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Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Category Plumbing
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Determining the cause is the first step in eliminating a foul odor coming from a home water supply. This is a guide about why water smells like rotten eggs.
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Questions

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By 0 found this helpful
October 2, 2008

We just moved into a new house our problem is the smell of our water and drains. It smells like rotten eggs. The washer is gross too, every time I wash clothes they either smell like rotten eggs while washing or the machine does. It is very gross. Taking a shower is also smelly. We don't have hard water and tried that with dish soap and water. Please help.

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Jillann from Belleville, IL

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Answers

October 2, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Congratulations, you have sulphur in your water. I know this becasue I've had to deal with it in a house we purchased some years back. You have to aerate the water to remove the smell. We did this by going to the pump house and installing an aerator. We got this from a water testing company. Call or go by a place like that and ask. They'll tell you.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 3, 20080 found this helpful
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Sounds like well water to me. Our water smelled horrible when we moved in less than a month ago. Once you get the water cycling through the house (I think it took my husband and my use for about a week). It will clear up to almost nothing. Hot water is the worst. We ran the tub and the sink for a couple hours the first couple of days. Now, we also have our well chlorinated once a week. Good luck!

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By 0 found this helpful
April 29, 2016

I purchased a house back in April 2013 and at the time I purchased a new filter and softener system for the house as the water had a strong rotten egg smell. A year later I had the issue with the hot water (rotten smell in hot water), and I resolved it by changing the anode rod every 6 months. Now two weeks ago I started getting the rotten egg smell in cold water only. I called the company that installed the systems and they did all the chemical tests in water and everything resulted in normal readings. So they recommended line chlorination because they said there might be bacteria growing in plumbing and it might be producing that rotten egg smell. Therefore, we agreed to try; but unfortunately 3 days after the chlorination the smell came back, but it came back even stronger. and again only the cold water. Then the next two days the water was fine without any smell and then it started all of a sudden. (Basically the smell comes and goes.) The strange thing is that I always go check outside to see if the water right after filter also stinks like rotten eggs, but it doesn't. The smell is only inside the house, on showers and sinks.

Thank you very much in advance.

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Anonymous
May 1, 20160 found this helpful
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Rotten egg smell is usually the presence of sulfur in the water.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 29, 2005

We recently had a new well driven and the water smells like eggs. Does anyone know what is causing this and if it's OK to drink?

Pam

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April 29, 20050 found this helpful
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Here's some information I found on an extension site...

Why Well Water Smells Bad

If you have a private well and the water smells musty or like "rotten eggs," you may have a bacteria problem. Bacteria that cause this smell live in the soil or aquifer. They are not a health risk. However, once introduced to a well, they may multiply rapidly and cause odor problems.

Sometimes odor-producing bacteria indicate that disease-causing bacteria are also present. This is especially true if there has been a sudden change in water quality. Have your well water tested through a certified lab to make sure there is not a health problem. Tests usually identify potential health problems but may not detect odor-causing bacteria. The lab lets you know if water is safe to drink. If it is safe but smells bad, you can reduce or eliminate the odor.

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Odor-producing bacteria are often referred to as "iron" or "sulfur-reducing" bacteria. They use iron or sulfur in their life cycle and give off hydrogen sulfide gas. That's the rotten egg odor. The bacteria may form slimy colonies in pipes or toilet tanks and can stain laundry. However, the odor is usually the most objectionable problem.

Iron bacteria can get into wells when maintenance is done on piping, well casing, or pumps. Bacteria can get in when work is done on indoor plumbing, or when a hot water heater is installed. Finally, they may get into water supplies through a direct connection to surface water or shallow groundwater seepage.

Once established in your well or water supply, bacteria can be very hard to eliminate. After work is done on your well or plumbing, thoroughly disinfect the system. This kills bacteria that enter the water before they get a foothold. If there is a connection to surface water or bacteria are strongly established, repeated disinfection may be necessary. Disinfection eliminates or reduces bacteria to tolerable levels.

Shock chlorination is the most common way to disinfect a well. You need to calculate carefully how much chlorine is appropriate for your well size and depth. Make sure the entire system gets disinfected and that chlorine remains in the system 6 to 8 hours.

Sometimes rotten egg odor comes from rock the well is drilled into. In these cases, the smell is generally present when the well is first used. The smell may decrease over time. Odor that appears later is from bacterial growth and may appear suddenly. The odor may begin after the well has been unused for an extended period of time, following floods or drought, or after maintenance. Again, a sudden change in water quality may signal potential health risks. Test the water to make sure it's safe to drink. To get a water test kit, contact your county health department.

Source: University of Minnesota

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Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

December 8, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about shower smells like rotten eggs. A strong smell in your shower may be an indication that the drain is not clear.

A showerhead with water running.

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December 8, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about removing rotten egg smell from household water. A strong suffer smell can make using some well water unpleasant.

A woman looking concerned at a glass of water.

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December 7, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about tap water smells like eggs. Household water that has a sulfur or egg smell is very unpleasant. Determining the cause and rectifying it quickly becomes your goal.

A kitchen faucet with a drip of water.

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