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Old 01-05-2009, 10:55 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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What's this black stuff on my faucets?

So, ever since I lived in this house we've had this black slime hanging from our faucets. If I were to guess, I'd say that after cleaning it, it would be about a month and you'd notice the accumulation and after two or three months it would actually accumulate to the point were it would be haning down like a booger. It's also noticible around the edge of the water in the toilet bowl and in various spots in the shower. Also in some areas there is pink staining. My research on the internet says that the black stuff could be iron or maganese bacteria. I shot off a letter to my city's water department...

"I have been living in Cudahy for a few years now and ever since I've lived here, I've noticed something odd about the water. All of my faucets tend to get some sort of a black gunk built up around them. If it's not cleaned often enough it turns into what I can most easily describe as boogers hanging from the aerators. Also, in what I think is related, there is also slight pink staining in tubs and toilets. From the little bit of research, on the Cudahy site as well as the rest of the internet, I'm guessing this is some sort of bacteria due to the iron content in the water. If that's the case, would a whole house filter help this, a softener? Or is it possible the black gunk is something that's originating inside my house in which case a filter wouldn't help? Though I don't notice this in the water that comes out of my fridge which has a charcoal filter.

Can I bring water in to be tested, or can someone come to my house to test it? Or is there a reliable home test kit I can use/buy to see if there is anything in the water that can possbily be filtered/softened? "

Here is the reply I got

"We get a few calls a year about the pink bacteria, here is some information we give to customers about it:
A red or pink pigmented bacteria known as Serratia marcescens is thought to be the cause of the pink “stuff”.
Serratia bacteria are common inhabitants of our environment and can be found in many places, including
human and animal feces, dust, soil, and in surface waters. The bacteria will grow in any moist location where
phosphorous containing materials or fatty substances accumulate. Sources of these substances include soap
residues in bathing areas, feces in toilets, soap and food residues in pet water dishes. Many times, the pinkish
film appears during and after new construction or remodeling activities. Others have indicated the pink “stuff”
occurs during a time of year that their windows are open for the majority of the day.
These airborne bacteria can come from any number of naturally occurring sources, and the condition can be
further aggravated if customers remove the chlorine from their water by way of an activated carbon filter.
Serratia can also grow in tap water in locations such as toilets in guest bathrooms where the water is left
standing long enough for the chlorine residual disinfectant to dissipate. Serratia will not survive in chlorinated drinking water.

The black mold you see is similar, it grows in moist areas that may have soap residue. The soap provides nutrients that the bacteria likes. Softening or whole house filtering will not really help since neither really gets rid of soap residue around faucet’s and sinks, and in some ways it may make it worse since some filters remove chlorine which inhibits the growth. You do not see it as much around your ice maker because of the lack of soap residue. I actually see it around my ice dispenser unless I wash it real good every month or so.

Short answer – filtering or softening provide no easy fix to the problem, the growth is due to a combination of moisture and soap."

That makes sense regarding the pink stuff as I've noticed in other places I've lived, usually around the area where the soaps and shampoos are, but I don't buy his answer about the black stuff as I notice it in places that don't come anywhere near soap (ie faucet aerators). I asked him again about the black stuff and got this answer
"When I have asked chemists at UW[University of Wisconsin either Milwaukee or Madison] that question the only answer they can give me is that there is enough residual soap from the bubbles of dish soap, shampoo and such that settle all over and give the bacteria a place to start, then the warm moist environment around sinks and tubs accelerates the growth. The usual recommendation is to scrub the areas and a regular basis with a light bleach solution."

That still didn't answer my question
My thought was to put in a whole house filter, but his mention of losing the cholrine content makes sense, I think. The other thing I asked him about in another email (that he didn't respond to yet) is that I've never noticed the black stuff in any of the other places I've lived (which is 3 other cities, plus my in laws in the same city don't have it as far as I know).
I'm planning to re-email him later and re-ask him why I've never seen this black stuff in all the other places I've lived. I'm assuming I still won't get a good answer.
Any ideas on what this could be?
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  #2  
Old 01-06-2009, 12:50 AM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
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The black mold is Stachybotrys chartarum. We're constantly fighting against the darn stuff too.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:13 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Based on this line "The mold then begins digesting the surface it is growing on in order to survive. Because it feeds on cellulose based materials, it is a threat to the homeowner due to its infestation of wood, paneling, wallpaper, drywall, and other home building materials." I don't think this is what we have. That line says it needs to be eating something cellulose based to survive. In my house, this stuff is hanging from the faucet aerators and shower heads.

ETA I just looked at some pictures, that mold resembles some that I've seen on our bathroom ceiling as well as some that I used to see around my window treatments in winter (until I started using the bathroom fan while showering). The stuff I have no is entirely different looking. It's more of a slime.

Last edited by Joey P; 01-06-2009 at 08:16 AM..
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:15 PM
Valgard Valgard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Based on this line "The mold then begins digesting the surface it is growing on in order to survive. Because it feeds on cellulose based materials, it is a threat to the homeowner due to its infestation of wood, paneling, wallpaper, drywall, and other home building materials." I don't think this is what we have. That line says it needs to be eating something cellulose based to survive. In my house, this stuff is hanging from the faucet aerators and shower heads.

