If your well water has an unpleasant odor, you are not alone. Many homeowners experience this common problem, and if your well water smells like rotten eggs, it may not just be an aesthetic problem.  DCF 1.0

The Underlying Problem: 

A rotten egg smell in your water is not only objectionable, but in a high concentration, it could be corroding your appliances, fixtures, and plumbing. This is due to the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas or H2S. This gas creates a unique odor, which tends to be more pronounced in hot water supplies. You may notice that your beverages are discolored, and the taste of cooked food is altered.  

Water contaminated with H2S is more corrosive and can damage piping materials and exposed metallic components inside your appliances including your dishwasher and washing machine. H2S can also damage filtration systems and water softeners/ water conditioners.  

The Treatment Options: 

In the past, chlorine treatment was the most common treatment method. While this did take care of the odor, chlorine can leave an unpleasant taste and odor itself. Additionally, if the water PH is above 7.5, low levels of chlorine is not sufficient and larger amounts are needed.  

Another treatment option was aeration. While this can be effective if sulfur or iron bacteria is present, the odor can be recreated after the aeration system in plumbing systems and water heaters.  

Since neither of these treatment options offers a foolproof solution, many homeowners now look to hydrogen peroxide.  

Why Hydrogen Peroxide Offers a Better Solution: 

There are a number of reasons why hydrogen peroxide offers a better solution to well water odors. The main reason is that it works faster compared to chlorine without leaving a chemical residue in the water. When hydrogen peroxide is introduced into the water, a large volume of dissolved oxygen is released creating a strong oxidizing effect. This eliminates odors, destroys microorganisms and oxidizes tannins.

The hydrogen peroxide converts the H2S and any iron present into solid particles that can be removed by a backwash on a self cleaning filtration system. This eliminates the need for a retention tank, and any residual hydrogen peroxide will be removed by the filter.  

In cases where the odors are excessive, it is recommended to have a contact tank. This will allow a few minutes for the hydrogen peroxide to make contact with the water and ensure proper treatment.

Hydrogen peroxide is also effective over a wide water PH range, which means that even if your PH is high, you won’t need to resort to using large amounts of treatment chemicals.  

The treatment procedure for hydrogen peroxide is also very simple. A metering pump can be used to automatically insert small amounts of hydrogen peroxide into the pressure tank when the well pump is switched on. A backwashing filter system can be installed after the pressure tank to filter out any residue from the water. This results in disinfected, clean water free of any unpleasant odors throughout your home.  

If you are concerned about unpleasant odors in your well water, you should talk to a water treatment specialist. A fully WQA certified professional will be able to guide you through the wide selection of treatment options that exceed industry standards to correct the problem. 

About The Author, Terry Reeh, EcoWater Systems of Nebraska:

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative. Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.

Back to top