Soil/Sediment build up in Mains Water!

I changed my dishwasher the other day to be horrified at the amount of mud underneath the old unit. I then checked under the dishwasher... same. To see the extent of the problem I drained the attic tank, and there was a thick brown sludgy mess at the bottom also. I wonder is it due to a mains leak somewhere? Any help/advice on this would be great. I'm on a mains water supply with strict regs... so I don't think this should be happening?!
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None wrote:

Sorry, meant to say I changed my washing machine...
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Just contact your water company for a water quality test. You can also contact the Drinking Water Inspectorate if you don't get a satisfactory result from the water board. However if there is a leak and it's on your property I think you'll end up paying for the repairs so it might be a double edged sword.
I'm not sure why there should be anything under your dishwasher unless it was leaking in which case most of the mess might be rust. The attic tank should be clean though. -- Dave Baker Puma Race Engines www.pumaracing.co.uk Camp USA engineer minces about for high performance specialist (4,4,7)
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Have you a hose attached outside? Is there a double check valve incorporated (usually in the tap). If not this could be a cause, but back syphoning into your loft storage tank sounds a little far fetched!
-- Mike W
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The mess underneath the appliances was definitely soil, as I gave it the 'smell test' unorthodox as that may seem... but not rust. I have had to clean out the attic tank before because of this, but I presumed that it was a normal thing, now I doubt that. The water has a yellow hue to it (slight) that I have noticed, but I suppose I will ring the water supplier tomorrow, although I'm pretty sure they won't find anything wrong outside. The plumbing under the sink looks suspect and the black plastic main pipe is lightly covered in soil smelling stuff... weird. There is a strong 'earthy' odour there too.
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|I changed my dishwasher the other day to be horrified at the amount of |mud underneath the old unit. I then checked under the dishwasher... |same. To see the extent of the problem I drained the attic tank, and |there was a thick brown sludgy mess at the bottom also. I wonder is it |due to a mains leak somewhere? Any help/advice on this would be great. |I'm on a mains water supply with strict regs... so I don't think this |should be happening?!
Your kitchen tap comes straight from the mains supply, that is OK for cooking and drinking and to the appropriate specifications.
You should not use any water from an attic tank for cooking or drinking, because the problem of sludge in attic tanks which you observed is common in UK houses.
Hot water from a combi is OK for cooking and drinking, because it has not been stored. I have had this from an Environmental Health Officer.
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On Sun, 03 Dec 2006 16:28:20 +0000 someone who may be Dave Fawthrop

And the sludge is thus not in the water one is drinking.

I wouldn't pay too much attention to council officials on the subject. There are ways of making water in a storage tank unsuitable to drink, but if the tank is installed and maintained properly there is very little risk drinking water from such a tank. The water that comes in the mains is more dangerous, as the residents of several places including Camelford would attest.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
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On 3 Dec 2006 07:22:29 -0800, None wrote:

A leak with several bar of pressure behind it is not likley to let any muck in. Now if the pressure drops and becomes negative relative to the inside of the pipe...

You don't say where you are. Birmingham's water is lovely and soft but is distinctly brown, either from Elan peat and/or the iron pipes that ship it to Birmingham from Wales.
Is the tank covered with a close fitting lid? If not then don't expect clean tanks, even with a lid I doubt the builders will have cleaned the tanks before fitting so a layer of brick dust and other muck is "normal".
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Dave Liquorice wrote:

I'm actually in Dublin, but we have the same system as in Britain... also supposed to have the best water in the country around here too! It's soft, not hard also. I had the water tested, and the main difference with other samples in the area was the level of sediment which was higher than usual and pH (6.7) which was much lower than the norm.
The tank is fitted with a lid and has to cleaned out periodically due to soil buildup. Even the filter inside the Triton T90 shower gets soil in it. Really odd problem I know, maybe I should get the mains replumbed?
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We had exactly the same problem in our house. It was certainly soil rather than any other sort of crud. A few months later, a water leak was discovered in the mains supply under our drive.
It was explained to us that although the water was at a fairly high pressure, it escaped into the soil which pretty well withstood the water pressure, but a cavity was formed and water would swirl around in that cavity at something like mains pressure and find it's way back into the pipe at times when the pipe pressure momentarily dipped - flushing the loo etc. At that instant, the pressure in the cavity was equal or greater than in the pipe and water and soil could flow into the pipe.
When the pipe was fixed the soil in the water never came back.
I've no idea if this explanation is reliable, but it sounds reasonably plausible.
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Roly wrote:

How serious was your problem i.e. was your actual drinking water running brown, because ours isn't, though there is a definite yellowy colour to it. How did the council/water company fix it? Did they have to dig up your whole driveway?
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None wrote:

Bump
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We don't really know how long it had been going on for before we detected it. We would occasionally spot bits of grit in a bowl or the sink when you wouldn't expect there to be any, but we did note that a lot had built up in the washing machine filter, trapped by the fluff that accululates there. It looked quite different to how it normally did, but even then didn't think anything of it.
The big problem came when the bath became very slow to fill and eventually we discovered that the cold water pipe to the tap was a long, horizontal run and it had mostly clogged up with sediment and was hardly letting water through.
At that point we started to wonder where the contamination was coming from. I fitted a particle filter just after the house stop cock and it soon became obvious that the muck was coming in from the mains.
Once the pipe was fixed, the filter never again trapped any significant amount of muck.
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I should have added that the pipe was replaced by only digging up two small bits of the drive. The job was done while I was out, so I didn't see how they did it, but they dug a small hole near the stop cock in the pavement and a small hole where the water pipe enters the house, but the forty feet or so between those two points wasn't disturbed.
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On Wed, 06 Dec 2006 01:39:11 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@Tesco.net (Roly) wrote:
|> Once the pipe was fixed, the filter never again trapped any significant |> amount of muck. | |I should have added that the pipe was replaced by only digging up two |small bits of the drive. The job was done while I was out, so I didn't |see how they did it, but they dug a small hole near the stop cock in the |pavement and a small hole where the water pipe enters the house, but the |forty feet or so between those two points wasn't disturbed.
I watched the gas people installing a new gas mail using the same technique for our house. Dig two small holes. Put a mole, (a long thin, air powered, thing which goes bang bang, bang), heading in the right direction in one, drilling a tunnel between the two holes. Draw a plastic pipe after it.
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On 6 Dec,

They did a similar thing with a pipe under a major road near here a few years back. There were problems with 'heave' afterwards (a bump in the road) necessitating closure for resurfacing. In this case less effective than excavating the first time.
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