Research on Sulfur Smell

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by Huskymaniac, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. Huskymaniac

    Huskymaniac New Member

    Jun 1, 2006
    Albany, New York
    Here is some background information:

    1. Rotten Egg smell
    2. Slime in holding tank of toilet
    3. Smell in both cold and hot water but worse in hot
    4. Adding some bleach into the brine tank of my standard softener helps buts does not eliminate the problem
    5. 11 grains of hardness
    6. 0.2 ppm Iron
    7. Ph = 8.0

    I don't have the bacteria results yet but I have concluded that I am smelling hydrogen sulfide gas dissolved in the water and it is coming from sulfer reducing bacteria. I have done some research on my options and here are the results:

    1. Chlorination in a retention tank followed by activated carbon filtration and a standard water softener. There are many suppliers of equipment for this. It will kill the bacteria and remove the hydrogen sulfide gas but it is more bulky and messy than I would like. However, it is an option.
    2. Injection of Hydrogen Peroxide followed by a catalyzed carbon filter. The following company sells the necessary equipment:
    including the Centaur Catalytic Carbon filter:
    There is a diagram of the system:
    This is also a little bulky but it is extremely effective at both killing the bacteria and filtering the hydrogen sulfide gas. The hydrogen peroxide both kills bacteria and it oxygenates the water. The catalytic carbon filter (placed after the retention tank) is very good at filtering out hydrogen sulfide gas when the water is oxygenated. It only needs to be occasionally backwashed.
    3. Zeolite based softener and sulfur abatement:
    The special zeolite crystals they use both soften water by ion exchange but they also generate chlorine from the brine during regeneration and the chlorine is used to kill bacteria and remove hydrogen sulfide gas. Also, since the filter is very good at filtering out iron, it keeps the bacteria's food from the plumbing system and especially the hot water tank. This is a pretty simple system.
    4. MediaGuard filter and KDF 85:
    This is added to a standard water softener bed. I'm not sure about the details but I have read claims throughout the internet that this does a good job at filtering out the hydrogen sulfide gas and iron. This is also a pretty simple system and can be deployed when you build up the softener bed.
    5. Ozone systems:
    These are supposedly very effective at killing the bacteria and getting rid of the hydrogen sulfide gas but they look pretty bulky and complicated. They also look expensive and expensive to maintain (UV lamps or corona discharge units). Also, the ozone needs to be filtered and monitored as it is also toxic in large quantities.
    6. Chlorination of the well:
    This would also require an activated carbon filter or a catalytic carbon filter prior to the house plumbing. Seems simple and maybe more simple than the chlorination system that uses a retention tank. But it also requires careful calculation of the chlorine dosage and service of the unit that sits on the well. I have heard that they periodically fail and need to be replaced but they aren't very expensive so maybe it isn't a big deal to replace them every three years or so.
    7.Pyrolox filter:
    This is another very simple filter/softener combination. The pyrolox filter works like the catalytic carbon filter where it filters out the hydrogen sulfide gas and iron through a catalytic reaction. I'm not sure if it needs water with a decent level of dissolved oxygen to work like the catalytic carbon filter requires.
    8. Catalytic Carbon Filter:
    This is capable of filtering out iron and hydrogen sulfide gas but it does require some dissolved oxygen in the water. That can be achieved by injection of air or, as mentioned above, hydrogen peroxide if the water doesn't naturally have enough oxygen, which it might. It would have to be combined with a standard softener to remove the other minerals that this filter doesn't take care of. This company also sells a standalone pyrolox filter. They have some nice info on various options:
    9. Copper Dosing:
    I have very little information on this other than it supposed works very well and comes from a reputable company (CUNO).
    10. Aeration:
    There are several companies selling systems for this. Here is one:
    This works well for getting out the hydrogen sulfide gas and the iron but I worry about the fact that the injected air can actually promote bacteria growth and even introduce contaminants from the basement air into the water. However, it is extremely simple.
    11. Crystal Clean: well&OVKEY=well water treatment system&OVMTC=advanced
    This is some sort of magical chemical to be used during regeneration of a standard softener. They claim it takes care of the hydrogen sulfide gas but it appears that it's real claim to fame is that it does a very good job at getting rid of the iron that the bacteria would feed on in the softener bed.
    12. Kinetico:
    There isn't too much information on this but people claim that it does a good job at removing iron and hydrogen sulfide gas.
    13. Manganese greensand with potassium permanganate for regeneration. There are lots of sources for this old approach. We are weary of going with the Manganese Greensand because the Potassium Permanganate is so toxic. We understand that it is unlikely that the regeneration cycle will fail and Potassium Permanganate will be released into the drinking water but it is possible and that makes us uneasy.

