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Re: E-M:/ Reports of a "black substance" in drinking water from Mertro Detroit communities

Enviro-Mich message from William Tobler <williamtobler@critterswoods.org>

Those of us who live in SE Washtenaw and Monroe County with well 
water frequently have to deal with black substances in the water.
There are at least two sources that I know of. First, we live in 
an area shared by stone quarries that extract and waste huge amounts 
of aquifer water. Further, they blast on a semi-weekly basis. Both 
create "disturbances" in the aquifer which causes black goop to be 
in the water.  Some call it "black sulfur", but I also have seen 
signs of hydrocarbon films in the water as well.

The second source of black substances is from the hydrogen sulfide 
in the the water. As the water table has fallen dramtically in the 
past seven years (50 ft), the concentration of hydrogen sulfide has 
apparently risen. My nose and eyes tell me that it has. The hydrogen 
sulfide reacts with the insides of copper pipes and creates a black 
substance that does not adhere well to the pipe. It comes off with 
an appearance and texture of a black grease. Any kind of disturbance 
to the pipe, inside or out, will scour it off, leading to plugging 
of sink strainers.  A copper pipe that is alternately exposed to 
water with dissolved hydrogen sulfide and with air can be expected 
to pinhole within a year or two from this chemical reaction.

Third, there is a "sulfur eating bacteria" which inhabits the toilet 
tank, and it creates masses of a very unpleasant looking, gelatinous 
slime. Also, the water reacts with and stains the porcelain of sinks 
and toilets, forming a brownish coating that is not easily removed 
with ordinary household cleansers.

I presume you are talking about municipal water, where these sulfur 
related issues might not be realistic.

In previous years, I remember Monroe County municipal water has had 
problems with zebra mussels and control, and there were disruptions 
in water quality at this time of year.  Also, a couple of years ago,
YCUA (Ypsilanti) customers complained that the water suddenly tasted 
like "dead raccoon", and YCUA assured its customers that they were 
sure that Detroit Water was doing whatever tests were appropriate.


At Friday, 21 September 2001, "Brad Wilson" <metrodetroit@cleanwater.
org> wrote:

>Enviro-Mich message from "Brad Wilson" <metrodetroit@cleanwater.org>
>Clean Water Fund has received a number of reports from Metro Detroit
>(Warren, Shelby Twp., and Troy) residents who are complaining of 
a "black
>substance" in their drinking water.  These reports were received 
in late
>August and early September.  This "black substance" manifests itself
>in the faucets, toilets and shower.  The reason I am using quotes 
around the
>word black substance is because we have not yet been able to determine 
>the material is as of yet.  We currently have 2 samples that we 
would like
>to test.  We also have a need to test more samples from six different
>Clean Water Fund has asked the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department,
>the water supplier of this drinking water, to test the samples,
>astonishingly they are
>unwilling to help.
>Neither CWF, nor the residents have the resources to spend to test the
>samples from these sources.  We are currently looking for no cost/low 
>water testing facilities for this "black substance."
>Has anyone else heard reports of people with a "black substance" 
in their
>drinking water or know of a facility that may be able to help in this
>Thanks in advance for your help in this matter.
>Brad Wilson
>Macomb County Community Organizer
>Clean Water Fund
>38875 Harper
>Clinton Township, MI 48036
>(Voice) (810) 783-8900
>(Fax)    (810) 783-4033
>Email: metrodetroit@cleanwater.org
>ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
>and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives 
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