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Old 10-04-2015, 04:44 PM   #1
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Please help ID what I found in my filter!


If this is all too long for you to read. Please see the photos at the bottom and tell me what the hell I've found in my whole house filter (on a well). Filter is only 1 month old.

Hi everyone, I'm new here, but have found great advice on many similar forums for lots of other everyday issues (not plumbing), so I'm hoping that you can help me. I've tried to make the post as short as possible while including as much info as possible (since any one piece of it could be important).

Here's a little back story- I have lived in a rented house for about 7 years or so. The house is way out in the country. The house is very old (100+ years), and has a well. The well pump is an above ground, very old looking red pump with pullies and belts and such. I would estimate it being at least 60 or more years old.

The well is of unknown depth to me, I have heard everything from "about 80 feet" to "less than 15 feet" from various people (small town- people talk) as well as my landlord (none of whom probably actually know).

Anyway, the "Pump house" is in the backyard, at a distance of what I would estimate to be about 30' from the septic tank (at least from the "above ground" part that I can see where it get's emptied- which hasn't been done since I've lived here- alone for most of that time). I'm sure this is illegal, or at best stupid, but whatever. I know nothing about the actual septic "field".

It's no slum house, and is actually really beautiful, but To my knowledge, all the work done on this house (and probably the well- since it's drilling) has been done by my landlord in a "harry homeowner" fashion.

Now to my question- Since I moved in, the house has had a "whole house filter" (just the little canister type- about the size of a 2 liter soda bottle). It is placed in line, inside the house, after the bladder tank, but before the HW heater, boiler (baseboard heat), and obviously all my taps.

When I moved in, I changed the filter a couple of times, and then got busy with life. I didn't change the filter for probably 5 or more years. You do not have to tell me how stupid this is (I have since learned about bacteria growth etc.), because when I tried a few times, I couldn't get the canister open, and was afraid I was going to tear it off the wall (either nobody told me about the pressure relief button, or I'd forgotten).

So, after those 5 years, about a month (maybe 6 weeks max) ago, my water started running dry, just stopping when showering etc. and there was smoke coming from the pump house.

The landlord changed the belts on the pump, and asked if I'd changed the filter lately (he then showed me the pressure relief button).

As you can imagine, what was in the filter was disgusting, but it was just sediment, a few pieces of grass, and a little accumulated mud. That's OK, it had been 5 F-ing years! So I changed it, and put a 20 micron filter in (I figured a 1, 3, or 5 would just clog too quickly). Life is good right? sure.

Then, just 2 days ago, I noticed my water was losing a bit of pressure, so even though it had only been a month, I decided I'd change the filter again. What I found disturbed me...

There was sediment and all the normal crap, but also what looked like pieces of feces or some such when I dumped the canister in my laundry tub (I'm not saying it WAS feces). It was gelatinous, and almost looked like pieces of flesh. It had no smell whatsoever to MY nose (the nose of a smoker).

I have no idea what it is, and it isn't making me very comfortable. I've posted some pictures below. I also have a video I could put on YouTube if helpful.

It's really got me worried about what the hell is coming out of my well. I also have a separate, unrelated plumbing question below (after the pics), although it's not as important to me.

A couple of clarifications-

- Although I didn't change the filter for 5 years, the filter in the pictures is NOT the 5 year old filter. The filter in the pictures below is from ONE MONTH of use.

- I do NOT ever drink my water, nor feed it to my cat (I drink bottled water).

- I DO cook, shower/bathe, wash dishes, do laundry, brush my teeth, etc with it.

- I do not have any weird smells or anything coming from the tap, just the standard rust stains that accumulate on the tub, shower, and sinks (cleans with CLR)

And........ The pictures......


Thanks so much for the help guys!!!
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Old 10-04-2015, 04:57 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum Dave.

Pictures didn't post.

Try posting pictures again. I responded to your post. You can also post them to your photo album. Thanks.
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:19 PM   #3
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yep no pictures..but before anyone can comment... you really should have the water tested for it quality...it would only be guessing and that could be scary...
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:07 PM   #5
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Just looks like chunks of rust to me.
A system that old is likely steel pipes for plumbing that should have been replaced long ago.
As mentioned get the water tested to make use there's no E Coli in the water.
No way is soild poop making it's way 30 ft. through soil to the well.
I have a 200 ft. artisian well and still have to change my filter every 6 months.
Septic by local code needs to be pumped and inspected at least every 5 years, if not we can be fined.
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:17 PM   #6
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Looks like rust and chunks of bladder.
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:22 PM   #7
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Bits of rusty iron piping, And without actually touching that other I would guess that maybe you have found

JIMMY HOFFA.

