Mysterious Brick Dust Piles in Basement

A mystery for brick experts:
I've got a 100+ year old row home in Philadelphia. The exterior is brick. I've recently noticed that 'piles' of red brick dust are collecting in the basement along the front and back walls of the house. Does anyone have a suggestion for a list of problems that I need to rule out to figure out what is happening?
Here is some potentially useful information: The front and back exteriors have been repointed in the last 5 years. 'Star' wall-supports were installed at that time. The front exterior wall shows a slight 'barreling' (bowing accross the house as well as down the house). The basement walls are stone and have been reparged in the last 6 months.
Any ideas are appreciated!
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I have bad vibes about the re-pointing and how it was done and what materials were used.
What are star wall supports?
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Joseph Meehan

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Thanks for your response! I'm affraid the repointing was done prior to our buying the house - I can't speak to the quality of the work. Although the exterior bricks and mortar look great. The bricks arent flaking and aren't easy to gouge. How do you suppose inferior pointing would result in this dust?
The 'star' supports were installed at the time of the repointing to stabalize the bowing on the front wall. They are essentially big flanges that are bolted to rods that are run along and are anchored to the floor joists on the second floor. There are two of them. These are used on a lot of the older row homes in the area. If anyone knows what these are technically called it might help.
One concern (from me - a non expert) is that the wall is shifting and this shifting is resulting in wear on the bricks and causing the dust.
Joseph Meehan wrote:

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Steve wrote:

Pointing old brick with modern harder materials can cause problems as can things like blocking weep holes or creating situations that might allow water in that were not there before.

I wonder if that "dust" might not be from drilling the holes for the rods.

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Piles....like here and there or along the entire stretch of the wall? Are they neat little piles like someone poured sand in one place? Are they the same color as the brick or are they lighter? possiably pinkish? red+white? What changes have occured on the exerior of the house or land in these area if any?
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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There are essentially two piles, one on the front wall and one on the back. The one in the front is more substantial and does look like someone poored sand from one spot on the wall. I don't know if they are in localized piles because the problem is localized or if that the only place where there is a gap in the interior of the wall that allows the dust to enter the basement.
As for the color and the material of the dust I did the following: Affraid that this might be termite saw dust, that just picked up red dust from falling down a brick wall I took a handful and mixed it with water and let it settle in a glass. I figured that if there was sawdust from wood it would float and the ceramic would sink when it settled. I was left with nothing floating and a settement on the bottom of the glass, leading me to think it's all ceramic.
With that said the color could be a little lighter than the brick. What do you have in mind?
The only changes to the exterior that I know of are the anchors through the front wall that I've described above. As for the area: this is an interesting question. Theres been no seismic activity in philly however there is a good amount of construction. There is a property katty-corner to mine on which a construction team has been digging the foundation for a new building. Less than a month ago the city tore up the street infront of the place and laid down new maccadam.
It's possible that these things have caused an undue amount of vibration and created the bricks to loose a bit of material. Perhaps I'll vaccum the piles up and keep an I on this being a chronic problem.
I appreciate your thoughts!
Italian wrote:

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You get the brick piles about a week before your house falls down.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Masonry ants?
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No wall flexing, and it's just brick dust left over from drilling the wall supports.
The wall is flexing, and friction with the rod is causing brick dust from the original drilling to be pushed out.
The wall is flexing and friction with the rod is causing new abrasion and brick dust to be formed.
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