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  • Tainted water system

    I have a 400 gal and a 600 gal gas water heater. The heat exchangers have rusted and been replaced. My problem is, a lot of the rust has entered the water system. It is fine until I shut the water down, then the system has to be flushed for 3-4 hours before the water runs clear. The sediment that comes out is extremely fine. It disappears in you hand when you touch it. I've had the water tested and there is no danger. Does anyone know how to clean the system. I have drained the system with no luck. It is a 5 story science building, when I shut it down the sediment causes problems with the lab experiments.
    Last edited by Mastadon; 02-23-2006, 09:08 AM.
    If it weren't for your plumber, you wouldn't have any place to go!

  • #2
    do the tanks have a any kind of manhole to enter? i've cleaned out larger cement lined tanks where i could enter. it took 1 day to cool down with fans running prior to entry. a pressure washer is what i used.

    what is the inside of the tank lined with? (cement, epoxy)is there access to the inside?

    i would consult with a local co. that does this kind of work.

    if you can't physically get in, then a chemical to cut the rust and a good flushing should help. as far as keeping water on, you might need to install a temprorary storage tank during the cleaning.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

    Comment


    • #3
      It's not the tanks that are the problem. I have been inside the tanks and cleaned the out. The sediment is in the lines themselves
      If it weren't for your plumber, you wouldn't have any place to go!

      Comment


      • #4
        Mastadon,

        What is the piping system comprised of?
        Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

        Comment


        • #5
          It's all copper. it starts with 2 1/2" down to 1/2"
          If it weren't for your plumber, you wouldn't have any place to go!

          Comment


          • #6
            this is a very common problem on large systems. over the years the dirt and rust will settle in the pipe to. the lines are size for all the fixtures to operate at the same time and still provide decent flow. in reality only 10% of the capicty is used at any given time.

            our city fire department has to flush the water mains through the fire hydrants to check for proper flow. you should see the color of the water coming out and then the color of the water in the houses for the next few hours until things settle.

            this is no different than what you have going on in this hugh system at the university.

            to properly flush out the system you need high flow and velocity. that's why it happens on restarting the system. once the water system is filled the particals start to settle down.

            it's possible that you will have to cut open the main at the end of the line to install a full size ball valve. then you can flush out the main. the smaller branch lines can be flushed via the faucets. remove all the aereators and flow restrictors to allow full flow or better yet disconnect the feed lines and extend them into the sink to flush out.

            i have high rise buildings that i work at that are no different. this happens when the main is shut down. if you drain the system slow and fill the system slow it is not a problem.

            if you really want to clean the pipes 1 time. there are companies that do epoxie lining of the water piping. they run abrasive throught the line to clean and then epoxie line the pipe. the problem is that the dirt will eventually settle back in the large mains.

            2 final suggestions.

            1-flush the main as mentioned.

            2-install water filters at the point of use for the real critical lab work.

            rick.
            phoebe it is

            Comment


            • #7
              rick,
              Thanks for the info. I thought it may involve something like this but wasn't sure. now the only problem is getting the approval to do it. Thanks again.
              If it weren't for your plumber, you wouldn't have any place to go!

              Comment


              • #8
                Rick,

                Why would you want to epoxy line a copper system? I believe the problem started with a rusted out HE. I think the real issue is going to be locating the area where the rust has settled and trying to do some localized flushing. Another area to check is to see if maybe the water main is an old system which maybe contributing to the rust in the copper building.

                Mark
                "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                Comment


                • #9
                  ToUtahNow,
                  rick was talking about the tank lining being epoxy. Also, it is not the main. It's only 10 years old and the problem is only in the hot side.
                  If it weren't for your plumber, you wouldn't have any place to go!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mastadon
                    ToUtahNow,
                    rick was talking about the tank lining being epoxy.
                    Are you sure?

                    "if you really want to clean the pipes 1 time. there are companies that do epoxie lining of the water piping. they run abrasive throught the line to clean and then epoxie line the pipe. the problem is that the dirt will eventually settle back in the large mains."
                    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Agreed that high volume flushing is the best way to clear the system.

                      How often to you have to shut the system down?
                      Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        marc, what i was really getting at was the fact that you can clean the pipe with the same system they use to epoxie line.(abarsive with air) then stated that the problem will come back. therefore a waste of time and money.
                        i am not a real fan of the epoxie lining of small bore water piping.

                        rick.
                        phoebe it is

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It is described that "every time we shut down the system". Look, any large water system has sediment, and is deteriorating. What you need are stratigically placed isolation valves so you are not shutting down the entire building to replace an angle stop.
                          the dog

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            dog,
                            i do have isolation valves. i do not shut the entire building down to change an angle stop. I shut it down when i need to work on a water heater or something on that scale. i'm not a 1st year apprentice. i do know a thing or two.
                            If it weren't for your plumber, you wouldn't have any place to go!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mastadon
                              dog,
                              i do have isolation valves. i do not shut the entire building down to change an angle stop. I shut it down when i need to work on a water heater or something on that scale. i'm not a 1st year apprentice. i do know a thing or two.
                              I don't understand why you are getting so defensive. I was basing my post on your quote: "It is fine until I shut the water down..."

                              After looking at your profile, I assume you are the plumber at a university. I am not blaming you for old pipes, just suggesting that valves be installed to isolate zones. This will ..........why do I bother.

                              Fix the problem yourself then.
                              the dog

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