There is nothing more unpleasant than getting a glass of water from your kitchen sink and going to take a drink only to find that your water smells unpleasant. While the temptation can be to immediately start relying on bottled water, if you have an understanding of various water odors, you will have a better chance of getting a resolution to your issues.

Sulfur/Rotten Eggs:

If your water has a sulfurous odor which smells like rotten eggs, you’re not alone, as this is one of the most common water odor problems. It is typically caused by hydrogen sulfide or HS2 in your water. HS2 is a naturally occurring, colorless gas that is most common in private wells.

If you do have HS2 water contamination, you will need a water filtration system to eliminate any traces.


If your city water has a bleachy or swimming pool like smell, it is likely to be due to the disinfection at your local water treatment facility. Chlorine is used for disinfecting water supplies to treat bacteria, but cities may add higher concentrations during certain times of the year or you may live closer to the facility, meaning that traces of chlorine linger in your water supplies.

Fortunately, you can filter out traces of chlorine and chloramine with a whole house filtration system or reverse osmosis water treatment system.


If your water has an earthy smell, it may be because there are high concentrations of tannins. Essentially, tannins are organic matter, which can cause a yellowish tint to the water and an earthiness. Tannins are most noticeable when you make hot drinks, as the tannins can create a bitterness to your tea and coffee.

Again, it is possible to filter out tannins with a home water treatment system.


A sewage like odor in your water is not only extremely off putting, but it could be an indication of high concentration of potentially dangerous bacteria. This could be caused by recent flooding in your area, a damaged well or old city water pipes. This issue needs to be taken seriously, as it could cause severe health issues particularly for babies or those with a compromised immune system.


If your water had a metallic smell, it could be due to high iron concentration or low pH. If you’ve also noticed orange or red stains on your fixtures or on clothing, it is more likely to be iron. If you have acidic water, you may notice blue green stains. Fortunately, a simple water test can identify the underlying problem. You may then want to install a reverse osmosis system, which can eliminate 99.9% of contaminants and can restore pH balance.

Although water odors can be very disconcerting, in most cases, there is a resolution. A professional water treatment specialist can not only diagnose any underlying water quality issues, but can also walk you through all of the available treatment systems and options. This should allow you to enjoy delicious, neutral smelling drinking water.

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