Water Treatment Systems for Water That Smells Bad

Water Treatment Systems for Water That Smells Bad

As a homeowner, nothing is worse than turning on the faucet and being greeted by a foul smell. Whether you're receiving your water from a private well, or a municipal water system, foul-smelling water happens, and when it does, it can be scary. Your first thought may be that your well has been contaminated, but the truth is that there are some harmless reasons that your water can suddenly begin to smell.

Bacterial activity is often the cause of bad odors, but this isn't the only reason. Chemical reactions, elevated mineral levels, and decaying organic material can all cause changes to your water. Let's take a look at some of the most common causes and solutions to odor problems in your water.

Name That Smell!

The smell emanating from your tap can offer clues to the cause of your problem. Does it smell like rotten eggs, or is it “fishy” smelling? Identifying the smell can help you to determine the cause. If you're concerned, contact your well water professional and have your water tested. Testing can determine the source of odors and can help you to determine the best solution.

Here are some culprits for bad smelling water and the treatments to counter them.

Rotten Egg Smell

If you have a rotten egg smell coming from the faucet the most common culprit is elevated levels of sulfur gas. It most likely means that sulfur bacteria have infiltrated your water supply. The smell is the result of a lack of oxygen in a well where bacteria are producing hydrogen sulfide gas. It can also be caused by sulfur-containing chemicals reacting with your ground water.

Since sulfur is a gas, the most effective way to remedy the problem is the installation of an aeration water treatment system that combines dissolved oxygen with catalytic carbon. The carbon converts the gas into a solid which can then be filtered out. Whatever gas isn't converted attaches to the carbon surface and is absorbed.

This removes the smell but doesn't treat the source. In order to completely fix the problem requires killing the sulfur causing bacteria. Consider having your Skillings well water professional perform an oxidation treatment using chlorine or an ozone injection treatment.

Dirty or Earthy Smell

If you notice a musty smell when you turn on the tap, elevated iron bacteria may be present in your well. It's not harmful, but it is a nuisance and can cause a bad taste. Another sign is slime in your toilet tank or on other fixtures in your home. Iron bacteria bloom when iron and oxygen mix. The bacteria feed on the iron and create a slime to protect itself. If the bacteria has effected your water heater, the smell may last longer. Because iron bacteria likes heat, your water heater is the perfect breeding ground.

The only way to treat iron bacteria is with a chlorine chemical water treatment system. Chlorination works in conjunction with a water holding tank to allow for “proper kill time.” Following up chlorination with an automatic iron filter provides additional oxygenation and makes filtration more efficient.

Get our guide to water well disinfection

“Fishy” Smell

A fishy smell is usually an indicator that organic material has made its way into your water supply. The smell usually a result of barium or cadmium, These are naturally occurring metals that can travel to your aquifer as a result of fertilizers or deteriorating pipes. Although the smell is pretty bad, it usually doesn't mean that harmful bacteria is present.

The most effective treatment for removing contaminants like barium and cadmium is installing a whole house reverse osmosis water treatment system. RO systems are effective at removing common contaminants like barium and cadmium along with other organic chemicals that may be contributing to the fishy smell. Adding a carbon filter to an RO system can help improve the taste of your water and remove additional contaminants.

Water Treatment Systems

Whole house water treatment systems can prevent problems like foul smelling water. Even if you have a system in place, annual testing is recommended to identify and mitigate any contaminants that may be present. Whole house water treatment can remove contaminants. To address any problems at the source, testing is necessary.

Remember, foul smelling water can be a nuisance, but it's rarely a health hazard. If you're ready to ensure that you and your family have a constant source of healthy, clean water, contact Skillings & Sons about water treatment. We can help you to analyze your water and recommend and install affordable treatment options. We've been helping our customers in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to have peace of mind by installing water treatment systems. If you'd like to learn more, give us a call!