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pende_tim
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Andover, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
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Well Water Black Metal Question

I just got back from a friends house where I went to look at "metal" in their well water.

They have a well that is about 130' deep, with a submersible pump. The well is about 20 years old and is the original pump. There is casing from the ground to I assume 30-50' below grade. The well is drilled in shale as far as Rich could recall.

What I saw was really amazing. There was a lot, of black metallic magnetic particles in most of the sinks and blocking the aerators. The size was like fine sand but 100% stuck to a magnet so it was not sand.

My first thought was the pump was failing but when it ran there was no noise I could hear coming from the black plastic pipe that outside to the well casing like a rotor rubbing or a bearing failing. From the quantity of material I saw just today, the pump would be long gone if it were from that.

The pump is 220 Volts and pulled 6.3A while running and I saw no spikes in the current indicating something seizing.

Another strange thing: the black metallic particles laying in the sinks do not rust even after 4-5 days and are not shiny when first seen in a catch cup.

I do not know if the pump is hanging on plastic or galvanized pipe.

Any Ideas what the source may be? Anyone ever seen something like this?
--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.


StillLearn
Premium
join:2002-03-21
Streamwood, IL

1 edit
Sulfur that comes from wells is black. It is produced from sulfur compounds in the water by bacteria. There should also be an associated smell if the problem is sulfur.

The metallic anode in the hot water heater can increase the production of the black sulfur. A powered anode can be used to protect the tank without contributing to the sulfur. Something like this can do wonders: »www.discountwatersofteners.com/t ··· oot.html

Maybe there is a mix of sulfur and iron that is black yet magnetic.

Zach1
Premium
join:2006-11-26
NW Minnesota
reply to pende_tim
Sounds a bit like manganese. Usually it's in solution and leaves behind black staining on fixtures but a little searching reveals it can exist in particulate form and is paramagnetic. I would have the water tested.
--
Zach


pende_tim
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Andover, NJ
kudos:1
reply to StillLearn
This is in the cold water, so I doubt it would be from the hot water heater.

Also no sulfurous smell in hot or cold.
--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.


Thane_Bitter
Inquire within
Premium
join:2005-01-20
reply to pende_tim
Could be Magnetite: »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetite

Its common stuff, walk along any beach around the great lakes and you will find bands of it (as black sand streaks).

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
Interestingly Magnetite is called Black Rust. Found this which I thought interesting from a reputable source

"Q. What is magnetite?

A. Magnetite is fully oxidized iron ore (FE3O4). It is completely inert; it cannot rust; it doesnt degrade with time or usage; it has no effect on biological floc; and it is not magnetic itself; i.e., it doesnt stick to metal. If you have ever played with an Etch-a-Sketch, the material inside the toy is magnetite."

»www.water.siemens.com/en/product ··· aqs.aspx


pende_tim
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Andover, NJ
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Reviews:
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reply to pende_tim
Very interesting. I never knew about these things possibly being in water.

It is making sense now that it could be something from the ground water as friend did mention that his neighbor has same problem and put a whole house filter in to solve the problem.

We initially discounted this as my friends well is 130' and his neighbor's is 600' so would think that it would be in a different pool of water. But I guess they could be in the same aquifer.
--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.


StillLearn
Premium
join:2002-03-21
Streamwood, IL
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

If you have ever played with an Etch-a-Sketch, the material inside the toy is magnetite."

»www.water.siemens.com/en/product ··· aqs.aspx

Siemens is wrong. The material that sticks to the screen of any Etch-a-Sketch that I have touched is aluminum powder.

Stumbles

join:2002-12-17
Port Saint Lucie, FL
Reviews:
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reply to StillLearn
From your description I tend to agree with others here it is magnetite. Certainly not any form of sulfur.

When I used to help a brother-in-law (owns his own residential well business) some installations had a lot of fine sand in their water. He would use a centrifugal well filter something like this;

»www.cleanwaterstore.com/centrifu ··· ors.html

I'm guessing it would work in your situation depending on the granular sizes.

scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
I have one of them, but it didn't really work on my fine silt - I ended up having to filter anyway.


pende_tim
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Andover, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to Zach1
said by Zach1:

Sounds a bit like manganese. Usually it's in solution and leaves behind black staining on fixtures but a little searching reveals it can exist in particulate form and is paramagnetic. I would have the water tested.

I will ask them to have the water tested. There does not seem to be any black stains on the fixtures, tub or sinks.
--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
If this has just recently started, then I will make a guess that it is as a result of drought and lower than usual water level in the well. It's starting to draw from the lower part of the well which may have never been used before. Experience here, my well has gone dry the last three summers and many neighbors have either gone dry or gotten really low. When they get lower than they have historically they start pumping stuff up that they normally don't. Just googled and it looks like there has been drought in your area recently and probably still is.


Pher9999

join:2011-07-06
Carmel, NY
reply to pende_tim
Do they not have a whole house filter where the pipe comes in? It should be catching all that. We use a basic paper filter.


pende_tim
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Andover, NJ
kudos:1
No filter, but I see installing one for them in my future. LOL.

linus5171

join:2004-02-10
reply to pende_tim
I have that in my well also, it's magnesium and gets in the aerators. If that's what it is then it's nothing to worry about, we've been drinking it for 30 years. We have to clean out the faucets several times a year.

robbin
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join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
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I don't believe that magnesium is attracted to magnets.


pende_tim
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Andover, NJ
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reply to linus5171
I did not know magnesium was magnetic and could be picked up with a magnet. One of the prior posters said it could be manganese as that could be magnetic.

