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Why Does My Water Smell Like Sulfur or a Rotten Egg?

Why Does My Water Smell Like Sulfur or a Rotten Egg?
April 24, 2018 Vlad Alabin
In Uncategorized

Does your tap water smell like a rotten egg? If yes, then, probably it has the presence of ‘Sulfur Bacteria’ or deposits of ‘Hydrogen Sulfide’. The gas of Hydrogen Sulfide produces a strong odor and taste of rotten egg or sulfur to your daily use water. This odor is usually present only at the time when the water is turned on or when you run hot water. The heat produced forces the gas into the air which may cause the odor to be very strong especially when you use your shower.

Though the sulfur smell does not indicate any danger to your water, still it indicates the high level of pollution or chemicals near your living area. You would be surprised to know that over 316 contaminants have been detected in the water reservoirs across the entire U.S. This was however very important to identify so that necessary measures can be taken to ensure that the drinking water is safe and clean to consume.

The Sources of Hydrogen Sulfide gas includes:

  • The decay of natural matters or chemical reactions of sulfur-containing minerals in rocks and soil.
  • Bacteria’s that naturally convert sulfur and sulfur compounds to hydrogen sulfide gas.
  • Water heater produces hydrogen sulfide as they provide a warm environment for the sulfate-reducing bacteria to live.

Is consumption of Sulfur harmful?

  • Hydrogen Sulfate, sulfur, sulfate etc are not considered to be harmful. The major reason behind this is that the smell and taste of sulfur-contaminated water are so strong that no one can consume it to the extent of the harmful level.
  • Not only because of the unpleasant smell but it’s a real irritant as it causes harm to all the objects that it comes in contact with. For example – It can tarnish silver and discolor copper and brass utensils; it can be corrosive to metals like copper, brass, steel, and iron; black stains on the tiles of kitchen and bathroom and so on.
  • If used for cooking, the coffee and the tea made with such water can be discolored, even the food cooked can taste tainted at times.

What can you do to get the smell out of the water?

  • Chlorine injection or Chlorination:

Chlorine instantly reacts with hydrogen sulfide in order to form an odorless, tasteless yellow particle. However, in order to make sure that you add an adequate amount of Chlorine to the water, it’s always better to take experts advice and assistance in this matter.

  • Carbon filters:

Activated carbon filters can be used in order to remove a small amount of hydrogen sulfide from the water. The carbon particles absorb the hydrogen sulfide. This activated carbon filter needs to be periodically replaced as per the amount of hydrogen sulfide existing in the water. In case of high level of gas, the frequent change would be required and on the other hand, if the level is less, moderate change is required. You may get in touch with the experts who can help you with the water testing and understand the exact level of hydrogen sulfide in your water.

  • Aeration:

Once oxygen in the air reacts with hydrogen sulfide it forms and odorless and dissolved form of sulfur which is called sulfate. The aeration system takes place when a compressed air is injected into the water system, however, this must be removed from the water once the task is done. Experts like VA Water LLC are the best to help you with this system of water purification.

 

Well Water Purity Test

Different water testing options available:

  • Private Well Testing:

If you are planning to buy or sell a home with a private well, then you may always consider VA Water LLC for all the testing requirements of the well water. As per local laws, you need to get the drinking water supply tested before the transaction closes.

It is recommended that the drinking water should be tested once a year in order to determine the pH level, total dissolved solids, nitrates, bacteria’s and so on.

  • Home Water Testing:

Regular testing of the drinking water is essential to make sure that the water you are consuming is free from pollutants and harmful chemicals.

It’s not possible for you to control each and everything that can cause harm to your health; however, it is definitely in your hands to control the quality of the water that you drink.

This can be done by setting up a monitoring program for your drinking water. Regular monitoring of the water would help you to get appropriate safe drinking water ideal for you and your family.

What Tests should be done to your drinking water?

There are many useful tests available in order to check the health and safety of a water supply. This also determines the performance of the water treatment system available. Experts from VA Water LLC can assist you the best in selecting the tests that can be important for assessing the quality of your drinking water. Few of the general tests required are as below;

  • Coliform Bacteria:

This bacterium is very harmful to the human health. Hence, this test helps in understanding the presence of it in the drinking water you consume.

