Sulfur Gas and Your Well Water

If you notice an odor of rotten eggs to your water, then your water is probably filled with sulfur gas. You may think your water is perfectly clean, but sulfur gas is created by bacteria. Fortunately, the kind of bacteria that creates sulfur is harmless, and only creates that tell-tale unpleasant smell.

Pressure causes sulfur gas to get into your well water, and how much pressure it’s under is what determines how much of it dissolves into the water. While it may seem like a bad thing to have sulfur in your water, it actually means that you have a high water level in your well, which is a good thing. 

Why Your Well Has More Sulfur Gas

Certain minerals that exist in the earth that sulfur-producing bacteria feed on, so if your well has more of those minerals in it than other wells, you’re going to have more sulfur due to the bacteria colony growing larger here than it might elsewhere.

Like we said previously, the more pressure your water is under, the more sulfur is going to dissolve into your water, and the more standing water that your well has, the higher the concentration of dissolved sulfur can be.

Getting Rid of Sulfur Gas in Your Well Water

There are many ways that claim to work in getting rid of sulfur gas, and some of them are successful, but the most tried-and-true methods can be found below.

The first is installing a chlorinator in your water system, which allows it to inject a small amount of liquid bleach into your water line. The chlorine in the bleach both kills the bacteria and eats away the gas that they leave behind. Your sulfur problem can be totally solved this way if you get the concentration just right, but many people have concerns about the high concentration of chlorine present in their water and choose to install a de-chlorinator to get it back out again.

Storage Tank System

The second method of getting rid of the sulfur gas in your water is by using a storage tank system. You know how cans of soda have gas in them and release that gas when they’re opened, going “flat” after being left out for a while? The concentration of sulfur gas in your water works the same way, so putting your well water into a large storage tank allows for the sulfur to dissolve from the water and escape through the vent. In addition, installing a storage tank also provides other considerable benefits like getting rid of iron and sediment, lengthening the life of your pump, and gives you a water back-up.

If you happen to notice that your water smells more like sulfur when you use hot water rather than cold, your water heater could be to blame. Standard tank-style water heaters are a breeding ground for bacteria thanks to the warmth and the magnesium anode rod in it–and sulfur-producing bacteria love to feed on magnesium. For this particular issue, there are several options for treatment, including: replacing the anode rod with a “no-stink” rod, turning the temperature above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (dangerous if you have small children), injecting chlorine, and replacing your water heater altogether with a different model.

If you want further great tips like this, look no further than Conyers Plumbing.