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60 years of hydrogen sulfide corrosion

Lard Member Posts: 115

Had to do an emergency repair at my parents’ 1961 house yesterday.  They are on a shallow well with a decent amount of hydrogen sulfide.  I have been in this crawlspace helping dad chase rotten copper since I was 8 years old (now 36). It is one of those where your chest hits the joists when taking a deep breath...  He is too worn out to crawl in there anymore, so it was all me. Used sweat-on PEX adapters and grafted a new reducing tee in with pex running 10’ or so out to better copper. Just another whack-a-mole.

Pump stays running, you know there is a problem.  One advantage of a jet pump over a submersible.

All needs replaced with PEX, but money is a problem for them unfortunately. The copper is at most .01” thick with a .1” thick layer of black corrosion internally. 


  • Lard
    Lard Member Posts: 115
    For anyone concerned about electrical bonding and a PEX graft, there is no current in the pipes and nothing clamped to ‘em.  I checked that 20 years ago or so.

    It just needs redone.  Badly.  At least they have water again until the next piece of foil pipe pops an aneurism. 
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,447
    That's an ugly one! Does the water have a stung sulfur smell? It is too bad the water was not properly treated years ago.
    As for your electrical question, you want to be sure your electrical system has two good grounds. You should have a ground rod near the service. Is the pipe to the well metal? If so, that should be sufficient as the second ground.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Lard
    Lard Member Posts: 115
    Well pipe is black PE, always has been.  Piping system is not a suitable ground.  Has two ground rods to panel.

    Smells of sulfur.  Definitely hydrogen sulfide, both hot and cold.  They cannot afford treatment (though simple aeration is very effective), so inert pipe is the final solution.  Does not help the slow corrosion death of electronics though...
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 783
    Would it be worth the time and your collective sanity to have an insulated pump house?
    You could move the jet pump there and hook up a timer and a float switch and install a potassium permanganate injection feeder and also have a small flooded suction pump and pressure tank to pump water into the home through the insulated oxygen barrier pex.

    I realize you would need to trench from the home to the insulated shed to do this to protect the water lines but a run of the $15.00 insulated PEX would be perfect for this where you could have a new pex manifold from the $15.00+ insulated oxygen barrrier pex to the appliances and possibly have an insulated sill cock to use outside as well.

    The other pex all pex pipe in the insulated tube that has closed cell foam could be used for the direct burial grade 110 and 220 volt power cables for the jet pump, timer, float switch, injection pump and the combined flooded suction centrifugal pump with the pressure tank.

  • Lard
    Lard Member Posts: 115
    There is room in the insulated/heated attached garage for a permanganate injector system (or peroxide, used by most around here).  I put a fleck demand-based softener in for them there years ago and that is also where the electric water heater is located. Gould J5S Pump and 2x bladder tanks are inside in a closet, ran 50’ 1” feed and softened return back to closet from garage.  I have looked at treatment options and they all fit next to the softener.

    Money is their problem.  They can barely keep salt in the softener let alone buying/maintaining a kmno4/peroxide system.

    All in all, I am trying to get them to move to a different/smaller house that fits their needs better.  Us kids are all moved out or have passed away, so it is only mom and dad there now—soon to retire.