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Horrible Private Water System Scenarios

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  • Horrible Private Water System Scenarios

    This short story will soon get some serious mileage across the net, but I'm sure there are those who have heard of far worse.

    Customers I work for, they are from England. They bought a house 3.5 years ago in my area, had Culligan come out to check inspect a Culligan brand RO system along with a softener.

    Culligan did a on-site water test and once they found out it was cistern water, test proved to be that the water was fine.

    Fast forward 3.5 years, no filter changes on the RO system, cistern never cleaned and never refilled with trucks hauling water in because the cistern is so large, in combination with roof area to compensate/refill during the smallest of rainfalls.

    They've never cleaned the gutters either.

    They told me that about a month ago, the water started to smell like "hot dogs"

    and she took that as kinda comical. Remember, in England they don't have the problems they do here in the states.

    3.5 years that cistern was never cleaned, neither was those RO filters. I lifted that cistern lid and almost puked right into the opening when I flashed a light inside there.

    Inside, was cat's corpse, half floating inside this cistern with a mold pattern growing around where the body is,

    The opening from the gutter that runs into the cistern and down the wall? Black sludge all the way down the wall with green mold edges,

    A yellow haze in the water itself along with debri galore.

    I asked if they poured any chlorine in the any time, no. Never. They went off that statement by Culligan and not once did anyone mention maintenance of this private water system.

    I can't even begin to describe the smell of this water when I opened the lid, but these people have been drinking, and bathing, using this water for cooking all this time.

    The last snowfall when it melted is what triggered the smell change.

    This woman, the more I divulged this to her, the more scared she became, and grossed out. I wouldn't swear to it but I bet she went inside and ralphed after I told her what was in the cistern. You could just tell that she was getting queazie real quick.

    The only thing I've seen somewhat remotely close to this situation was a old lady who was fighting mad about being forced by the state to put a bathroom inside her house, which she thought was absolutely disgusting to do so, crapping inside the home. She had a outhouse she'd been using for years without any problems, and thought it was dead wrong for putting such vile things inside a home. ???

    Her kitchen was built right over top her cistern, the person who put the kitchen sink plumbing in shot it right out the wall, where a gutter picked up the rest of the travelling wastewater and dump it immediately over a hill to the road.

    I was called out to this property to replace a water pump and bladder tank that was strategically placed in this same bathroom where a door with a cutout for a sink was used above it.

    The call was "Soap suds coming out of the faucets" ????

    When I walked outside to the front of this house where the kitchen sink drain did a redirect through an old gutter laying on the ground that when they cut grass, never got put back...

    You could see where the ground sunk down 2' right at the wall of this kitchen, the same wall that served as the cistern.

    When I went into kitchen to pull the cistern lid that was covered with a old carpet, a light revealed it all;

    That kitchen wastewater was wicking through that cinder block wall because the water level in the cistern was considerably lower. Nobody ever thought to tar that wall to stop infiltration from the outside in.

    That water was so murky and milk colored, and apparently food particles made their way back into the cistern because cracks in the mortar were clearly evident from the daylight that could be seen from afar.

    This woman prepared meat, food, vegetables, anything you can imagine and when she washed her dishes, cleaned anything in that sink, whether she'd dump poisons or chemicals for whatever reason...

    it was coming right back into that cistern, diluting into the water supply.

    That woman offered me a glass of water that day, 18 years ago and I refused because the glass looked dirty and the water wasn't cold enough, even though it came out of her fridge.

    People can become their worst enemies of themselves when they don't know the specifics of their plumbing systems, and how to correctly maintain them.

    If you have a horrible water quality situation that you've seen heard or witnessed, post it here.
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  • #2
    Re: Horrible Private Water System Scenarios

    That is disturbing

    This one is much more comical, and less serious than Dunbar's. A friend of mine who I went to trade school with told me about a time when he was working on a reserve in Northern Alberta. The were investing a blockage and possible broken pipe in the line between the house and septic Tank. They decided to excavate, and got to digging right around where they believed the pipe terminated into the tank. When they started the unearth the penetration into the tank, they saw something very different; A Rusty old steel Spetic tank. Discovering this, they dug more and found the "tank" was actually an old an 84' Chevy Vandura.
    West Trail Mechanical Ltd
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    • #3
      Re: Horrible Private Water System Scenarios

      How could the cat get into the cistern? Did someone put it in there deliberately?


