Why does my water smell like rotten eggs
Why does my water smell like rotten eggs, is not a question most people want to ask. Water coming from your tap for drinking and showering should not “smell funny.” If your water smells like rotten eggs, it’s time to get it tested for hydrogen sulfide.
Treating smelly well water
Hydrogen sulfide gas also occurs from a natural chemical reaction in deep wells. When the odor is the result of a natural chemical reaction in deep wells, and is a constant, strong hydrogen sulfide odor, the above methods are effective. In the aeration/precipitation configuration, the injection of air causes the hydrogen sulfide to precipitate into elemental sulfur.
That settles in the tank or gets caught in a filter. Occasionally, when a hydrogen sulfide odor is extremely strong and the water supply has inadequate oxygen to cause the reaction we need, we will install air injection followed by the Sulfur Guard. This combination eradicates the strongest hydrogen sulfide odor.
Why does my well water smell like rotten eggs?
In New Hampshire, nearly half of residents use well water. The odor challenges we hear about are a rotten egg smell, a chlorine smell or a stinky fish smell. There are a variety of reasons for these smells, but fortunately they usually don’t negatively impact your family’s health. However, they do negatively impact the quality of life for your family. No one wants to drink or bathe in smelly water – except for maybe Sesame’s Street’s Oscar the Grouch.
Pure, clean water is colorless, tasteless and odorless. But there are many ways our water becomes stained, nasty tasting and smelly. Rather than address the problem at the source, some people purchase bottled water. That’s not a great option when it comes to the environment or your finances.
Addressing the rotten egg smell in water
There is a sulfate-reducing bacteria that causes a rise in hydrogen sulfide, which is the cause of the rotten egg smell in your water. In New Hampshire, a non-aerobic organism feeds on the sulfate mineral naturally occurring in the state. The odor is the result of the metabolism of the bacteria. Any method of treatment needs to take the bacteria into account.
Secondwind offers two homeowner-friendly methods of treatment:
Air injection method
We inject air into the water, which makes the environment aerobic and no longer favorable to the bacteria. Critical aspects of this aeration configuration include a reliable method of injecting the air, such as an air pump, which means we do not risk build up of minerals in the piping. Mineral build up happens when a venture valve is used to inject air.
The air needs time to do its work, so we pass the water through a large aeration/precipitation tank. The tank allows any precipitated material to settle to the bottom, where it can be blown down as part of our preventive maintenance routine. In addition, this tank has a reliable vent which allows excess air to off-gas.
The other method uses a catalytic carbon that interacts with oxygen in the water to oxidize the hydrogen sulfide odor. The system combats the build up of biofilms caused by the presence of the sulfate-reducing bacteria through a rinse (as part of the backwash cycle) with a dilute bleach solution.
With this option, you must maintain a small storage tank full of bleach so that the system can automatically backwash itself with the diluted solution. The system we recommend is the Sulfur Guard by Kinetico. It reliably removes hydrogen sulfide from water.
Other common smells in water
Chlorine smell and taste
The taste of chlorine is not pleasing, and chlorine also dries out skin and hair. Municipalities use chlorine to disinfect city water, but we recommend filtering chlorine out of your point-of-use water.
Metallic smell and taste
A metallic taste in water typically means the pH level is not correct. When a pH level is lower than normal it causes a metallic taste in water. Lead and copper sometimes dissolve into water leading to a “penny-like” taste. Higher lead and copper levels can cause health problems as well.
Fishy smell and taste
A gross fish smell and taste generally means decayed vegetation may have entered the water supply. These symptoms are typically associated with different forms of algae. They are most prevalent in surface water. While rarely toxic, these smells and tastes are nonetheless unpleasant and can be offensive at a very low concentration.
Don’t let smelly water bring you down. One of our certified water specialists will come out to evaluate your situation and offer treatment options.