I definitely would be having it analyzed at the county Agriculture Extension Office, just to see what it is.

I hope that it is not organic, if it is you need to get that well cleaned NOW.


ED
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Just looks like chunks of rust to me.
A system that old is likely steel pipes for plumbing that should have been replaced long ago.
As mentioned get the water tested to make use there's no E Coli in the water.
No way is soild poop making it's way 30 ft. through soil to the well.
I have a 200 ft. artisian well and still have to change my filter every 6 months.
Septic by local code needs to be pumped and inspected at least every 5 years, if not we can be fined.
I'm confused. Did you guys look at any of the pictures besides the first one? That stuff looks nothing like rust to me. It's gelatinous. Looks like jello. Not like oxidized metal. I'm not talking about the brown stuff in the bottom of the sink in the first pic or 2.

Maybe I'm just not thinking of the right kind of rust?

It was the consistency of like.... worms.
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeniorSitizen
Looks like rust and chunks of bladder.
That's what I was wondering too. You said the bladder tank was ahead of the filter, so it makes me wonder what's growing in there. Or coming apart.

I'm also curious as to what kind of pump it is.

Yes, absolutely, get that water tested. I'm curious as to what that stuff is...definitely worth finding a local university biology lab or something.

And make sure to keep us updated!
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:39 PM   #10
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Brownish gelatinous stuff - probably chunks breaking off from biofilms

With any water reservoir (lakes, rivers, dams, wells, etc.), you're going to get stuff accumulating on any surface. That stuff consists of layers upon layers of accumulated organic/inorganic matter and microorganisms. Biofilms also form in pipes. Water current may disrupt the biofilm and carry bits of it.

They're not necessarily harmful.

Get your water tested to see if it meets the min requirement for potable water.
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Old 10-05-2015, 07:18 AM   #11
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I would have the water tested and I would not drink or cook with it until I did.

A good filter traps every tiny bit of gunk in the water line. I've seen goop in one from a municipal supply. Not changing it on a regular schedule compounds the problem as the trapped stuff tends to ferment.

An yes I viewed all the pictures.
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Old 10-05-2015, 11:31 AM   #12
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The pump sounds like a piston with a motor and belt drive similar to this one.

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Old 10-05-2015, 11:49 AM   #13
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After you get it tested, please post back what is was.
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Old 10-05-2015, 01:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marqed97 View Post
That's what I was wondering too. You said the bladder tank was ahead of the filter, so it makes me wonder what's growing in there. Or coming apart.

I'm also curious as to what kind of pump it is.

Yes, absolutely, get that water tested. I'm curious as to what that stuff is...definitely worth finding a local university biology lab or something.

And make sure to keep us updated!
I called the local health department today. They stated that they would be glad to test the water for free, but they won't/can't test any things found in the water. Obviously, I'll take them up on their water testing offer, and we'll see what it shows. Whatever it is, will probably show up in the water I suppose.

I'll take a picture of the pump for you. I'm not plumber, but I am a Firefighter, so I find old pumps to be kind of neat. So, to me at least, this pump is something to behold when I realize that it's still pulling my water out of the ground for me.

So, my filter thankfully stopped whatever this is (though it wouldn't stop any of it that's dissolved in the water), but, it seems like there would be some type of safegaurds in place before that. I mean, wouldn't my well point have some sort of damn screen on it? Or, aren't there (or were long ago) strainers or screens in the pipes of some kind? I mean without that filter, that **** would be plopping out in my bathtub?? Thanks again for the reply
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Old 10-05-2015, 01:56 PM   #15
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Another thing that I find interesting is that, in the times that I've changed the filter, I never saw anything besides your standard sediment (that even includes the time I changed it after several years).

The only time I've seen this stuff, just so happens to be at the same time that my landlord changed the belts on the pump, which he only did because my water was running completely out (it would just stop), and when I looked in the back yard, smoke was coming out of the pump house. When I opened the door, I saw that the belts were "bald" and burning up, and it smelled like burning oil and one of the pullys appeared to have shot oil all over the place.

I wonder if when all that happened, something got "sucked dry" (LOL right?) and caused something to dislodge, or break up, or break apart etc etc.
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