    Here are some other interesting links I have found:'sulfur%20well''sulfur%20well'|cfap=/CFID/79937/CFTOKEN/63225778/fuseaction/showArticle/articleID/3173

    Any comments or suggestions? How about omissions?
  2. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    You have a fairly high number of seriously inaccurate assumptions in the above but... as I said in the thread here:

    Somehow you missed describing your best choice... Here are a few success stories: check msadesign's post in the Q&A forum. check jimd's other posts also.

    And then there is this, he just called me last Sunday, Memorial Day weekend when he installed but had a few programming questions).

    I've used Pyrolox and serviced greensand filters. I've used air pump systems and serviced air injection systems. I won't sell the Media Guard, or KDF, solution feeders or ozone due to problems with their operation and maintenance that cause dissatisfied customers. But who did you speak with on the phone about greensand?

    Water-Right's chlorine production is only during regeneration, it doesn't do anything but keep the resin bed from biofouling. The chlorine is not added to your water, all of it goes to drain. Zeolite requires more of it for the same ion exchange capacity of regular softener resin. It is heavier and requires more water to backwash it.

    No aeration will solve your problem if you have SRB, IRB or MRB but, aeration does not add bacteria to the water. Aeration actually kills certain types of bacteria found in groundwater.

    Pellet droppers do not break down very often, they are highly dependable and have huge flexibility for various chlorine levels.

    As to bulkiness... I have installed the inline erosion pellet chlorinator, the mixing tank, the Centaur filter and a softener in 4.5' of wall space. BTW, you must be careful to not buy the knock off version of the patented one I sell am talking about. Outwardly, they look identical.

    Sanitizing a softener too frequently kills resins.

    Also, you must get the correct SFR of both the Centaur filter and softener for your peak demand flow rate gpm or nothing will work. Here's sizing info on softeners; filters are sized solely by the type and volume of mineral.
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  4. Huskymaniac

    Huskymaniac New Member

    Jun 1, 2006
    Albany, New York
    Isn't your best choice the same as what I listed as option #1 above?

    What do you mean when you say solution feeders? Do you mean the cholorine solution feeder or the H2O2 solution feeder or both? And what do you think about H2O2? It seems simple and has some benefits of oxidizing the water in addition to killing bacteria. I would think that the oxidized water would help the Centaur filter work better at removing H2S.

    But isn't that the most important thing? SRB, which is what it appears I have, is harmless from a health point of view. It is an annoyance because of the H2S gas it generates. If the Zeolite approach can help get rid of H2S and keep the bacteria from growing in the bed, doesn't that solve the majority of my problem? Water Right also sells a tank that aerates the water and passes it through a catalytic carbon filter. Clearly that will get rid of the H2S gas. Maybe a combination of the Zeolite softener and the aeration/catalytic carbon filter would do everything I need. If I want to kill the bacteria too couldn't I just put a UV lamp between the Zeolite softener and the aeration/catalytic carbon filter?

    Where are you located? Can you give me an idea of the cost for one of these systems? I had a guy quote a chem feed chlorination system with a dual tank softener and a dual tank active carbon filter for $5800 and another guy quote an H2O2 plus softener system for $5000. $5800 sounds high for a "low cost" solution.
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    You must kill the bacteria to get rid of the cause of your odor. Then you won't have the odor.

    To kill bacteria is simple, the choice of equipment isn't simple and if you choose wrong, living with the equipment is about as bad as the odor was.

    Your first link is using a solution feeder. A solution feeder can feed any liquid, including hydrogen peroxide. They are a real PIA for the customer and the dealer. Chlorine will separate form the water in the solution tank and chlorine and peroxide both will weaken in the solution tank before they are used. Then you increase the volume you inject and on'on until you dump the solution tank and start over, right after dumping the retention tank... And they ALL require a retention tank and the size can be up to 240 gallons (usually up to 2 120 gal tanks). My advice is don't buy one.

    Zeolite does nothing to remove H2S or to kill any type of bacteria. You do not want bacteria in Centaur or any other type carbon. Centaur can remove naturally occurring H2S, but you don't have that, you have slime etc. saying bacteria caused H2S. Either way, chlorine oxidizes the H2S and kills the bacteria so the Centaur sees only dirty water with chlorine in it and the carbon removes the chlorine taste and smell and removes the oxidized particulate matter in the water.

    The inline erosion pellet chlorinator, mixing tank and Centaur filter is the simplest and most maintenance free choice there is. They also cost the least and take up the least space of any other type equipment you could use.

