Rotten Egg Smell In City Water

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by sixlashes, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. sixlashes

    sixlashes Plumber in Previous Life

    Aug 6, 2008
    Retired USAF Aircraft Maintenance Superintendent,
    Pensacola. FL
    My father-in-law has a vacation house that is subject to frrezing. He drains (blows out with air) the hot and cold water lines when it is left vacant. There is now a very noticable sulphur smell in both hot and cold water, especially in the hot wat. He has flushed that quite a bit, but the smell remains. There is no noticable smell from the hose bibs.

    What would be generating this smell in the water lines? I understand this issue in well water, but not from the city.

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2008
  2. Mike Swearingen

    Mike Swearingen New Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Independent Real Estate Broker
    On Albemarle Sound In Northeastern NC
    Rotten egg odor in water (private well or public water source) is caused by sulphur or hydrogen sulfide in the water.
    There are various remedies for it. Just do a search for it on the Internet, and you will find everything from expensive treatment systems to "home remedy" booklets to solve the problem.
    Good Luck!
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  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    Odors are caused by bacteria or chemicals.

    A hot water only rotten egg/sulfur odor is caused by sulfate reducing bacteria interacting with the anode rod. That odor in both hot and cold normally is H2S gas. In this case the problem may be the air used to winterize the system and/or the little bit of water always left in the bottom of a water heater that can not be drained form the tank.

    If you/he can find a way to add a quart or so of regular nonscented bleach to the cold water and then run it to all fixtures smelling the water in a glass for bleach and then shut off the faucet, flush toilets and when done with the cold, run one hot water faucet for a minute and stop. Let it sit 10-15 minutes and then run each cold water faucet (only) for 5 seconds and shut it off, then repeat 3-4 times, that will disinfect the system. A disposable cartridge filter housing is a good way to add the bleach. Remove the cartridge and fill with bleach.
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