      • #4
        Re: Horrible Private Water System Scenarios

        Originally posted by Chemeng View Post
        How could the cat get into the cistern? Did someone put it in there deliberately?
        isn't that how you start a septic tank?


        maybe she thought it was a septic tank.

        i wonder if she had stinky breath.


        • #5
          Re: Horrible Private Water System Scenarios

          HOTDOGS!!! I would of thought Chinese food..


          • #6
            Re: Horrible Private Water System Scenarios

            okay. i got one for you dunbar or anybody else.

            now, it's not quite like your water consumption story,
            but it's a really stinky story (try and say that ten times in a row. really thingky thory fresher than fresh fish).

            back in the 80's when i was working for the gooberment, the main school was shut down at 10 o'clock am.

            seems the stink was so bad kids starting getting headaches and it cleared the building of 350 students plus staff. the stench of poop made the air thick i tell you.

            next day, 9 o'clock am right on the dot, pooooooffffffff.


            cleared the school out again.

            samething the day after. 0900 hrs right on the dot. you could set a timer by it.

            the boss tells everbody from the shop to go up to the school and find the source of the thingcky, pungent air.

            we're in the crawl space. no poop. we check all of the bathrooms. no poop. check vent terminations. clear and breathing.

            next day we go to the school at 8 o'clock in the morning. 0900 hrs pppooooffffffff. pppppoooooooooo. big building fart.

            we all go into the gymnasium because this is where the thick air is rolling out from. everbody's standing around scratching their heads. the teachers were gett'in ready to puke.

            i asked the building maintainer what time the airhandler units come on for the building. he said the classrooms came on a 8am and the gym came on at 9am. hhhmmmm.

            i make my way up to the airhandler room and start looking at them. i open up the AHU for the classrooms and i see that it's clean. the water for the humidifier is also clean. i could see it because the lightbulb was working for that unit. i check the heat exchanger, work'in good.

            i go over to the gym AHU, open it up and looked inside. hhmm. lightbulb NFG. i have my flash light and shine it in the humidifier. no reflection. hhuuuhhh!

            i poked my head in and dipped my hand into the high school blackhole that sucks in the flashlight beam of a eskimo plumber.

            my fingers came in contact with a liquid. a black liquid. (hint; we don't have texas tea up here)

            i put it to my nose and gave it a good whiff.

            ppppppooooo!!!!!!!. it smelled like poo, but it wasn't.

            what did i find? and what corrective action was required to rectumfy the big building farts? most of the hints are in this reply.


            other factors to be considered; heat, housekeeping/maintanence (or lack thereof), and turbidity.


            • #7
              Re: Horrible Private Water System Scenarios

              neighbors place a few miles down the road a few years ago,

              they have a in ground cistern, and they started to get ill, and not really get any better, and some one suggested to have there water tested, (not sure of the events) but in the process they looked in the cistern and discovered it a foot deep in dead, black ground beetles, floating on the top of the water.

              but with in ground cisterns it is not unusual to find snakes, or frogs, toads, or some type of "wild life" in them,

              the people had moved into the house and were renting it and never considered maintaining the water system, and the owners husband had passed on and since it had not been her job she failed to pass the info along.

              Vince those humidifiers when they mess up are a stinky mess, ran into it on a home system one time,
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              • #8
                Re: Horrible Private Water System Scenarios

                Dunbar, if they had such a large roof area and never needed water delivered why was there a RO plant? also, why a softener for a rainwater cistern? can't get much softer than rainwater, can you?

                anybody on a cistern should have at least 2 sediment filters, 1 charcoal filter, and a UV filter. you'll never keep all the stuff out and it must be filtered to make it potable. chlorine alone will not help

                typically every 7 - 10 years cisterns here need to be drained, cleaned, & resealed.

                with our 42,000 gal cistern, if we use 100 gals/day (never come close to that) we have over a years worth of water, if it never rains.

                In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!


                • #9
                  Re: Horrible Private Water System Scenarios

                  Hope You passed on that cup of Tea!
                  I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .