Rotten egg smell in water — shirley, mass.

rotten egg smell in water


What Is Causing The Rotten Egg Smell?

rotten egg smell in water Shirley, MA

The most preva­lent cause of rot­ten egg smell in water in Shirley and this region is hydro­gen sul­fide. Hydro­gen sul­fide is a col­or­less gas that can exist nat­u­ral­ly in ground­wa­ter. Sul­fur-reduc­ing bac­te­ria present in ground­wa­ter use sul­fur as an ener­gy source to chem­i­cal­ly change sul­fates to hydro­gen sul­fide. The bac­te­ria use sul­fur from decay­ing plants and oth­er organ­ic mat­ter in oxy­gen-defi­cient envi­ron­ments. They can occur in deep or shal­low wells, and reside in plumb­ing sys­tems. Hydro­gen sul­fide can reveal itself in oth­er ways too. Hot water heaters that have a mag­ne­sium rod used for cor­ro­sion con­trol can chem­i­cal­ly reduce sul­fates to hydro­gen sul­fide. Hydro­gen sul­fide also can enter sur­face water through springs as well.   It is most com­mon in shale and sand­stone. The occur­rence of hydro­gen sul­fide gas has been asso­ci­at­ed with ground­wa­ter with low pH and/or ground­wa­ter with high lev­els of iron and/or man­ganese (typ­i­cal water qual­i­ty issues in New Eng­land).  Hydro­gen sul­fide has a pun­gent smell at low con­cen­tra­tions and most peo­ple can detect con­cen­tra­tions above 0.03 ppm. There is no Max­i­mum Con­t­a­m­i­nant Lev­el estab­lished by the Unit­ed States EPA.

Does Hydrogen Sulfide Pose A Health Risk Or Is The Rotten Egg Smell Just An Aesthetic Issue?

Usu­al­ly it is not a health risk at con­cen­tra­tions present in house­hold water.  How­ev­er, hydro­gen sul­fide gas is flam­ma­ble and poi­so­nous at high con­cen­tra­tions.  Build-up of hydro­gen sul­fide con­cen­tra­tions in con­fined areas has been known to cause adverse health effects.

Bac­te­ria in ground­wa­ter are respon­si­ble for most of the sul­fide smells detect­ed while sam­pling water wells. These are not often asso­ci­at­ed with high enough con­cen­tra­tions to be a health issue. In rare cas­es, sul­fide pres­ence may be due to sewage pol­lu­tion. If you expe­ri­ence a hydro­gen sul­fide odor sud­den­ly, con­sult with a water fil­tra­tion sys­tem pro­fes­sion­al.

OTHER AFFECTS — Hydro­gen sul­fide is cor­ro­sive and can leach met­als from plumb­ing sys­tems into the water. The result of this cor­ro­sion of met­als by hydro­gen sul­fide can be  a black pre­cip­i­tate that can stain laun­dry and bath­room fix­tures, dark­en sil­ver­ware, and dis­col­or cop­per and brass uten­sils.

How Do I Get Rid Of The Rotten Egg Smell In My Water?


While there are a num­ber of tech­nolo­gies avail­able to remove the rot­ten egg smell in your water, it can­not be viewed in a vac­u­um.  The pH lev­el, iron & man­ganese lev­els, as well as oth­er con­t­a­m­i­nants present in the water must be eval­u­at­ed for an effec­tive, com­pre­hen­sive solu­tion to this issue. Some of the tech­nolo­gies and sys­tems that may be used include:

