Texas Well Owner Network

Frequently Asked Questions

My well water has a bad smell. What can I do to reduce this?

Does you water smell like rotten eggs?  That is the most common complaint we hear about bad smelling well water.  If so, the odor is due to hydrogen sulfide and is naturally occurring.  There are some actions that can reduce the odor once you identify the source. 

If you notice the odor from your hot water tap (but not from the cold water) the source is your hot water heater.  The hot water heater allows the bacteria that generates the gas to survive, but also the anode (which is usually made of magnesium) generates the energy to form the sulfide gas.  If the odor is in the hot water you may want to contact a plumber to replace the anode in your hot water heater. 

If the odor is throughout your water system, it may be due to residual bacteria in your well or storage tank - if so, contact a licensed pump installer or well driller to shock-chlorinate your well.  Know that this is not a permanent solution because the bacteria and the source of sulfide are naturally occurring, and the odor will return. 

You may also install a water treatment system to eliminate the odor.  An activated carbon filter will remove low concentrations of the hydrogen sulfide gas.

Higher concentrations of odor-causing gas can be treated with 'manganese greensand filters' or 'oxidation filtration systems for hydrogen sulfide gas'.

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