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

Enviro-Mich message from Rane Curl <ranecurl@engin.umich.edu>

Just a little chemistry...

On Fri, 21 Sep 2001, Grant Trigger wrote:

> Without knowing more it is not possible to conclude what this might be
> but consider in some cases a black substance has turned out to be iron
> oxidized when the water came into contact with oxygen -

Iron will rust to a black product in contact with water but in the absence
of oxygen. In the presence of oxygen one gets red "rust". There is a good
chance this is the mysterious black substance. Take some of the substance,
dry it, and try to burn it (heat to red heat). The black oxide of iron
will not burn, but some organic black stuff would.

> silver
> oxidizes into a black form (tarnished silver) but that much silver in
> drinking water would not be a good thing.

Silver oxide is white. The tarnish on silver is silver sulfide.

> Check for metals as a part
> of testing - call the County Health dept for ideas on how to get
> sample tested and call 517-335-9218 (MDEQ drinking water section) I
> think they will test water samples if you send them a sample

This is the best course of action. However the standard water
analyses would not test this black substance. That would have to
be done specifically to determine its composition.

--Rane  L. Curl

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