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1

Monday, April 17th 2017, 6:42pm

Sprinkler system causes brown water in house

So I just turned on the sprinklers. The sprinkler line tees off the water main in my basement then goes thru a check valve then goes into valve box. I tested all five zones, turned off, then turned on kitchen sink. The water comes out brown about 30 seconds later. Thought it was a coincidence so turned on a random zone, turned off, and then turned on kitchen sink. Same thing, 30 seconds then brown water. I tried other zones, same thing. So I decided to run one for the zones for a little longer and then have the kitchen sink run at the same time. Brown water came out of kitchen as well, then clear, then brown again. What could the problem be? Should I just continue to run the sprinklers longer? Could the check valve be broken and dirty sprinkler water is back flowing and getting into my main house line? Is my water main about to explode? Is the curb meter pit backflow device failing?

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 2,296

Location: USA

2

Tuesday, April 18th 2017, 2:06am

Are the pipes in your house galvanized steel? If so it might be time to replace them. Sounds like rust.
Or maybe the hot water heater is rusting inside. Does it happen on both hot and cold?

3

Tuesday, April 18th 2017, 1:05pm

Just in cold. But why only during and after sprinkler usage?

BackflowInspector

Supreme Member

Posts: 482

Location: Houston, Texas

4

Tuesday, April 18th 2017, 8:43pm

I would start at the supply and make sure you have an operating Backflow Prevention Assembly. A check valve is not adequate backflow protection. You probably should not be drinking, cooking, or using the ice maker in the freezer with your water for a while until you get this situation resolved.
Even if you have the appropriate backflow preventer you will want to get it inspected to insure that it is operating correctly according to manufacture specs.

Local codes will dictate what the required method of protection would be. Usually on of three methods,

Pressure Vacuum Breaker where able to install 12" above all piping and heads.
RP where high hazard exists and able to install 12" above grade.
DCV low hazard but protects against back pressure or back siphonage.

Good Luck
:thumbup: :thumbsup:
LI0006121, BPAT0011021, CI0009500

5

Wednesday, April 19th 2017, 5:38am

Ok so you do believe the check valve may be malfunctioning? I have stopped using the sprinklers until the situation gets checked out just so I can use the house water again. I have a backflow device in the pit by the meter. Doesn't this prevent any sort of backflow activity inside all my water lines already?

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 2,296

Location: USA

6

Wednesday, April 19th 2017, 10:47am

I highly doubt the dirty water's coming out of the sprinkler system.
You never answered if you have galvanized pipes or not.

7

Wednesday, April 19th 2017, 7:40pm

I highly doubt the dirty water's coming out of the sprinkler system.
You never answered if you have galvanized pipes or not.


I am not very handy but how would I check for galvanized pipes? Would I check the main coming into the house from the basement floor?

Also if my pipes are galvanized why would the brown water only appear after/during sprinkler usage. It cannot be such a coincidence.

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 2,296

Location: USA

8

Wednesday, April 19th 2017, 8:47pm

I'm afraid I'm just a sprinkler guy. I'm not an indoor plumbing expert. Maybe inquire on a plumbing site if you don't find the answer here.

If you figure it out, let us know what it was.

Good luck!

BackflowInspector

Supreme Member

Posts: 482

Location: Houston, Texas

9

Thursday, April 20th 2017, 9:02am

Please share any updates with the forum when you get your situation resolved.

Best of luck!

You have a good starting point.

:thumbup:
:thumbup: :thumbsup:
LI0006121, BPAT0011021, CI0009500

jh17

Unregistered

10

Thursday, June 8th 2017, 12:30pm

ZiggyZiggy-
Just wondering if you have figured out your brown water problem yet, as I am having the exact same issue myself. If I run my sprinkler system, the cold water taps in my house run brown for a bit before they run clear. Last week I accidentally left the hose connected to the outside spigot on the house running slowly for several hours overnight, oops :( and when I turned on the water in the house in the morning it was brown again. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with my sprinkler connections too, and not the city water.

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