The sulfate-reducing bacteria that causes most of the hydrogen sulfide in NH is a non-aerobic organism that feeds on the sulfate mineral that occurs naturally here. The odor is the result of the bacteria metabolizing the compound. Any method of treatment needs to take this into account.
Secondwind’s experts can use one of two homeowner-friendly methods for 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 to interact with oxygen in the water and 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.
Depending on how intense the odor is, a simple carbon cartridge filter could temporarily eradicate the odor, but this isn’t a good long-term solution for really intense odors because the cartridge doesn’t have a large capacity for sulfur. Carbon filters are expensive and if the sulfur is intense, you’ll have to change filters frequently.
In cases of intense odor, we may recommend a more robust approach called air brining, which is a backwashing filter with activated carbon. The brine uses aeration to remove contaminants, and doesn’t restrict water flow into your home.
With this option, you must maintain a small storage tank 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.
Confusing sulfur for manganese
People see discoloration in their toilet bowl and assume that it’s manganese when it’s actually sulfur gas that has precipitated out and turned into a black-toned powder. A lot of people get manganese and sulfur confused. It is quite rare that Manganese contamination is high enough that you can smell it.