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All of the copper water pipe is black and some of the wiring in the newer elec panels is also discoloring. This basement is empty and clean but has sewer problems and smelled heavily of sewage. Will methane discolor copper? I have read there is also hydrogen sulfide in sewage.

This should probably be in the plumbing section.

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Mike,

that looks like typical sewage discoloration. we see it many times per year on flooded basements that have septic systems. it seems the leach field contributes to surface drainage and with no sump pump the basement floods with contaminated water. we have also seen it on house with public sewer, but usually when the sanitary and storm are not separate.

I have seen "Oxyclean" used to clean copper pipe.

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  • 1 month later...

Copper plumbing installed over five years ago. Remained nice and shinny in basement. This summer I noticed all the piping had turned black.

After digging thru web and considering the several suggestions, I decided that sulfur in the air was the most likely cause. But where had it come from? Why now?

Then I realized I'd put several vehicle batteries in the basement on trickle chargers because I'd lost two the previous winter due to extremely low temps. With no one going into the basement for four month and no HVAC outlets the air wasn't disturbed.

Even "maintenance free" batteries out gas. "People sometime complain of a bad, ?rotten egg? smell or tingling of the nose after a thermal event. That is most likely caused by hydrogen sulfide (H2S ) gas. Darkening of copper battery terminals is also an indication of H2S." edited

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