ETA I just looked at some pictures, that mold resembles some that I've seen on our bathroom ceiling as well as some that I used to see around my window treatments in winter (until I started using the bathroom fan while showering). The stuff I have no is entirely different looking. It's more of a slime.
I get something very similar to this every few months in the overflow drain of my bathroom sink - specifically at the drain holes (where the overflow hole leads down to by the regular stopper). There's a little "lip" there where crud seems to accumulate and it looks (and smells) like Satan's Snot. Vile stuff, and I do periodically squirt some bleach solution down the overflow hole to try and keep stuff from festering in there but I don't know if it's doing much good. Every so often I have to nuke the site from orbit, so to speak - I run a kettle of boiling water down the overflow hole (helps break the stuff up), then glop it out of the little holes with a pipe cleaner or q-tip (it's pretty tenacious crap and not in a location that's easy to get at), and then follow it up with a bucket of hot water & pine-sol. Don't get this in any other drain in my house which is odd.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:35 PM
cuberdon cuberdon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valgard View Post
Every so often I have to nuke the site from orbit, so to speak - I run a kettle of boiling water down the overflow hole (helps break the stuff up), then glop it out of the little holes with a pipe cleaner or q-tip (it's pretty tenacious crap and not in a location that's easy to get at), and then follow it up with a bucket of hot water & pine-sol.
Yeah, when the bathroom sink starts draining more slowly I know I have to get the drain pop up out and clear out the black slime clog. It's worse because I have long hair. I mean, I don't stand over the sink deliberately shedding, but after X months enough seems to get in the sink, then down the drain, to provide a nice tangled framework for the black slime to grow big clumps.

I just cleaned it a few weeks ago, in case you can't tell.
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  #6  
Old 08-18-2011, 11:14 AM
yoder178 yoder178 is offline
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black gunk on faucets

Check out this article: http://www.news-record.com/content/2...oop_s_a_fungus
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  #7  
Old 08-18-2011, 12:35 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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Bleach is your new best friend. Clean the bathroom at least once a week, more often if the crud accumulates. Wear rubber gloves, use a sponge and chlorinated cleaning product. Spray with a bleach solution after rinsing.

Do everything to keep your bathroom DRY after cleaning. Use the exhaust fan, open windows, but a damp bathroom plus soap scum = MOLD.

Mold can grow on the water line in the toilet bowl. Put a glug of bleach in the bowl before you leave for work. You can also get those bleach tablets to put in the tank, but those can be corrosive to the toilet tank guts, meaning you'll have to replace the flapper valve often.

Wash your towels and bath mats frequently. Make sure they are COMPLETELY dry before hanging/placing in the bathroom. Wipe down the floor often, the crud accumulates quickly.


~VOW
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:09 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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As a slight variation on the bleach theme: get a squirt bottle and fill it with a bleach solution. About 6:1 water:bleach worked very well when I squirted it up the faucet and bathtub tap, and on the shower head. I haven't seen the black crud for months now.
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:32 AM
guestchaz guestchaz is offline
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Im gonna chime in here in contradiction to everyone who said to use bleach. If you have mold, bleach is NOT your freind. The bleach you can buy at the store is diluted down to a point that it is over 95% water. What little bleach is in the solution evaporates before it does much more than "flash" the surface growth and leaves a nice bleachy smell and some water to help feed the mold. If it is mold get yourself to Home Depot or Lowes or whatever store and get a dedicated fungicide. When I was working in the disaster clean up industry, stachybotrys was one of the few things we would keep people out of their homes for, until we could get it contained and cleaned up because it can be quite dangerous. Most black mold is most typically aspergillus niger and stachybotrys is typically black and green not just black. I would think that given the dangerous nature of stachybotrys, you would have symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning given the amount of growth you've stated as typical (basically if you feel generally shitty all the time when your in your home, but fine or better outside your home). If thats the case, I would recommend airquality testing and professional mediation.
For the folks who said they sprayed bleach and it killed the mold, all they did was wash it away.

ETA What VOW said about dry is the entire thing right there, you have to control the moisture and keep things DRY (including ambient air moisture)

Last edited by guestchaz; 08-21-2011 at 12:34 AM..
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:46 AM
guestchaz guestchaz is offline
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holy crap, zombie mold
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:52 PM
loudmouthfrog loudmouthfrog is offline
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There is not enough information to answer your question so I'll try to cover all angles. Mold requires a humidity level of 60% or more. To achieve this level simply neglect to use a fan during a shower or be the proud owner of a single pane window sill that accumulates condensation in cold weather months. Poor ventilation such as in a shower stall or lack of air conditioning on a hot muggy day can do it too. Once you have provided the mold with something to drink now it needs a place to live. For those of you who don't know the difference between exterior & interior paint, the difference is vapor permeability. Exterior paint stops vapor and makes a poor garden for mold spores. Home Depot knows this which is why they re-label some of their exterior paint, "Kitchen/Bathroom Paint" Interior paint which is used to paint most bathrooms in suburbia, has the micro consistency of a sponge and mold spores see this as a good place to act like a Chia Pet. There's also tile grout and bathroom fixtures. The micro spaces between dissimilar surfaces and the porous openings of improperly unsealed grout also found in most homes, make great planting areas for your bathroom mold crop. The corrosion around the fixtures is oxidation since now that the mold has a place to live...it can wick moisture into the confined space and corrode metal surfaces. Sort of like if you left a wet penny in a counter top. The top of the penny drys and the bottom turns green from corrosion. If it's not mold or some other micro-organism then it's manganese from a water source that has manganese in it. Hope this helps answer your question.
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