Re: "sour" smelling cistern water
Posted by Quality Water Associates on September 12, 2002 at 10:49:14:
In response to Re: "sour" smelling cistern water
: I bought a house about a year ago with a 15,000 gallon cistern. After living there for several months we started to notice a sewer/swamp smell when we turned on the shower.
: I figured it needed cleaned out so we drained it, cleaned out about a foot of rotten leaves and such, got it filled back up and everything seemed fine. recently however, we started getting a "sour" smell.
: "sour is really the only word to descibe it, asit really doesn't smell like a swamp or sewer. I changed to piping and check valve in the cistern. The inside of the old piping smelled sour too. That hasn't
: seemed to help though. New filters haven't stopped the smell either. The smell is most prevalent when the hot water is on in the shower or in the washing machine. Could I have a buildup of that sludge in my hotwater heater
: or could it be another problem? The copper lines in the house don't seem to have that sludgy buildup that was in the plastic pipe in the cistern. Will I have to get a new hot water heater, or can they be cleaned out or cloroxed? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

You need a test for bacteria and probably some water treatement equipment to control bacteria etc.. You don't say what the source of the water is, but if you're using a spring or other surface water source you really need a water analysis and treatment. You also don't mention sanitizing the cistern and plumbing, that should be done on a regular basis if you have no water treatment equipment. The filters you have, if they are carbon (taste/odor types) they can cause odor problems if there is bacteria in the water. The heaters could be drained and flushed and then sanitized with bleach. That may be hepful on a temporary basis but probably will not be a solution.

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