Yes this stuff is blocking the aerators like yours. Can it be picked up with a magnet?
--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

robbin
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join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
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I think your terminology is a little off. If an object is magnetic, then it attracts ferrous and some other metals. In other words, if it is magnetic then it is a magnet.


pende_tim
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Andover, NJ
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Actually can attract and be attreacted.....

mag·net·ic  (mg-ntk)
adj.
1.
a. Of or relating to magnetism or magnets.
b. Having the properties of a magnet.
c. Capable of being magnetized or attracted by a magnet.
d. Operating by means of magnetism: a magnetic recorder.
2. Relating to the magnetic poles of the earth: a magnetic compass bearing.
3. Having an unusual power or ability to attract: a magnetic personality.
mag·neti·cal·ly adv.
--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
reply to StillLearn
said by StillLearn:

said by robbin:

If you have ever played with an Etch-a-Sketch, the material inside the toy is magnetite."

»www.water.siemens.com/en/product ··· aqs.aspx

Siemens is wrong. The material that sticks to the screen of any Etch-a-Sketch that I have touched is aluminum powder.

Yes, they are wrong.

»www.popsci.com/diy/article/2004- ··· ach-sand
quote:
aluminum powder, which I buy commercially.
(Incidentally, it's also the stuff that creates the image inside
an Etch A Sketch.)
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?

robbin
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join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
Yeah -- I've looked that up also. Strange thing is I remember playing with my etch a sketch with a magnet when I was little. This would have been one of the original ones in the early sixties. I remember it acting as though it was extremely attracted by magnetism. I remember the particles lining up and even being attracted to each other to form "wiskers" around the magnet. Hmmm


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by robbin:

Yeah -- I've looked that up also. Strange thing is I remember playing with my etch a sketch with a magnet when I was little. This would have been one of the original ones in the early sixties. I remember it acting as though it was extremely attracted by magnetism. I remember the particles lining up and even being attracted to each other to form "wiskers" around the magnet. Hmmm

I think where they said etch-a-sketch, they might have really meant magna-doodle.

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etchasketc ··· hasketch has aluminum powder that is scraped from the backside of a glass "screen" by an internal stylus moved via two knobs.

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magna_Dood ··· a_Doodle has "dark magnetic particles" (maybe magnetite?) which are pulled to the face of a translucent white honeycomb cellular screen by a magnetized stylus.

robbin
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join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
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Possible, but I didn't have a magna-doodle. I vividly remember my etch-a-sketch reacting strongly to a magnet. I wonder if it's still in mom's attic somewhere.


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
That's odd, not sure why an etch-a-sketch would have magnetite in it. Mine is long gone, so I can't check it out.

robbin
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join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
They probably never did. I should have trimmed that part out of my original quote. My purpose of the quote was twofold. One being that magnetite doesn't rust and two being that it is attracted to magnets. The etch-a-sketch part just triggered something in my memory from about 50 years ago that I haven't thought of in a long time. Now it makes me wonder if I am remembering correctly and if so why the etch-a-sketch would respond to a magnet. Totally off topic for this thread anyways.


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

Yeah -- I've looked that up also. Strange thing is I remember playing with my etch a sketch with a magnet when I was little. This would have been one of the original ones in the early sixties. I remember it acting as though it was extremely attracted by magnetism. I remember the particles lining up and even being attracted to each other to form "wiskers" around the magnet. Hmmm

This is a good source.

»www.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/busin ··· tml?_r=0
quote:
The complete eradicability of an Etch A Sketch drawing is born of the toy’s simple, abiding technology.

The underside of the screen is coated with a fine aluminum powder.
The knobs control a stylus hidden beneath the screen; turning them draws the stylus through the powder, scraping it off in vertical or horizontal lines that appear on the screen as if by magic. (An early French name for the toy was L’Écran Magique, “Magic Screen.”)

To erase the image, the user shakes the toy, recoating the screen with aluminum; tiny plastic beads mixed with the powder keep it from clumping.
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
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Aluminum, like any non-magnetic conductor, becomes temporarily magnetized in the presence of a changing or moving magnetic field, due to currents being induced within it. Maybe moving a magnet over the powder would temporarily magnetize them causing them to line up with one another.

Or maybe Robbin's memory is actually of something like »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wooly_will ··· ly_willy ?

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
Wooly Willie -- Hmmm. Maybe my memory is confused. If so, not too much as Wooly Willy had a magnetite beard so that kind of keeps this on topic.

"Wooly Willy went on to become one of the 40 most popular toys produced during the 1950 to 1980 period. It was frequently copied around the world. One set made in Japan even had "Made in Smethport, Japan." Fortunately the copiers were never willing or able to make the engineering effort to duplicate Willy's quality featurers----special magnetite powder, a sturdy anti-static plastic dome, thick display card and a strong drawing magnet."

»www.smethporthistory.org/smethpo ··· page.htm

The site is an interesting read. I recognize another one of my early toys which was on it - "The Electric Toy Set". I remember the fish.


SparkChaser
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Downingtown, PA
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Reviews:
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reply to Raphion
said by Raphion:

Aluminum, like any non-magnetic conductor, becomes temporarily magnetized in the presence of a changing or moving magnetic field, due to currents being induced within it. Maybe moving a magnet over the powder would temporarily magnetize them causing them to line up with one another.

You need a strong magnetic field and continuous aluminum to get an electromagnetic effect. Won't work with powder.

If the well wasn't so deep I wonder about contamination. Magnetite is used in toners (Xerox) , inks US currency, etc.

Interesting problem.
--
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley

"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." Jonathan Swift


pende_tim
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Andover, NJ
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I don't really think it is from any surface contamination, like toner etc. Since the well is pretty deep and there is a casing down about 50' it is "stuff" from the earth.

The pieces are actually quite large, relative to toner and ink. They are slightly smaller than the size of pepper mill ground pepper.
--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.