Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?

It would be surprising to know that drinking water in the United States contains more than 316 chemicals. It is a common problem for many people to experience their tap water possessing strange odors, and this is especially true if the water comes from a still source like a well. Should there be any foul smell similar to sulfur or rotten eggs, there is a very good possibility that hydrogen sulfide gas is behind the problem.

Quick Facts

  • Drinking water in the United States has more than 316 chemicals
  • Hydrogen sulfide gas causes tap water to have a rotten egg odor
  • It is a sign of unsafe water contamination should there be a rotten egg smell even if the water may appear safe to drink
  • Plenty of ways to find and eliminate the problem

Hydrogen Sulfide and Potential Problems

Damaged pipes can be the result of using water supply which consists of hydrogen sulfide, as it causes corrosion of various metals while also resulting in silverware suffering from black stains. Furthermore, the unpleasant rotten egg odor coming up from the water will put off many, despite the water being relatively safe to drink. In rare occasions, sewage and other contaminants may also cause the odor and these may result in health problems.

drinking-water-odorWhy does a rotten egg smell affect my water?

The rotten egg smell in water is largely caused by increased levels of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur bacteria. If the phenomenon is seen only when using hot tap water, it may be due to a chemical reaction taking place inside the water heater.

How to Eliminate the Rotten Egg Smell

If someone experiences new and unpleasant odor affecting the water, it is important to check the water supplies and taps for the potential source of the problem.

  • The smell coming from the hot water tap alone is likely to be caused by a chemical reaction inside the water heater.
  • Smell that comes from both cold and hot faucets, but only limited to the treated water may point to issues with the water softener. The water softener may contain sulfur bacteria and it should be checked for any issues.
  • If a smell that occurs in both cold and hot faucets immediately after turning on but dissipates later, it is likely to denote sulfur bacteria in the distribution system or well.
  • If the smell from hot and cold taps are extremely high initially, it could appoint to the presence of groundwater containing hydrogen sulfide. It would also signify a major problem with the water supply.

Those who are extremely concerned with the quality of the water can opt for tests kits, which can be used to measure the levels of various elements like sulfur bacteria, sulfate, hydrogen sulfide, and iron bacteria.

Improving Drinking Water

The use of a water filter to purify water rather than drinking tap water would be a great solution to eradicate the contaminants. Most of the top water filtration options will be able to eliminate 99.9% of the bacteria found in normal tap water.