Many homeowners experience a foul “rotten egg” odor in their water, and this may be isolated to certain areas in their homes. As an example: perhaps the kitchen sink smells bad, but the same smell isn’t present in the shower stall upstairs. This odor is caused by the formation of iron biofilms or sulfur bacteria that have developed in sections of the plumbing that may be used less often. A water well can also have this same problem if there is an elevated level of bacteria that are metabolized in the water to create hydrogen sulfide gas. These issues can be confirmed with an iron bacteria test, but in many circumstances, you could identify this problem by simply looking in your toilet flush tank. This method can also be used to identify the following four common water quality issues.

  1. Stringy Red Furry Growth

If you look in your toilet flush tank and find slimy, stringy red growths in the water with frothing bubbles, this indicated the presence of iron bacteria. There are many ways to treat this particular water quality problem, such as aeration, chlorination, filtration, hydrogen peroxide and an ozone injection. Choosing the correct treatment option without any expert knowledge is not advised. Consult a local water treatment specialist, and they will be able to offer you expert help and advice.

  1. The Float Has White Scale

This could be caused by two different things, and both are treated in different ways. Firstly, it could mean that your water contains a high concentration of water hardening minerals such as calcium and manganese and a water softener will be needed to remove this material. Secondly, it could indicate the presence of total dissolved solids (TDS) which can be removed with a reverse osmosis water treatment system.

  1. Gray and Black Furry Growths

The presence of gray and/or black furry or stringy growth in the toilet tank means that there are sulfur bacteria in your water. This can be treated in the same way as the iron bacteria growth that we mentioned earlier. Professional advice should be sought because many homes have differing water quality issues due to a number of factors.

  1. Colored Stains

The color of the stains in your toilet flush tank will indicate the specific problem.

  • Blue: The water is too acidic, or the pH level is low, and a calcite neutralizer or soda ash filter is needed.
  • Rusty: There is too much iron in the water, and an iron filter is needed.
  • Black: There could be ferric oxide in the water or too much iron and/or manganese, and an iron filter that can also remove manganese is needed.
  • Pink: Airborne bacteria are present in and around the toilet bowl. This can be resolved by switching to a chlorine bleach for regular toilet cleaning.
  • Brown: Large quantities of iron and/or manganese are present, and an iron filter that can handle manganese is necessary.

Some of these problems can be resolved with chlorination, cleaning, and flushing. But, unless the underlying root of the problem is fixed the problem will return again. A local water treatment professional will be able to identify the root cause and suggest a treatment method to fix the problem for good.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.