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If you started to notice tiny, black specks in your glass of water recently, it is time to call a plumber. While those bits are likely not hazardous to your health in small quantities, they are not a part of your water and should not be ingested. Here is a guide to what those black spots could be and how to fix it:

Corroded Pipes

Older piping can start to erode after years of use. Irregular and small pieces of corrosion can break off and end up in your glass or pot of pasta. If you notice black specks when you turn on the cold part of your faucet, it is likely coming from your municipality’s pipes. This usually happens after your main water supply has been shut off and is turned back on.

Water Heater

If you see black specks only when you turn on the hot side of the faucet, it is likely coming from your water heater. This can occur if there is corrosion in your water heater or along the lines running from it. You should have your water heater checked, serviced, and flushed if this is the case.

Broken Parts

Small, rubbery black specks could be an indicator of disintegrated pieces of a washer, rubber gasket, or bendable supply hose. After years of use, rubber can breakdown from the use of disinfectants in the municipal water supply.

Minerals

Iron or manganese in your water system can use the formation of black specks in your supply. These are harmless to people and animals, but they can make your water look unappealing and even stain your laundry and dishes. That is why the presence of iron should be limited to 0.3 mg/L, and manganese should be no more than 0.05 mg/L.

Rust

Most rust in water looks orange or brown but, sometimes, it can start to look black. If your water has come in contact with rusted steel from water mains or plumbing pipes, the black pieces will be irregularly shaped and have a hard texture. It is likely from your town or city’s water supply if these particles only appear when the faucet is set to cold. Rusting steel pipes are likely the culprit if it only occurs when the hot water is turned on, and it only affects a few faucets in your home. A professional will be able to determine the exact cause of the issue.

Granular Activated Carbon (GAC)

Some people use GAC filtration cartridges to filter water in their home. GAC particles are extremely hard with a uniform shape that looks almost like coffee grounds. Your water filtration system manual should have directions for fixing this issue, and you will likely need to change the cartridge.

Silt or Sand

If you use a private well, your water may have small black or brown specks, which are likely silt or sand. It is not harmful to drink, but it is certainly unpleasant when you feel a crunch in your mouth. These particles can also damage your well pump and wear out your dishwasher and washing machine. You can try running water for a few days if it is a new well, replacing or repairing the screen, or installing a liner if it is a sandstone well.

If you are unsure of the black specks in your water, call Aslan Plumbing. Our team of trained, licensed, and certified technicians can assess your plumbing issues and quickly find a solution.