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Thread: rotten egg smell

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bullheadpond's Avatar
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    Default rotten egg smell

    I had a well done in March, 202ft down pump is at 100ft. The water is pretty clear but it seems like when the water sits for a few hours and then you turn it on it smells like rotten eggs. if you let the faucet run for about 3-4 minutes the smell goes away. but then if you go back and turn on a few hours later the water smells bad again. Again if i let it run for another 3-4 minutes the smell is gone until you use the water hours later.
    Someone told me that one of those carbon inline water filters that are approx 1ft long will get rid of this problem . Anyone have any thoughts on this?
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Yes, it won't take care of the problem. It may add to it. You may have a lot of bacteria living in this well. Has it been sitting for quite a while?

    Has it ever been disinfected?

    You could try chlorinating it with a few gallons of chlorine chased by a 5 gallon bucket of water to rinse the chlorine off the pipes and wires. Let sit for several hours then pump clear.

    If the chlorine doesn't work, you may have hydrogen sulfide which smells that way, but it always smells, not just part time.

    bob...

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member bullheadpond's Avatar
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    The well just just drilled in march of 2008. The drilling comnapny disifected it when they drilled it.
    It does sit for like 3 weeks a month . It is a vacation home. i only get up there 1 week a month from march till October. After that it will be drained because i don;t heat the place in the winter.
    I did notice that after draining the system last month that the string filter that was in there smelled like rotten eggs really bad.
    Would it be better off not to use a filter at all?

    Won't the chlorine hurt the pump or pressure tank that is in the well. it has one of those tanks actuallly in the well casing instead of one in the house.

  4. #4
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    Ditch the inline filter. I wish the company that makes those things would go bankrupt.

    Chlorine will not hurt anything as long as you rinse the pipes real well after pouring the bleach in. Make sure you get it off all the pipes, wire etc that are not in water. Then after several hours, you can run the pump until you smell bleach in the faucets in the house. Then let it soak again for as long as you can (overnight is a good amount of time) then flush till all the bleach smell is gone.

    Letting it set for three weeks shouldn't be enough time for that much bacteria to grow, but that string cartridge filter could be a great breeding ground for bacteria.

    bob..

  5. #5
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    If the bladder in that "in the well tank" is busted, it could also be a breeding ground for bacteria. Check to see if the pump comes on immediately upon opening a faucet, and if the pump goes off immediately after closing a faucet. These is probably a Cycle Stop Valve at the bottom of the tank that will keep the pump running continuously when water is being used. However, if the pump goes off immediately after closing a faucet, instead of taking about 30 seconds, then the bladder in the tank is busted and could be causing the smell. If this is the case, then the smell is just the first of other problems to come. The water logged tank will destroy the Cycle Stop Valve. Then the pump will cycle like crazy while a shower or sink is being used, which will quickly destroy the pump and motor.

  6. #6
    Geologist sjsmithjr's Avatar
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    Bullheadpond, you didn't say if the smell was from both the hot and cold sides or just the hot. If the smell is strong when the water from both the hot and cold faucets is first turned on and it diminishes or goes away after the water has run for a while, or if the smell varies through time, the problem is likely to be sulfur bacteria in the well or water system, not hydrogen sulfide in the groundwater.

    If it is hydrogen sulfide bacteria in the well or the water system, then the advice you have recieved to "shock" the well and disinfect the system is good. You didn't say where you're located, but your state or local health department is often a good source of advise on how to disinfect your well. Here's a link to some information you may find beneficial as well:

    http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/e...sinfection.pdf

    Post back if the smell is only from the hot side or is present all the time and good luck with solving your problem.
    Last edited by sjsmithjr; 11-13-2008 at 08:21 AM.
    -Sam Smith
    Licensed Professional Geologist - AL, TN, KY

  7. #7
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    H2S gas (sulfur or rotten eggs) odor is produced by bacteria that live in the ground and water. Reducing types of bacteria, like iron, manganese and sulfate are made up of many aerobic and anaerobic types. They all produce gas that is dissolved into water. Coliform bacteria is also a large group of the same types of bacteria and they also can cause odor problems.

    A hot water only odor is caused by sulfate reducing bacteria interacting with an anode rod in the water heater. To prevent the odor, you must remove or replace the anode rod with a type that prevents the gas formation or you must kill the bacteria.

    If the odor is naturally occurring H2S in the groundwater, you must oxidize it and then filter out the resultant particulate matter. You can use chlorine, ozone, hydrogen peroxide, air or a number of different filter minerals that oxidize and filter out the particulates. What type of treatment depends on what and how much of it is on the water in addition to bacteria or H2S. Shocking the well will not get rid of naturally occurring H2S or bacteria for more than a few days or a week usually.

    Shocking a well can cause water quality, pump, power cable and other problems.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
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  8. #8
    Geologist sjsmithjr's Avatar
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    Shocking a well can cause water quality, pump, power cable and other problems.
    I would not disagree that it is important to do it properly. It can, however, be an effective treatment, which is not to say that the bacteria can not return. However, if the treatment is successful for an extended period of time, it can be a viable and economical option to treatment systems. Again, I would suggest that the OP contact their local or state health department for for an unbiased opinion and treatment options. They can be very helpful and will know if the groundwater in your area is prone to iron reducing bacteria. As noted by others, it is possible that the source is not your well but somewhere in the system.

    What is the order like?
    Manure; it smells like manure. I've smelled a lot of nasty orders in groundwater. The worst was after we injected a yeast solution to address HMX contamination in groundwater. I've personally never smelled coliform in groundwater. I'll have to walk down the hall tomorrow and ask the bio guys if they've ever encountered it.
    Last edited by sjsmithjr; 11-13-2008 at 05:34 PM.
    -Sam Smith
    Licensed Professional Geologist - AL, TN, KY

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    Sam, I love your Sig line.

    bob...

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    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Me too! It fits very well here lately...

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    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedbump View Post
    Sam, I love your Sig line.

    bob...
    Looks like some are willing to follow that bit of advice:


  12. #12
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    Talking

    Looks like some are willing to follow that bit of advice:
    Details - Details

  13. #13
    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
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    Made my day.

    [Thanks for the cute smilie, Red.]

  14. #14
    DIY Member Hillbilly Man's Avatar
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    Hey Southern Man
    Remember win we had that Chili Festival down at the Church House....
    Smellin rotten eggs woulda bin a lot nicer than what u did to the outhouse...
    Hillbilly Eng-in-ear
    Moonshine Maker
    Dumb as a Stump

  15. #15
    Geologist sjsmithjr's Avatar
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    Naw; that job was executed by an architect.

    As for the tag line, the senior geologist at my first job out of college had that phrase, or something close to it, hung up in his office. I forget where it comes from.

    But that's enough thread hijacking for me today. Sure hope bullheadpond gets his bacteria problem fixed!
    -Sam Smith
    Licensed Professional Geologist - AL, TN, KY

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