  • Basic Water Portability:

This test indicates the presence of coliform bacteria, pH, sodium, chloride, nitrates, fluoride, sulfate, iron, manganese, dissolved solids, the hardness of the water and so on.

  • Nitrates:

This is a common contaminant which is usually found in groundwater. Nitrates interfere with the blood ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. The presence of Nitrate in the drinking water is specifically very harmful to infants under six months which can cause serious health issues.

  • Ions:

Various ions like sulfate, manganese, chloride, sodium, iron, etc can affect the taste of the water as well prove to be a reason for the foul odor in the water.

  • Sulfate:

An excessive amount of sulfate in the water can cause health issues like – gastrointestinal irritation, laxative effect, etc.

  • Fluoride:

Though fluoride is an essential micro-nutrient for the human body, if in case the amount is in excess, it may cause your dental problems.

  • Total dissolved solids:

This test helps in determining the amount of inorganic harmful substances that are dissolved in the water. These substances can be – sodium, chloride, sulfate, etc. In case the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) is high the palatability of the water can decrease.

  • Additional Testing:

As per the situation and condition of the water, many other tests can be done in case of any doubt. For example, in case of groundwater, a test to determine the amount of arsenic, uranium, and selenium in the water is done. A test for pesticide contamination is also undertaken for both the surface and groundwater.

It might be difficult for you to estimate the correct test that is required for the water in your premises. However, the experienced and knowledgeable experts from VA Water LLC can help you with the correct test in order to give you a healthy water to drink and use.

 

What are the things if done at your end that can make the situation even worse?

  • Do not use a water softener without proper consultation of the experts. This is because; the water softening process helps to accelerate the conductivity of the water in your tank. This can corrode your anode even faster.
  • This corrosion leads to bacteria’s which generate a foul and smelly odor gas. Hence, in case you have well water which is hard with more sulfur and bacteria components and untreated.
  • It’s always better to get in touch with the responsible experts to get the situation sorted out for you rather than taking charge of the situation on own.
  • In case there is no regular flow of water through your tank, the problem can even worsen in such situations.
  • Unused water heaters for days and months generate the H2S gas (Hydrogen Sulfide). This eventually makes the water smell like a rotten egg when the water heater is turned on.
  • This usually happens in cases of vacation homes or cabins that are used very rarely. Thus, before moving into such places, it’s better to get the water inspected in order to avoid any situations that can risk your health and destroy your holiday plans.

 

What are the actions that you can take to solve the odor problem?

  • Clear your pipes:

In case you experience a foul smell, the best step can be to turn on all the faucets in your house and allow the water to run for at least 10 minutes. This procedure would clear the pipes and remove the smell. After 10 minutes you may turn the faucets off.

  • Clear the Hot Water Heaters:

In case you find that it’s only your hot water heater that is generating an unpleasant smell in the water, then, it would be a better option to flush the hot water heater and let all the gas pass out at once.

The procedure that can be followed to clear the hot water heater is –

  1. Turn on the water supply, and connect a hose to the drain valve of your hot water heater.
  2. The other end of the hose can be placed in an area where excess water can be easily disposed.
  3. You can take the sample of the water after 10 minutes of the above procedure.
  4. You may fill a cup with the water and check for any particles on sediments that are settled in the cup.
  5. If in case you find any sediment, it’s better to continue the procedure until you get clear water with no particles present in it.
  • Disinfecting the water heater:

Disinfecting the water heater is a very simple process. You may just turn on your water heater to 160 degrees and leave it in the running mode for a couple of hours. The heat generated would kill all the bacteria and toxins present in the heater. This would disinfect the heater from inside and help you get rid of the smell.

  • Add water filters:

If you want to get an instant quick switch for the rotten egg smelling problem, then the best would be to install water filters in your house. But the problem in this is that the water filters are only temporary solutions, and hence, you would need to replace the filters very often. In case the filters are not replaced, even these filters can generate unpleasant smell in the water.

The above-listed solutions are temporary. It’s, however, is not possible for you to completely rely on these temporary solutions. Hence, testing the water and keeping treating is the best solution for such problems. Even these are not permanent; however, their effect lasts longer than the temporary solutions. Water being the most important source of life, it’s always wise to take the health of the water you are using very seriously. Though you may not face any health issues in the initial stage, however, prolonged exposure and intake of such harmful water can end you up with serious health problems. This would not only harm you but also your family and loved ones.

