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Have Smelly Well Water Bad Odors In Your Homes Drinking Water Caused By Sulfur And Other Naturally Occurring Minerals Algae And Bacteria Contact

Sulfur Odors In Well Water We Eliminate Bad Smells Taste VIA Chlorination Shock

Foul-smelling or unusual odors from your water should make you question its quality and safety. Some odors indicate the presence of contaminants which may pose a health risk. Other odors, such as those caused by hydrogen sulfide, are more of a nuisance, only affecting the taste and smell of the water.

Effects of Sulfur Water

Sulfur in your water supply is easily recognized by its offensive odor. Hydrogen Sulfide Gas causes the "rotten-egg" or sulfur water smell. Hydrogen sulfide in water causes no known health effects. However, high concentrations do cause odors & change the taste of the water.

Hydrogen Sulfide dissolved in water corrodes metals such as iron, steel, copper and brass. The corrosion of iron and steel from sulfur forms ferrous sulfide or "black water." Hydrogen sulfide in water can blacken silverware and discolor copper and brass utensils.

Sulfur water makes cleaning clothes very difficult. Using chlorine bleach in sulfur water reduces the cleaning power of detergent. Hydrogen sulfide in water also corrodes exposed metal parts in washing machines.

Iron and manganese, often present with hydrogen sulfide, turn the water black and greasy-feeling. If untreated, the water stains laundry, washing machines, sinks and kitchenware. When used in the laundry, chlorine bleach reacts with iron and manganese forming dark rusty or brownish stains on clothes.

Occurrence & Characteristics

Generally, hydrogen sulfide occurs in concentrations of less than 10 mg/l (milligrams per liter), but occasionally amounts of 50 to 75 mg/l are found. Hydrogen sulfide is more commonly found in ground water supplies than in sur- face water. Hydrogen sulfide gas quickly escapes from surface water.

Wells drilled in shale or sandstone, or near coal or oil fields often have hydrogen sulfide present. Much of the ground water in northwestern and northeastern Indiana has noticeable hydrogen sulfide levels. High levels of hydrogen sulfide also occur in smaller sections around the state.

Hydrogen sulfide may also be produced when sulfate in well water converts to hydrogen sulfide. Certain non-disease-producing bacteria use the oxygen in the sulfate to form hydrogen sulfide.

Hydrogen sulfide causes the distinct, offensive odor of sewage. Occasionally, sewage pollution is the reason for the odor in drinking water. Sewage pollu- tion sulfide, and not a natural source, can occur in some surface water, in poorly constructed wells or in shallow wells close to sewer lines or septic tanks. Yearly Lab Testing Is The Only Way To Determine If Your Well Has Harmful Bacteria.

Under certain conditions, you may notice hydrogen sulfide when heating water. Heated water releases hydrogen sulfide gas quicker than cold water. A second situation occurs when sulfate in the water changes to hydrogen sulfide in the hot water heater. In this case, a magnesium rod has been installed in the water heater to reduce corrosion of the water heater. As the rod gives up small amounts of magnesium to the water, some hydrogen is released. The hydrogen can then combine with sulfur in the water and form hydrogen sulfide.

Hydrogen Sulfide Testing

The offensive odor of hydrogen sulfide generally makes testing unnecessary. Most people know when hydrogen sulfide is present and seek to correct the problem by hiring Well Water Solutions, a local chlorination company.

However, in a few cases, the odor may be from sewage pollution. Water with only hydrogen sulfide present does not cause disease. Sewage pollution, how- ever, contains disease-producing contaminants. When sewage pollution is a possible source of the sulfur, test your water for coliform bacteria. Once Again Lab Testing Is The Only Way To Be Certain. Labs Check For Total Coliform, E. coli and other strains of bacteria. If your water well test positive for any bacteria the lab can inform you whether it is of a harmful strain of fetal bacteria contamination caused by septic tank leaks and animal waste. If this is the case the source of the bacterial contamination must be found and the problem fixed and eliminated, then the well shock chlorinated.

Collect water samples for the hydrogen sulfide test at the well site. Hydro- gen sulfide gas easily escapes from water. Water testing labs and other professionals can provide further information on specific steps for testing.

Sulfide concentrations are reported as milligrams per liter (mg/l) or parts per million (ppm). These two terms are used interchangeably. Sulfide levels of 0.35 mg/l and less may go unnoticed. Amounts of 0.5 mg/l or more are usu- ally noticed, even in cold water. Some people become accustomed to the odor and tolerate hydrogen sulfide levels of 5 and 6 mg/l. Visitors might find such water very unpleasant, however.

Sulfur Removal Methods

Several methods of removing sulfur from water are available. The treatment method selected depends on many factors. These factors include the level of sulfur in the water, the amount of iron and manganese in the water, and if bacterial contamination must also be treated.

Chlorine Bleach Removal Method

Chlorine bleach can effectively remove medium to high levels (over 6 mg/l) of hydrogen sulfide. The chlorine in the bleach chemically reacts with (oxidizes) the hydrogen sulfide eliminating the "rotten egg" odor. Chlorine bleach also reacts with iron or manganese, and disinfects water supplies.

Activated carbon filters absorb some hydrogen sulfide but have very limited capacity for major odor absorption. Carbon filters commonly are installed under the sink to treat drinking and cooking water. The filters must be removed and replaced often.

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If Your Septic Tank Is Old You suspect a leak it overflowed or it was over filled and ran-over into your yard, you recently had flooding in your area, if you have farm animals within a few hundred feet of your well system it is strongly recommended that you have your well water tested yearly for Total Coliform E. Coli by a professional laboratory. Even Your Neighbors Septic Tank Can Affect Your Well Water Supply!

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Private Wells In North Carolina Are Not Subject To Federal Regulations That apply to public drinking water systems. Therefore, it is up to well owners to regularly monitor the safety of their drinking water to ensure it is safe for human consumption.

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