  • Ozone treat­ment cre­ates a chem­i­cal reac­tion that pre­cip­i­tates sul­fur. Ozone is effec­tive for con­cen­tra­tions up to 10 ppm.
  • Oxi­diz­ing fil­ters will work for con­cen­tra­tions up to 6 ppm. The fil­ter con­tains sand with a man­ganese diox­ide coat­ing that changes hydro­gen sul­fide gas to tiny par­ti­cles of sul­fur that are trapped inside the fil­ter.
  • Acti­vat­ed car­bon fil­ters can be effec­tive when hydro­gen sul­fide is present in low lev­els (up to about 0.3 ppm). The hydro­gen sul­fide is absorbed onto the sur­face of the car­bon par­ti­cles. Fil­ters require peri­od­ic replace­ment and can har­bor sul­fate-reduc­ing bac­te­ria
  • Shock chlo­ri­na­tion of your well may reduce the hydro­gen sul­fide-pro­duc­ing bac­te­ria. It’s most effec­tive in water with a pH between 5 and 7 and inef­fec­tive in alka­line (high­er pH) water.  An acti­vat­ed car­bon fil­ter may be nec­es­sary to remove resid­ual chlo­rine or small amounts of remain­ing hydro­gen sul­fide.
  • Oxi­da­tion removes hydro­gen sul­fide con­cen­tra­tions exceed­ing 6 ppm. It can be done by aer­a­tion, chlo­ri­na­tion, and potas­si­um per­man­ganate.
  • Water heater mod­i­fi­ca­tion is nec­es­sary when hydro­gen sul­fide is caus­ing an odor with­in the water heat­ing sys­tem. Replac­ing the mag­ne­sium cor­ro­sion con­trol rod with one made of alu­minum or oth­er met­als usu­al­ly improves the sit­u­a­tion, how­ev­er, you should check the manufacturer’s war­ran­ty on the water heater to make sure you aren’t void­ing the war­ran­ty.

Other Bad Odors & Taste In Water

In addi­tion to the above sys­tems described, there are many oth­er types of sys­tems to remove bad tastes & odors, sed­i­ment and many oth­er objec­tion­able min­er­als and con­t­a­m­i­nants in the water. For more on the removal of bad odors and tastes, see the link at: symp­toms of water qual­i­ty issues such as bad odors & taste, stain­ing of laun­dry, bath­room fix­tures, etc. are indi­ca­tors of prob­lems, the pre­ferred start­ing point is to get a water test to iden­ti­fy the min­er­als or con­t­a­m­i­nants in the water and at what quan­ti­ty they exist.  This will lead to an effec­tive sys­tem rec­om­men­da­tion and route to pro­vid­ing your home with excel­lent water qual­i­ty.  While cer­tain min­er­als & con­t­a­m­i­nants can be test­ed on-site, health threat items like radon in water, arsenic in water, nitrates and oth­ers should be prop­er­ly sam­pled and brought to a cer­ti­fied lab­o­ra­to­ry for test­ing that requires spe­cial­ized equip­ment.

Water Softeners

remove rotten egg smell in Shirley, MA

Whole House Water Soft­en­er

A water soft­en­er is a type of whole house water fil­tra­tion sys­tem that is designed for remov­ing hard water min­er­als (mag­ne­sium & cal­ci­um) as well as dis­solved iron and man­ganese from the water.  For water with high lev­els of iron or man­ganese (“the stain­ers”), a “down-flow” water soft­en­er is rec­om­mend­ed to pre­vent min­er­al build-up in the bot­tom of the water soft­en­er.  Also, high effi­cien­cy water soft­en­ers that are more effi­cient with both water and salt usage are pre­ferred.

Whole House Water Filtration For Regional Health Threats

Oth­er con­t­a­m­i­nants found in New Eng­land well water include Radon and Arsenic.  A water soft­en­er will not remove these health threat con­t­a­m­i­nants. Radon in water is safe­ly removed with an aer­a­tion sys­tem that agi­tates the incom­ing well water, releas­ing the gas from the water in a sealed cham­ber. This gas is then safe­ly vent­ed to the out­side ambi­ent air.

remove rotten egg smell in water removal Shirley, MA

Whole House Water Fil­tra­tion For Radon

Arsenic in water can be removed at the point of entry into the home by installing tanks filled with arsenic spe­cif­ic resin that cap­tures the arsenic before it can get into the home’s water sup­ply.  Point of use sys­tems for drink­ing water can use reverse osmo­sis tech­nol­o­gy to effec­tive­ly remove arsenic as well. Speak to a water treat­ment pro­fes­sion­al to decide which sys­tem is right for you.

remove rotten egg smell in water Shirley, MA

Whole House Water Fil­tra­tion For Arsenic

Remove rotten egg smell from water in Groton, MAWATER FILTRATION SYSTEM GROTON, MA

H2O Care is an established full service, Massachusetts based water filtration and testing organization, originally formed in 1989, with offices in Hudson & Middleton, MA.  See our written and published articles on common regional water problems in Water Technology Magazine by going to our website, and going to the publications photo on the home page or the tab at the top of the home page.  Contact us at [email protected] or 800–539-1100.
whole house water filtration shirley, ma

         Whole House Water Fil­tra­tion 


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