 

What is the importance of household water quality testing?

  • You would be clearly aware of the fact that drinking and using contaminated water is harmful to health. Hence, this is the main reason why the quality testing of the water you are using on daily basis is required.
  • It’s very important to ensure that the water you are using is safe, clean and free from disease-causing bacteria and micro-organisms.
  • The quality of the water that you are using also depends on the source of the water. These sources can be wells, ponds, lakes, rain waters and so on.
  • However, in order to maintain the Public Health Standards, it’s very necessary to test these sources of drinking water on regular basis.
  • Untreated waters can be a major dwelling place for harmful and life-threatening bacteria’s.
  • You need to develop a habit of indulging into a routine test of your household water. This is necessary to identify parasite, viruses, and bacteria if any.
  • Though there are many regulatory agencies working under the provision of the Government, still the room for accidents in high, especially if you are using well water at your home.
  • Taking care of your own well water is something that you need to do on regular basis. Testing the drinking water is essential to determine its health and safety for the consumption of your family.
  • The at home testing services are very economical and these services can help you identify the presence of contaminants in the household and drinking water.
  • If you are not sure of what kind of contaminants you need to look for, the experts can help you in determining these contaminants.
  • After a clear inspection of your area and the water, relevant tests and purification methods would be suggested to you.
  • Most of the tests include the presence of arsenic, E. coli, coliform bacteria, manganese, lead, pesticide, heavy metals, nitrate, and fluoride.

 

What are the major health issues that you may face due to excess Sulfur intake and the problems associated with it?

  • The components are found in foods like eggs, fish, poultry, etc. However, if the contents of sulfur in consumed in excess via drinking water, it may cause health issues like diarrhea, ultimately leading to dehydration.
  • Pets can also be harmed with the proportion of sulfur in high in their drinking water.
  • As per the Environmental Protection Agency, if you instantly switch from clean drinking water to the water that contains sulfur, this would eventually generate laxative effects in your body from the minerals.
  • Though the effects are not that serious, still keeping water clean and maintaining its health should be the prime objective. If you have infants and small kids in your home, then it’s always better to not take any risk with their health.

 

What are the problems associated with the presence of Sulfur in water?

  • The biggest and highlighted problem of sulfur is that it stinks very badly.
  • Just like any other minerals, even sulfur can leave stains in the plumbing fixture like toilets, sinks, etc.
  • Clothes washed in water that has high sulfur deposits can leave stains; this would eventually decrease the quality of your costly fabrics.
  • Water with sulfur can also tarnish copper and silver metals.
  • A slime production is done by the bacteria which produce Hydrogen Sulfide. This can be white, black or grey in color.
  • These sulfur bacteria can also enhance the chances of the growth of other bacteria’s like iron bacteria, where you would find a reddish-brown colored slime in the surrounding area.
  • Thick coats of these slimes on the plumbing pipes can cause clogs of the pipes. If not treated this would even lead to corrosion of the pipes. Hence, you would end up with a costly need to change the complete pipelines.

 

How can you determine the presence of Sulfur and need for testing?

  • The smell coming only from hot water:

    • This can be indicated if the smell comes only from the hot water and usually in the morning after long periods of not running the water.
    • As mentioned above this is because of the anode rod which breaks down sulfates in the water and eventually generating hydrogen sulfide gas.
    • Temporarily you may flush the heated water and get rid of the smell. You can also change the anode rod. However, in spite of these remedies if the smell still exists, then it’s time for you to get in touch with the water treatment experts.
  • The smell coming from the well water supply:

    • In this case, the smell comes from both hot and cold water all the time even after long usages.
    • This is because of the high deposits of hydrogen sulfide in the well water and the strong smell is a clear indication that you need it to be treated at the earliest.

 

VA Water LLC Can Turn Your Smelly Sulfur Water Into Great Drinking Water

Water is life, and hence, you can never afford to take chance with the quality and safety of your drinking water. You don’t have to worry when experts are here to help you with all the remedies. You may get in touch with VA Water LLC at any point and get expert services for all your contaminated water-related problems and water filtration needs.