and producing at least part of the problem.
  5. Orcacalling

    Orcacalling New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Alert Bay, BC
    Thanks for your response. I appreciate that. It is really strong the smell not sure but think it turns into a gas. My stomach flip flops. Happy Thanks Giving by the way.
  6. Orcacalling

    Orcacalling New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Alert Bay, BC
    Thanks Jim

    I have been boiling cold water and then drink it. It is village water a large well that everyone uses. They test it regularly. Appreciate you time. Robin
  7. Orcacalling

    Orcacalling New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Alert Bay, BC
    Hi, just thought that you might want to know that the black material in pipe is possible black mold. The petroleum smell is possibly petroleum gell to help bond the pipes. I am going to test things myself . Thanks again Robin
  8. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    If the water was tested there shouldn't be ant doubt! Who did the tests?
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,003
    Location:
    New England
    The big question is: do any others from the same supply have similar problems? You might just want to check with whomever does the water tests for the main well to take a sample and have yours tested as well. It can get expensive, depending on the quantity and extent of the tests you ask them to perform, but is probably worth it. this would tell you if it is restricted to your house or is a general problem.
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