Re: sulfer smell in water
Posted by Phil on November 19, 19100 at 19:38:27:
In response to Re: sulfer smell in water
: : I just built a home that we have not yet moved in to. The water passed the potability test in order for the builder to get the c of o. However, there is a horrible "rotten egg" smell to the water that does not seem to be going away by running the water, which is what the builder suggested. I have oil heat with a hot water heater and well water. Do you have any suggestions on what might be causing this problem and how we can get rid of it? Can you please send your response to my email address. Thanks

: I too have a sulfer odor in my well water. I'm in a new construction thats only 3 months old. I have a Water Pro Softner system that removed the hardness and Iron. The odor just began to show and within the last few weeks came on very strong. Hot and Cold. What caused this to happen and what can I do (also) to get rid of this problem.
: If you could, please copy a post to my email address too.
: Thanks.

A professional plumber could correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that this sulfur smell that you can get with well water is caused by Hydrogen Sulfide gas. There are two ways to get rid of it from your water system. One is using chlorine, either by chlorinating the well (which is a short-term fix, unless the problem is related to bacteria in the well that can be killed by chlorination, which does not seem to be your problem since the well recently passed inspection), or using a chlorination system to put small amounts of chlorine in your water. The alternative is to use an iron filter, which can remove small quantities of hydrogen sulfide from water in addition to being better at removing iron than a water softener. The type of iron filter that I'm talking about is the kind that cleans itself by backwashing, not just the small rust filters that you can fairly easily put into the line.

Someone once told me that if you have a water softener that removes iron, this actually can make the sulfur problem a bit worse, because the iron binds up some of the sulfur and removing the iron puts the sulfur in the gaseous form that stinks. (However, you probably don't want the iron either, since it will stain toilets and sinks). If you do get iron in your toilets, a product called Iron-Out works pretty well to remove it.

To my knowledge, there isn't any harm in drinking the water, so hydrogen sulfide gas isn't regulated when wells are put in. But it is unpleasant. You also can get rid of it by boiling your water. I don't think that regular carbon filters help.

So, to summarize:

Water softeners: remove hardness and small amounts of iron, can make sulfur worse
Iron filters: remove large amounts of iron and small amounts of sulfur
Chlorination systems: kill bacteria and remove sulfur (better for sulfur than iron filters), but also more expensive.

Water softeners and iron filters need a backwash to regenerate. Water softeners need periodic salt replenishment, while iron filters are pretty much self maintaining.

Depending on the relative quantities of each of these three problems, you can figure out what you need. But the key is to get the water tested and see how much of each of these things you have to decide on the best total system for your needs.

Good luck.


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