When well water smells like rotten eggs, it is due to the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas. But don’t panic if your water smells like this; hydrogen sulfide, although malodorous, is not toxic to humans. It is simply inconvenient and unpleasant. This gas is produced in well water when sulfur-bacteria breaks down sulfur and other organic compounds, such as vegetation. This process can occur in groundwater, water lines, and even water heaters. The method of treatment for hydrogen sulfide gas depends on the source and level of contamination.
Continue reading to learn how to find to source of your rotten egg smell, and the various methods used to remove hydrogen sulfide gas from well water.
The First Step if Identifying the Source
Hydrogen sulfide gas can be easily detected even at low levels. In most cases, it isn’t too difficult to locate the source. Start by running water in all the faucets in your home, including bathtubs, showers, and sinks. Be sure to test both hot water and cold water levers. Allow the water to run for a few minutes, and wait for the noxious smell.
Here is what your test will tell you:
✅ If the smell dissipates after running the water for a few minutes, the source is most likely the plumbing. This means you may need water chlorination.
✅ If the smell is only detectable when the hot water runs, the source is mostly likely the water heater.
✅ If the smell emits from all faucets in the home, the source is mostly likely the actual water.
✅ If the smell is only detectable at certain faucets, but not all, the source is likely somewhere in the drains, fixtures, or plumbing pipes.
Common Treatment Methods
If the smell originates from the water itself, you will need a specialized water filtration system to remove the hydrogen sulfide gas. There are two primary filtration methods that work well: activated carbon and manganese dioxide. For lower levels of hydrogen sulfide (below 1ppm), activated carbon is a good option. The pores of the carbon absorb and trap the gas, eliminating it from the water supply.
For higher levels of contamination, manganese dioxide is the more effective treatment. It is a naturally-occurring compound that removes hydrogen sulfide using an oxidation process that converts the sulfur into particles tiny enough to be trapped in the water filter. This method is also great at iron removal.
Where to Get Water Quality Service and Advice in Indianapolis
Call Soft Water by Weilhammer Plumbing at 317-749-0949 if you would like to learn how to improve your home’s water on a budget. You have several options for Indianapolis well water iron filtration, including reverse osmosis, water filtration, water softening, and more. Our licensed plumbers are soft water professionals who know exactly how to assess your home’s water purification needs. Trust us for honest service at a fair price.