Sulfur is one of the most common pollutants found in well water. It has an unpleasant smell and tastes of rotten eggs. If you can smell or taste sulfur in your water, it’s a sign that you have particularly high levels of hydrogen sulfide in your water
Most of us would rather not drink water that smells like rotten eggs, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Hydrogen sulfide should never be allowed into the water supply, and there are lots of ways to treat it. Hydrogen sulfide gas is one of the most common gases found in the water supply.
Why Does My Well Water Smell Like Sulfur?
When your water has a rotten egg smell, it’s a good idea to contact the city water department to have a test for hydrogen sulfide. When water passes through this organic matter, it picks up sulfur and other naturally-occurring impurities. This is why the smell of sulphur gets worse as you go deeper into the well.
Additionally, well drilled in sandstone or shale may produce a noticeable sulfur odor. If your hot water smells bad or has a foul odor, you might need to check the air in your hot water heater for hydrogen sulfide. This is often the result of not using your hot water heater for a long time. Sulfate-producing bacteria are usually the cause.
A less common cause of rotten egg odor in your water heater is if you have a water softener and your water heater contains a magnesium rod. Hydrogen sulfide is the main component of rotten eggs and it’s a very toxic gas. If your water heater is in contact with high amounts of hydrogen sulfide it may break down the magnesium and produce high levels of this deadly gas.
Causes of Rotten Egg Smell
If your water smells like rotten eggs it’s most likely caused by either sulfur bacteria or natural organic decay.
Aerobic bacteria, such as coliforms, that live in soil can feed on sulfur for food or energy. This sulfur bacteria results in a large amount of hydrogen sulfide gas being released as waste product. It’s possible that your drinking water has a rotten egg smell. When this happens it’s likely that sulfur bacteria is to blame.
Natural Decay in the Ground
You could also smell rotten eggs because there was a sulfur rotten egg smell. It happens when there’s a common cause: natural chemical reactions and decay in the ground. You can use this gas to purify the water in your home.