What's In My Water | Fixing Rotten Egg Smell, Colors and Sediment

If you have well water, there are many different problems that can affect the quality. Sediment can give the water a strange taste and change the color as if comes from the faucet. Dissolved metals and minerals can improve the water quality, too, affecting odor and leaving sediment on fixtures. But not all are harmful. In fact, many people consider water with a few dissolved minerals to have superior taste.

To make sure your water is always of the highest quality, we recommend homeowners test their water every 3 to 5 years. Of course, if you notice a change in color, taste or odor, test your water immediately.

Rotten Egg Odor

The rotten egg smell and taste in your home water supply is caused by the presence of hydrogen sulfide. It is not harmful to your health, but it can make your water corrosive, which can damage home appliances and plumbing. Hydrogen sulfide can also tarnish silverware and other metal utensils, leave yellow or black stains on your kitchen and bathroom fixtures, and it’s unpleasant.

If you smell a different, unusual smell when you turn on the faucet, it could indicate another more serious problem, such as chemical contamination, and you have your water tested immediately.


Strange water color can mean sediment, minerals or metals are in your water. If your water is brown or has an unusual “sheen”, it is likely caused by iron and manganese. Iron and manganese gives drinking water a metallic taste, stains laundry, clogs valves, and other plumbing parts. This problem can be treated in some ways and once removed, will greatly improve a home’s water quality.

If your water has a blue-green tinge, it is caused by copper in your water. The most likely source of the copper in your water is from the copper pipes the well water flows through after it enters your home on the way to the faucet. This copper can leach into the water that sits within your pipes when not in use, especially if you have corrosive water.

Excessive consumption of copper can have adverse health effects, but homeowners should also be aware that copper sometimes indicates the presence of lead, especially in homes built before 1986. When corrosive water interacts with the lead used to seal pipe joints, it dissolves into the home’s water supply. Lead is colorless, odorless and tasteless in water and is known to cause neurological damage.


Homeowners with wells can also see sand and sediment in their water glass. Sand is material that can be both seen in the water and felt, such as grit or chunks of material found at the bottom of a glass. Sediment is material that is visible but too small to be felt when rubbed between the fingers. This includes cloudy water caused by silt. The three most common causes for sand and sediment in drinking water wells includes:

- Dissolved minerals: Hard water, iron, and manganese contamination as all caused by dissolved minerals.  Water hardness is simply calcium and magnesium dissolved in the well water, sometimes causing white or yellow sediment, especially within pipes and on water fixtures. Iron and manganese can cause orange-brown sediment and staining of bath fixtures and laundry.

- Construction of a new well: A new well can temporarily produce sand and sediment in your water. The particles that remain after construction are easily removed by flushing the well. Indulge wells, this material, will give the water a cloudy or muddy appearance. In a bedrock well, this material could include particles with sharp edges.

Poor soil or bedrock quality: If there is a well defect or unstable soil conditions above the fractures of a bedrock well, fine sand and sediment can enter the water. This material has a gritty feel.