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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since we bought a house in 2009 (then 5 years old), I have noticed a slow accumulation of (what i'm assuming is) oil sitting in the grass and on the stepping stones on the outside of our house, where there is a small pipe that constantly drips water. On the other side of this wall is our garage and water heater. The area that is oily never dries and now encompasses a 5x3 ft area. The stepping stones in that area always have a thick black rainbow sheen to them. We are stumped. Any ideas about what is causing this?
 

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It sounds to me like stagnant water and whatever comes with that, is there anny way to change the grade of the ground or re-route the pvc pipe to an area that does drain properly.
 

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A small pipe that constantly, or intermittently drips water leads me to ask this: IF you have an A/C system is this a split system? Is one part of the unit within the house, either in a closet or maybe in the attic? IF so, then this would be your condensate drain from the A/C unit and if it is dripping almost constantly, this is good, all is normal. As far as the "oily" appearance this would also be sort of normal for water that accumulates on the ground and just stands there. All soils contain a certain amount of chemicals which will leach out if there is standing water for some period of time. IF this is the A/C condensate drain then you do need to develop some type of drain pit (a simple hole filled with stones) or re-grade this area so the water does not just stand there but drains off to soak in and/or evaporate.
 

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You might try to sop up as much of the oily surface as you can in order to see if more oil arrives. It is possible that some loose oil ended up in the air conditioner condensate tray during manufacture although most of it if any should be out by now.

If water continually accumulates against the foundation you could have water in the basement problems soon. A gravel pit next to the foundation hides the water but does not solve the problem.
 

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Is it oily or just wet, big difference??? I can't think of anything coming from inside the house that would be oily. For just wet, the above suggestions. Does the water heater T&P discharge run through the wall to that spot??T&P should not leak or drip, but they often do and should be replaced if they leak and the heater is not too old(<10). The other suggestions of an A/C or condensate pump discharge are also possibilities
 

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The only thing oily I can think of is a submersible pump. If they over heat then they can leak oil out. It probably looks oily from being wet but it is possible that it is the discharge for some sort of sump pump. If it is the water heater it should not be letting water out of the T&P valve and if so the valve should be checked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok, we figured out that the "oily" substance is not coming from the drip itself. It appears as if the water dripping in the area has caused something in the ground to rise to the surface, as one poster suggested. We attached an extension to the pipe and ran it to a different area, and the spot dried within 2 days.
 
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