Black water problem

We are having a black water problem in our city, you may have seen it on the news.
It is about 2 miles from me so I have not seen it myself. I am surprised that they seem to be treating it as a mystery.

Just as a try to figure it out thread what do you guys think could cause black water intermittently to occur. My first thought is that they have pipe sections that may be capped off and building up baceria and sledge and then if the water pressure experiences a drop in pressure it may flow slightly backward pushing the contaminated water back into the system. I can't think of anything else.

I would seem pinpointing affected houses could easily lead them to the exact pipe involved. Any other opinions??

Possibly it could just boil down to drops in water pressure and there may be multiple short pipes that are getting back flushed. I know water doesn’t compress so maybe it is not even possible that the water is reversing flow.

Maybe the Doobie Brothers did a local concert?

(You knew somebody was gonna say that, right?)

Well thats about as good as the local experts seem to have come up with so far.

My gut feeling is that they know exactly waht the problem is but for some reason are not being transparent. They are trying to stall while they can come up with a more economical solution.

Can you link to some more details? I don’t see anything with a quick web search (assuming you’re talking about Torrance). There are lot of things that can cause black discoloration in water - bacteria, manganese, hydrogen sulfide, etc.

Don’t make no difference to me.

The city is Gardena California. I live very close to the border between the two cities.
It has been all over the news the past few days.

Perhaps your local news. It isn’t national news at this time. You’ll get more informed opinions if can point non-local people toward some details.

I googled black water Gardena Ca. and tons of stuff came up. None that could see give much detail beyond reporting black water comming out of the faucets. I expect over the next few days more will come out.

I ince worked in a building that had a similar problem. At least twice in the 18 ,omths that I was there, they closed off the drinking fountains and put cases of bottled water there, because the health department tests had shown the water too contaminated to drink.

I was working on a hidden floor within a 100+ year old department store building. During it’s lifetime, the store had been remodeled many. many times, and there were strange little nooks & crannies all over the place. Corridors that went a ways then ended at a blank wall, and so forth. And the walls were filled with plumbing that had been rerouted, or pipes disconnected & capped off, etc. Strange connections, like the shutoff valve for this floor also shuts off the water to some of the restrooms 2 floors below and on the other side of the building (but not the next floor down). And there were some areas where nobody knew where the shutoff valve was anymore.

Water would just sit in these dead-end, capped off pipes, and then when the plumbers were doing work they often had to shut off water to major portions of the building. That would allow the stagnant water from those pipes to drain back into the active sections of the plumbing, and when it was turned back on, could contaminate the water supply (which was perfectly OK when it entered the building).

They were trying to fix those, but really could only do so when they did a major rebuild of a floor in the building. And given the economics of big department stores in recent years, they weren’t putting much money into major remodels. So we occasionally had bottled water instead of drinking fountains.

I thought you were going to talk about being invaded by a group of mercenaries.

“Yeah…I really don’t have any idea about how to help. Sorry.”


Once upon a time, early in my USAF career, I worked at Air Force Global Weather Central, the USAF’s main weather forecasting agency.

They used to receive weather satellite images and laser print them on to black-and-white film, then automatically process the film to be projected for forecasters to look at (or scanned by the primitive computers of the day, 35 years ago).

The automatic film processor had the usual array of nasty chemicals–developer, fixer, etc. And it had connections to the water plumbing. Permanent below-fluid-level connections. With back-check valves.

One fine day, the organization did some work on the plumbing, and by draining the cold water system they inadvertently siphoned fixer from the film system (because back-check valves can, and did, fail).

Just after the water came back on, I went to a water fountain to get a drink. I didn’t drink, though, because the water was visibly pale brown and smelled… well, smelled like photo fixer.

I don’t think I’d ever seen a duty officer run so fast as when I told him about the problem, and he hustled off to get the water shut off until the pipes could be flushed (and the photo processor fixed).

Anyway, back to the main story: I noticed yesterday afternoon that had picked up on the story out of Gardena. I hope they get the situation resolved soon.

Watch out for pirates, and never listen to the Monkeybird…

I would advise making sure the lids of your toilets are down when you’re not using it.

If the city jets the pipes anytime soon to clear up this situation, you may come home to a soaked bathroom. I couldn’t figure it out when it happened to me, called the plumber (plus a friend in the construction business) both told me the city was jetting the toilets.

Yeah, I’d never heard of it either.

Fortunately, if you’re sitting on the can, meditating about the universe, the jetting gives you enough time to leap off and get away from it. There’s a loud gurgle swoosh from the toilet before geyser begins.

Move quick.