Q: My kitchen sink mixer was recently replaced by a plumber and he flushed the pipes for more than half an hour, emptying my geyser in the process. Since then I’ve discovered hundreds of black dirt particles in my bath water, and also when I poured a glass of water in the kitchen. When you keep the tap open for 5 or 10 seconds, it seems to clear up, but I have to do this EVERY time. I have kids who could drink this so I'm concerned. Do I get the plumber back but how to trace the problem?
A: It's not unusual to find particles in your tap water after a plumber's been working on the system. These could come from the black rubber fixtures in the system, like some geyser connections, washers etc. Or, they could be from rusting metal from inside the pipes. Either way, they are not a serious health hazard but you don't want to have to put up with them in the long term. (Too much iron from rusting pipes is especially not great for kids longterm.) You should soon stop seeing them in your water; if not, you'll have to get the pipes checked. Meanwhile, give your plumber a call and ask him what he thinks the cause might be.
Remember that for drinking and cooking, it's always better to use the cold tap.
- Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth Editor, Health24, June 2012