Rotten Egg Smell in Water


Old 01-23-01, 06:06 PM
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I have a rotten egg smell coming from my hot water on all faucets in my house. It doesn't seem like it is on the cold water. I have a private well with water softener and new hot water heater. I had a water guy come and look at it and he said the magnesium anode in the hot water heater sometimes causes this as there is too much magnesium in the water and told me to pull it out, cut it off and just plug the hole. However, I have always thought the anode was to prevent premature hot water tank rusting. Any suggestions on the cause and solution to my problem.

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Old 01-23-01, 07:57 PM
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Do not remove and cap that, what you can do is replace that anode rod with an Aluminum anode rod this will and should take the smell away.

Removing the anode rod will make the tank rust out in no time, it needs the protection.
Old 01-25-01, 09:07 PM
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Private well, water softener, and rotten egg hot water?Water softeners remove calcium and magnesium, which cause "hard water", so I don't believe that magnesium is your problem.
I have seen this happen before with water heaters on well water that haven't been used much, and I've even heard of it happening with brand new water heaters on well water.
Most public water systems use some bit of chlorine. Your well water doesn't get that.
The rotten egg smell is caused by a buildup of harmless (but smelly) bacteria, according to the State (NC) environmental health people here.
I've solved this same problem by simply turning off the water heater breaker and running the hot water lines as long as it takes to flush out the tank and lines to get rid of the bacteria buildup and their odor.
After the hot water lines have been running for a few minutes, you should begin to detect a steady lessening of the odor until it is gone. It may take 10-20 minutes.
If flushing the tank and lines with just plain water doesn't do it (bet it will), then your only other alternative is to decontaminate the well by pouring 3-4 gallons of pure bleach down the well head, flushing the bleach water through the tank and lines until the bleach odor comes out of all faucets, let sit at least 8-12 hours (overnight), and then flush the tank and lines with plain water until the bleach odor goes completely away (have done this, too, and it works, also, but this is usually only necessary when a well has been contaminated by a septic system).
Good Luck!

Old 01-26-01, 10:27 AM
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I just wanted to know, in the case of Plumber2000 on this thread, how he posted an image in his reply.

Pictures underscore what words alone may not.

Old 01-26-01, 11:48 AM
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Rather than typing it over, look thru the plumbing forum in the past 10 days for posts with over 10 responses. It is explained in detail there. It may also be in the TEST forum.
Old 01-26-01, 11:57 AM
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OK Chris, here goes.

First you have to find the image you want, somewhere on the internet.

Right click on the image and select properties

Cut and paste the URL for the image, e.g. in Plumber2000 image above, that is

You will need to paste it into your response, but it must be in this format [img]URLpastedhere[/img] NO SPACES BETWEEN FIRST [ AND LAST ].

Go to the TEST forum and play with it. If you have a problem, we'll help you.

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