Advice on my dirty apartment water of DOOM (longish)

Not too long after moving in, my roommate and I noticed that the dishwasher was leaving a gritty residue on some of our dishes sometimes- most usually the offending dishes were the glasses on the top rack. As we noticed the problem growing increasingly common, we contacted management to send someone out. Being prompt little squirrels, they sent someone out pretty quickly, he looked at everything, said to me that our washer was old and rotting the underneath pipes, and that we needed to get the whole shebang replaced.

Cut to a week and a half later and two service techs are in our kitchen installing a new dishwasher. I paid moderate attention and took note of the fact that no pipes were replaced, but the washer indeed was.

Cut to our first load of dishes. Upon removal, what did we find? EVEN MORE CRAP THAN BEFORE. This crap is like sand grain sized, gritty like sand, round like sand, and ranging in color from white to bright red to dark brown. Again, it is only the top rack of glasses that is literally smattered with this stuff. If we run the dishes through once but let them dry before we get to them, it’s literally impossible to get the crap off. So, we have to make sure that we grab the dishes while they are still damp, so we can hand wash them to get the crap off.

So a week or so ago I called and reported the problem. The tech took longer than usual to get out here, but he did last Saturday. It was the same guy as the first time. He told me that installer guys installed the washer wrong and that was probably our problem. He also said the pipes were still in need of replacement.

So cut to today: the same installer guys came back- bumbling around louder than before. They spent forever hollering at one another while looking at my dishwasher. Finally, they called me in and said, “Well, there’s nothing wrong.” My reply? “o.O”

He says nothing was connected wrong and no pipes are in need of replacement, so nothing is wrong. I explain that there is something wrong- because tons of crap (increasing every time we wash it) is regularly deposited on our dishes. So one of the installers grabs a pan that my roommate had stuck in the dishwasher- a baking pan that had a little tiny bit of residue on it from whatever was in it and- and says (slowly, mind you- I suppose I couldn’t understand the complicated world of dish washing): “Stuff like this needs to be washed in the SINK. Otherwise, all the stuff from it gets all over every other dish.” I grit my teeth in a patient, forced smile and say, “Well, I think you’re missing the point entirely. I didn’t actually put that dish in there, for one. So, I’m fully aware that such things need to be washed by hand. That said, I’ve never seen a brand new dishwasher that would destroy clean dishes because there is one dirty dish in there. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having a dish washer?”

He looks at me like I’m stupid and goes back to explaining how to wash a pan by hand. He even gets out my sponge and dish liquid to show me. How sweet.

So I ask them what they propose the answer to my problem to me. One pipes up, “Oh, Bakersfield just has dirty water. That’s what that is.” I raise an eyebrow, “Uh, I’ve lived here for almost 21 years and I’ve never in my life seen anything like this. I don’t think I’m crazy in expecting clean water in my home.” The other one pipes up, “Oh, me too! I live in Oildale (the bad part of town) and I’d LOVE clean water.” I nod- again forcibly patient- and say, “Right. Everyone deserves clean water, location shouldn’t be a question. But when I’m paying over $1000 a month in rent, I think it’s fair to expect my apartment complex to come by and fix health code violations, which is what this seems to be, if you two are correct.” They agree, but again tell me the water is just that dirty. In fact, one guy took off the filter head thinggy (technical name) off of the sing, which hand sand in it, and said there ya go. He then told me that he doubts Sacramento is going to come clean my water.

So what the hell do I do? I called management and I explained it to him- he’s going to call all three installers and get their take on it. I really do believe it’s not the water, but the pipes. But ya know, if it is the water, that’s got to be a huge health violation and something I would think the complex would be liable for taking care of. I’ve lived on this side of town my entire life and I’ve never ever seen anything besides slightly cloudy water- no SAND SIZED particles, that’s for sure.

Any advice?

Oh and I meant to add: as they were leaving, the tech said to me, “You should just buy bottled water, since this stuff is undrinkable. It’s easier that way.”

So, uh, should I ask if I can deduct that out of my rent or what? :slight_smile:

I can’t tell if this tangentially off-topic, but do you use that blue finishing rinse in your dishwasher? Ours leaves food gunk on the dishes when it’s run out of the rinsing stuff.

I refill that stuff monthly. In fact, our dish washer isn’t even a month old and the blue stuff that’s in there is the free bottle they gave us on installation.

I would say that you are best to only fight battles where you can slap your opponent silly with facts. I.e. you should look up the actual health code figures for the area. Library perhaps? Or just call up the government.

But don’t leave it to other people to do the research. At least not at the beginning.

I would contact the city government. Isn’t that who you pay taxes to for your water supply? They should have an interest in a potential health problem. It sounds to me like a break in the pipes that is letting sand and dirt into the water. No guarantee that the break is in the city-owned portion of the pipes, but it’s a logical place to start.

State the problem as being ‘there is dirt and stuff in my water’. Leave out the dishwasher problems as that only… wait for it… muddies the waters.