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Sulfur Water 101: How Does Sulfur Get Into Home Water?
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Does your water smell bad – like there could be rotten eggs inside? This is a good indicator that sulfur could be present in your water. But how did it get there? Sulfur water is something many people encounter they open their faucets.

If you’re curious to learn about how sulfur pollution in water occurs, we've got an in-depth guide on sulfur water just for you.

How Sulfur Gets into Your Water

There are a variety of ways in which sulfur can make its way into your water. Some of these ways include:

  • Through your water heater: Surfaces in and around your water heater are often warm. This builds a conducive environment for sulfate-reducing bacteria to live and grow. This bacteria then get into your water and causes it to smell bad and taste different.
  • There could be sulfate-reducing bacteria present in your water pipes or water treatment tanks. In this case, sulfate-reducing bacteria reacts with natural sulfates to produce hydrogen sulfide gas. Hence the foul smell.
  • There’s something decaying inside your water.
  • Chemical reactions between sulfur and minerals present in rocks and in soil.

How to Get Rid of Sulfur Water

If you barely have fresh water for cooking or drinking, you’re probably wondering how you can get rid of the foul odor coming from your water.

Well, here are a few suggestions for you.

Chlorine Injection

Otherwise known as chlorination, chlorine injections have the power to get your water back to being tasteless and odorless.

Chlorine kills the hydrogen sulfide and sulfur bacteria present in water, resulting in the formation of yellow particles. You can use a sand filter or aggregate filter to get rid of the yellow particles.

Good sources of chlorine can be your laundry bleach.


When exposed to air, hydrogen sulfide reacts with oxygen to become a sulfate. To know whether aeration is working, you will see little yellow particles inside the water.

Give it enough time and soon your water will be odorless and tasteless again.

Aerate your water by injecting compressed air directly into your water system. But then you must remember to filter the particles and remove the injected compressed air from your water.

Carbon Filters

This method only works for smaller amounts of contaminated water – when the water has a hydrogen sulfide content of about 1.0 mg/L or less. This is because carbon filters are effective only when trying to remove hydrogen sulfide from small amounts of water.

Carbon filters work by attracting hydrogen sulfide to its surface. To get rid of all the hydrogen sulfides you must keep replacing the carbon filters.

Effects of Sulfur Water on Your Health

The smell may be unbearable and the taste probably worse, but sulfur in your water isn’t harmful to your health. The worst you could experience is noticing corrosion on your sinks, brass faucets, silver cutlery, copper fixtures, and other metal surfaces.

If you use it to cook food or make coffee, it will appear discolored and taste different than it does when you use normal fresh water.

Do you suspect that you have sulfur water? Contact us and we will come test and offer you viable treatment options.

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