How to Get Rid Of Hydrogen Sulfide in Water

Last Updated on 2 years by

Water is tasteless and odorless, but what if your water starts smelling like a rotten egg?

Obviously, you would not want to use such disgusting water.

This smell of rotten egg is a clear indication that your water is contaminated with hydrogen sulfide.

The human nose is efficient enough to detect the small concentration of hydrogen sulfide in water. It is an extremely harmless gas at a small concentration but at a high concentration, the gas is flammable and poisonous too. So whatever level of hydrogen sulfide is there in the water, it should be removed.

So if you are concern about why my water smells like rotten eggs, then don’t worry, we will help you out. In this article, we will share some useful information about hydrogen sulfide and how to eliminate hydrogen sulfide from the water.

Let’s dive in!

Where Does This Hydrogen Sulfide Come From?

Hydrogen sulfide is a gas that gives water a rotten egg-like taste and odor. The odor is so strong that it becomes almost impossible to use the water. Hydrogen sulfide occurs in deep groundwater. There are three sources of hydrogen sulfide:

  • Decay and chemical reaction of soil and rock produces hydrogen sulfide.
  • Some sulfur-reducing bacteria in water utilizes sulfur as an energy source and produces hydrogen sulfide in water. Such bacteria live in an oxygen-deficient environment like deep wells, plumbing systems, and water softeners.
  • Hydrogen sulfide odor is also produced by an electric water heater. The magnesium corrosion control rod reacts with naturally occurring sulfur in the water and releases hydrogen sulfide.

How to Find Out if Water Is Contaminated With Hydrogen Sulfide?

The biggest indication of hydrogen sulfide contamination is disgusting rotten egg odor and taste. You can’t even use such water for cooking or drinking purpose, as it will alter the taste of tea, coffee, and other beverages. Not only this, this obnoxious hydrogen sulfide corrodes metal such as iron, steel, copper, and brass. Washing your metal utensils with hydrogen sulfide is a bad idea indeed as it will tarnish the silverware and discolor brass and copper cookware.

Furthermore, the presence of black and yellow stains on kitchen and bathroom fixtures is also an indication of the presence of hydrogen sulfide.

How to Treat Hydrogen Sulfide in Water?

Since hydrogen sulfide gas is produced by three sources and luckily all these three sources could be there in your household. So what you have to do is identify the source and then treat the issue.

We have divided hydrogen sulfide treatment into three subcategories according to its origin. This way it becomes easier for you to target the issue. Let’s have a look.

If the source of hydrogen sulfide is a water heater then:

If you have experienced the rotten egg smell in your water, track the smell. Is it coming from a cold water faucet or hot water faucet? If the smell is coming from a hot water faucet then the culprit is the water heater.

How to Get Rid Of Hydrogen Sulfide in a Hot Water Heater:

  • Remove and replace the magnesium anode of your water heater.
  • Chlorination may kill the bacteria in the water heater. Disinfect the heater using a concentrated chlorine bleach solution.
  • Increase the temperature of the water heater to 160F for few hours.

If the Source of Hydrogen Sulfide Is Well or Plumbing System Then:

If you notice a rotten egg smell after the water runs for few minutes, then there might be sulfur-reducing bacteria in your plumbing system or well that are producing hydrogen sulfide.

How to Get Rid Of Hydrogen Sulfide Gas In a Well Water/ Plumbing System?

Shock chlorination is often helpful in disinfecting well systems. Pour highly concentrated chlorine solution directly into the well to get rid of sulfur-reducing bacteria.

Disinfect the plumbing system using a high concentration of chlorine.

If the Source of Hydrogen Sulfide Is Groundwater Then:

If you constantly feel a rotten egg smell odor right after you open the faucet, then the problem might be in groundwater. Hydrogen sulfide gas is there in groundwater, which is produced as a result of the chemical reaction of soil and rock.

How to get rid of hydrogen sulfide from groundwater?

It’s a bit difficult to get hydrogen sulfide-free groundwater; it’s like a permanent problem. But yes you can get rid of this by installing few water treatment systems in your home. Some of them are as follow:

  • Activated carbon filters:

these carbon filters trap the gas when its concentration is less than one milligram/liter. For concentration above 1mg/l, we have other options.

  • Oxidizing media filtration
  • Aeration and filtration
  • Continuous chlorination and filtration
  • Ozonation and filtration

Wrapping Up!

Hydrogen sulfide is not harmful in small concentrations but yes, if its concentration increases in water then it becomes a lethal gas. So it’s a wise decision to get rid of hydrogen sulfide as soon as you detect a slight rotten egg smell. The above-mentioned methods are not DIY methods; you need to call professional personnel to help you get rid of this nuisance gas.

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