Black specks in bathtub please help!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Ry01, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    Feb 27, 2020
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    92346
    some one needs to approve the cost to mitigate this and sounds like no one cares or has deep enough budget to look into this maybe it sounds like a petty complaint
     
  2. Ry01

    Ry01 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2020
    Location:
    Toronto
    At the moment I only know one other owner that said she noticed the issue in her sink after I mentioned it to her. I haven't had a chance to speak to anyone else cause of the whole Covid mess. I can try to bring up switching the anode rod to a different material but I have a feeling they won't reply as usual.

    When I asked if the anode rod was replaced during the recent cleaning, I was told the plumber cleaned the anode rod and that it will be replaced during next clean up.

    So if no one else complains about this issue, there's nothing I can do at all to have them actually look into the issue?

    From reviewing the emails exchanged between me and the manager, it basically looks like he ignores my emails until a plumbing service comes up (ie. replacing PRV) and he would reply telling me what service is going to take place and hope that fixes my issue...

    I've been looking to find a company that can test what the black specks are but all the ones I can find only test for e.coli, and metals. Does anyone happen to know a lab that can test this?

    I apologize that this is starting to turn into a discussion on dealing with condo management haha.


    EDIT: From reading another post on the forum, I see suggestions on getting the water tested for Manganese and Iron?
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  3. Ry01

    Ry01 New Member

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    Oct 15, 2020
    Location:
    Toronto
    So when I first reached out to the board after being ignored by the property manager for so long, they sent a plumber to collect water samples to do a test. During that time, I spoke to the plumber briefly and he suggested cleaning the tanks and another option is to install a filter where the PRV is for the whole floor. I didn't get a chance to ask him more in details as he was in a rush.

    Oh and as for the test... I was told by the property manager the test is to check for water chemistry and they'll know how to proceed once test results comes back..

    Fast forwards few weeks, I received an email from the property manager saying the test results shows no bacterial contamination. I looked at the attachment included in the email and the document shows no test results, just sample collected date and drop off date.

    I did a bit of digging and they took my water sample to do a private well water test with Public Health to check for total coliform and e.coli....

    Furthermore, Public Health does not test city water and the test was cancelled. But the property manager was telling me there's no issue..:confused:
     
  4. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I am assuming you are located within the City of Toronto proper as opposed to one of the surrounding Regional Municipalities such as Peel, York or Durham. Each RM is required to test the water they supply but the City of Toronto website states their drinking water is tested every 6 hours by their accredited lab. https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/water-environment/tap-water-in-toronto/

    The link above also states 15,000 bacteriological tests on samples collected from the water distribution system annually.

    Annual Water quality reports may be downloaded from:
    https://www.toronto.ca/services-pay...-in-toronto/tap-water-quality-system-reports/

    Because Chlorine or Chloramine is utilized to control bacteria in municipal water systems, the chlorine will also oxidize any Ferrous iron initially contained in the water, converting it to Ferric iron (solid rust particles) which is easily filtered from the water. Any Ferric iron that is not filtered by the city will typically precipitate from the water within the distribution network so the water arriving at most homes will be usually clear of iron unless there is a sudden excessive flow rate (Fire Hydrant use) or when the city flushes and cleans water mains, either of which may lead to temporary red or brown turbid water.

    A condo Property Manager / Management company is hired by and is accountable to the corporation's Board of Directors. A PM's obligation is to act as the Board's agent to ensure the Board's responsibilities are fulfilled so the PM is, therefore, directed only by the BoD as a whole, not individual unit owners.

    It is understandable if the debris is only observed when running the bathtub as most bathtub spouts do not incorporate an aerator whereas other faucets and some shower heads utilize aerator screens in which the debris is likely to become trapped behind.

    If each PRV is to regulate each floor's hot water pressure, perhaps the particles are due to a breakdown of internal components within the PRV. If the PRV for your floor is only affected, you could then expect the debris to be apparent only within the units on your floor, not the entire building. I suspect the PRV is not the cause as you said the issue temporarily improved after the WH and anode rod was cleaned.

    If the source of the debris is the WH or PRV, installing a suitable filter after each PRV should then eliminate the debris. You could suggest installing a filter initially on your floor as a trial to determine if it will be effective.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    IL
    Would there be a PRV for the hot?
     
  6. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I wouldn't expect so but I do anticipate there will need to be a method to balance the pressure between the Hot vs Cold water supplies on each floor. Depending on which floor Ty01 resides on, pressure balancing could be performed by booster pumps and valves vs a PRV on the hot.

    A pump could also be the source of the debris but as Ry01 mentioned the plumber suggested installing a filter specifically where the PRV is located for each floor, and as this issue is affecting only the hot water, I'm assuming the plumber knows how the building's hot water system is plumbed.
     
  7. Ry01

    Ry01 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2020
    Location:
    Toronto

    A booster pump was installed last year as there were complaints of low water pressure. The black specks were present long before the pumps were installed. When the pumps were first installed, there was a large amount of debris that showed up in all water source in our unit. It clogged our kitchen sink and toilet.

    My floor is the lowest floor on a zone so everything gets flushed down here from what I was told. My bathtub faucet does have an aerator. I open it pretty often to wash out any debris that's trapped in there. The debris in the aerator is harder in size and does not smear.

    I'm not sure if the issue is related to my floor only or the whole building as the issue is hard to notice if you don't use the bathtub. The specks don't often appear in the sink and when I do see it, it does not smear and it just gets flushed away. I noticed it in my kitchen sink a couple of times when I was washing a white plastic bowl. I was able to see the black marks on it. It's in the standup shower as well but not often. I would maybe see 1-2 marks every periodically.

    For residents that don't use the bathtub, they most likely wouldn't notice there's an issue at all. Also the severity of the issue may vary from 1 unit to the next. I'm going to try to speak to other unit owners.

    I asked the PM if there's any possibility that it may be an issue with the expansion tank and I was told the expansion tank is connected to the heating/cooling system. This system is a closed loop system and nothing to do with the hot and cold water supply.

    I guess what I can try next is to run a test to check for Iron and Manganese to see if there's a higher level normal of these chemical present.

    Going to try to speak with board/PM again (if they'll even respond) to ask if there's any braided stainless steel lines used anywhere. I know he mentioned our building uses pex pipes and copper manifolds.
     
  8. Ry01

    Ry01 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2020
    Location:
    Toronto
    Here's how the aerator looks like normally.

    Also I looked at the toilet tanks in my unit and I noticed there's a lot of black debris/sediments. I tried rubbing the debris and it left black marks all over my fingers. Is this normal? I'm wondering if this is somehow connected to the issue I'm experiencing in the bathtub.


    aerator.jpg


    toilet tank 1.jpg toilet tank 2.jpg
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I expect you note that the toilet is not fed by hot water.
     
  10. Ry01

    Ry01 New Member

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    Oct 15, 2020
    Location:
    Toronto
    Oh right.. yah haha..
     
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