    I'm in PA and sell nationally to DIYers with various skill levels; or they hire a plumber install the equipment. I can't give you a price here or until I know what SFR the filter has to be. And I can't tell you that until I know more about your house and family size; you did go to the link about sizing right? I can say you'll pay way less than half the "low cost solution" price you mentioned. If you want more on this call me.
  6. Huskymaniac

    Huskymaniac New Member

    Jun 1, 2006
    Albany, New York
    I understand that killing the bacteria will get rid of the source of the odor but the bacteria itself is not harmful and so wouldn't getting rid of the H2S be sufficient? Yes, the bacteria is still there but if it is harmless then what's the big deal? And couldn't you kill it with a UV lamp after the softener/conditioner?

    I would agree with this. I don't like the standard feeder system setup.

    Not according to this: SCIENCE REPRINT1.pdf

    It sounds like this system will keep the conditioner bed sanitized and even retains some Cl in the bed after regen to continue killing bacteria in the water. It also claims to eliminate the odor. Is this company doing something unique with the Zeolite?

    Understood. But if a catalytic carbon filter was used after Zeolite to remove any left over H2S, couldn't I put a UV filter between them to kill off any residual bacteria?

    Understood. Here is the idea I have in my head. I know I need a softener. Two seperate water treatment guys have been to my house and they agreed that I need a 30,000 grain softener. So, why not go with the Zeolite softener and see how it does with the H2S abatement. If it doesn't solve the problem (partiall or at all) I can always add a UV light and an aeration/Centaur system to kill the bacteria and get rid of the H2S.

    Two questions on this:

    1. How does one go about cleaning out the mixing tank where, presumably, sludge will build up over time from the oxidation process.

    2. How does one add more pellets to the inline chlorinator? The line is under pressure, no?

    If I need a 30,000 grain softener, can you give me an estimate on the parts cost? Also, I live in the Corning/Elmira NY area. Do you know of anyone up here that has or is capable of installing your system?
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    The bacteria are through out your plumbing. If you remove the gas and don't kill the bacteria, you should still have the odor albeit maybe somewhat less than now.

    Yes the Sanitizer will keep the resin/zeolite bed bacteria free but the chlorine does not leave the tank. It claims to eliminate an odor that is created in the bed of the softener. They manufacturer Zeolite, they are the only manufacturer of Zeolite. I used to be a dealer of theirs.

    No to the UV, UV has a pretreatment requirement of zero H2S, and small amounts of clear water iron and clear water, etc..

    A 30k softener is a 1.0 cuft and it will have a SFR of 9 gpm. A softener using Zeolite has to be larger than a softener using resin. The reason is due to Zeolite not being as efficient meaning you need more of it than resin to get the same capacity. That requires a larger tank than a 9" x 48" and the Zeolite is much heavier than resin so it takes more time and water and pressure to backwash it successfully. The purchase price for the Zeolite softener is quite high compared to 'normal' softeners and they are somewhat proprietary.

    My mixing tank comes with a bottom drain plumbed in and all you do is open a ball valve to blow it down; meaning clean it out with say 5-15 gallons of water.

    To service the chlorinator, you shut off the water before and after the chlorinator and drain water out and then loosen the lid and take the chlorinator out of the plumbing with the supplied unions and dumb it. My instructions cover all this. You can find softener prices on my web site.

    Sorry, I don't know anyone to install in your area but installation is simple straight forward plumbing. It usually doesn't take more than 3 hours. If you don't know how you can learn of hire a plumber to do it.
  8. Huskymaniac

    Huskymaniac New Member

    Jun 1, 2006
    Albany, New York
    True but what if I shocked the well and sanitized the plumbing system prior to installing whatever I install. Then the installed system just needs to make sure that no new bacteria makes it to the plumbing system. Water Right claims to oxidize H2S and continue to sanitize water with residual Chlorine that is trapped in the conditioner. However, I am sure that there is a limited capacity to eliminate H2S and bacteria.

    OK, so what if the UV comes after the conditioner and an aeration/catalyzed carbon filter? By the way, have you seen the system where the aeration and catalyzed carbon filtration is done in a single tank/unit? Seems logical and convenient.

    Does the tank have a vacuum breaker or can it withstand vaccuum being pulled on it? I have heard that this is a nice safety feature in case the pump system fails and water is drained out of the mixing tank.

    How often does this need to be done. It doesn't sound like the easiest or quickest of projects for a Saturday afternoon.

    Would you suggest a plumber over an existing "water guy"?
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