Black water, then black flakes from supplies

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Pghsebring

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I live in a 30 story condo building that was built in 1997, about half way up. The boilers are on the roof fwiw, and we have communal (city) water that is not individually heated or metered. It seems the supplies are copper, at least where they come out of the walls in our apartment.

I did not put all of this stuff together until today, everything seemed random, or like small individual issues.

Over the last few months when we take a shower in the master shower, there started to be a "whistling" noise clear across the apartment coming from what seems to be the access panel that has the main shutoff in it. Then at the end of March, the "guts" inside our half bath faucet started leaking, so I shut the supply valves off and bought a new faucet, but did not replace it. A week after that my wife went to run the washer (about 8 years old) on a white/hot cycle, and it wouldn't fill. By the time you get someone out here, etc, you're not saving money...its $600 to replace it instead so that's what we did. Then a week ago the "guts" on the kitchen faucet started leaking and flooded the sink cabinet. When the new faucet came today, I went to put both faucets in (kitchen and half bath that has been off for ~2 months.) When I went to put the kitchen sink faucet supply line on, I flushed the hot valve first, and black water came pouring out - like several ounces worth, 6-12 oz at least, not an insignificant amount. (I took a video of this half way through.) And I mean directly from the supply valve, not through a rubber hose or anything. The water looks like black ink. In any case, once I ran enough water through the line, I looked closely at the "clear" water coming out and noticed black flakes in it. So I went into the bathroom that got the brand new faucet today, and pulled the aerator, and black flakes fell out. I ran a few cups of hot and cold water without the aerator, and both have black flakes in them - though the hot has more than the cold. I went into the other bathroom to the only faucet in the apartment that wasn't replaced brand new today, and it too has black flakes coming out of it.

The management office is closed tonight, but I'm looking for opinions as to what I should be asking in the morning. And what could this possibly be? Corrosion of some sort is my first guess? It seems the most comprehensive tests of water run from $250-$550 if I pay for it myself. But even if it comes back "safe," it is clearly damaging all the valves in my apartment - we've know the owner of this apartment for 8 years and have lived here on and off that whole time, and nothing like this has ever happened, but now all the valves keep breaking...
 

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Bannerman

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As a condo, if you own your unit, then you share in the ownership of the building along with all other unit owners.

Suggest taking your black water sample to the property manager and possibly the Board of Directors to show what is exiting the plumbing system as this indicates a problem they may not yet be aware of. There will need to be an investigation to determine the source and cause, and once that has been corrected, then the entire building plumbing system will likely need to be flushed and all aerators removed and cleaned.

Check the supply faucets and hoses for your clothes washer as they usually incorporate screens that are likely filled with whatever the solid flakes are.
 
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Reach4

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Check the supply faucets and hoses for your clothes washer as they usually incorporate screens that are likely filled with whatever the solid flakes are.
When you do that with the clothes washer screens, keep track of what is in the cold vs what is in the hot. That info will be useful in the diagnosis and cure.
 

Pghsebring

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The issue was the pressure regulating valves - there are two of them per apartment (hot and cold), and there are diaphragms in them that I guess deteriorate over time. The lifespan seems to be 5-15 years. Hot was 3/4" and cold was 1." The hot was the source of the whistling noise.
 
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