Well Water Odor

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  #1  
Old 07-02-07, 06:58 AM
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Well Water Odor

I have been using the same water softener since the house was built in 2000. Never had an odor issue (rotten eggs from cold water tap) before. Just started a few months ago, and thought it was from the brine tank not being refilled when near empty. Regenerates twice a week (3 of us in the house) and brine tank has been refilled timely over the last few months - using the ironout stuff.

There is some sort of control piece that needs to be cleaned periodically, usually collects iron-like (reddish) deposits. I cleaned this about 3 years ago, and haven't done any maintenance since - other than keep salt in the tank.

Ready to call aqua-solutions to see what they say, but I figure they will just sell me a purification/filtration system costing thousands of dollars, and probably a new pressure tank and water softener too!! While this may be a good idea, I would rather install something myself and save the money.

Any recommendations?
 
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Old 07-02-07, 11:08 AM
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Rotten Egg Odor

Odors can be caused by metals, gases or bacteria, so we have to do a little detective work.

Is the odor only on the cold water - Do you notice any unpleasant tastes also ? Is the odor more pronounced at one faucet than another ?

Does the unsoftened water have odor ?


The following tests would be extremely helpful in understanding the situation a little better:-

Influent:- Hardness, Iron, pH, TDS
Effluent Hot:- Hardness, Iron, pH, TDS
Effluent Cold:- Hardness, Iron, pH, TDS
 
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Old 07-02-07, 12:47 PM
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I figured I would have to do some more leg work, but this is for starters:

In the house, only COLD water smells and from ALL faucets.
Outside (unsoftened) water does NOT smell.

I used one of those litmus paper tests a few years back and it said my water was not hard. In fact, soap always lathers up, however, it has always taken awhile to wash the soap off when showering. Is that a trait of water that is too soft??

Can I perform any of the tests you mentioned myself? any recommendations?
 
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Old 07-02-07, 03:14 PM
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Testing Water

The tests are pretty simple to do. Hach (www.hach.com) sells affordable soft water test kits and tests for many other contaminants that meet EPA standards.

Their p/n 2755240 is a combination 5-in-1 test strip for $13.49 for a bottle of 50 strips that will test hardness, pH, total alk. free & total chlorine.

Their p/n 2645325 is a 0-5ppm iron test strip - $16.49 for 25 tests

Hanna (hannainst.com) makes a very reasonable line of portable TDS testers, the HI6301 or HI98302 would be the ones that I would recommend for you.

======================================================

Your local WQA certified water specialist could perform all those test for you and provide on-site troubleshooting also.

It's really interesting that your hot water has no odor, this sounds like an interesting case...
 
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Old 07-09-07, 11:42 AM
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"It's really interesting that your hot water has no odor, this sounds like an interesting case..."

except that I've had water odor problems where the hot water heater has destroyed whatever odor-causing substance was in the supply...bacteria is one I can think of where this could happen.

If you had an "event" that caused bacteria in your lines at one time, and the problem is now corrected but the lines have a bacterial film, they can be "shocked" by attaching a filter housing to your line and chlorinating your house lines. The same can be done to your hot water heater by adding 1/4 cup of bleach where the water supply feeds into it.
 
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Old 07-10-07, 10:35 AM
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You say "Interesting", I say SCARY....

Sounds like I need to test for bacteria too. Do any of the DIY test kits test for bacteria? Or should I just have someone come in and test?

How do I find my "local WQA certified water specialist"?

Thanks.
 
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Old 07-10-07, 11:48 AM
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WQA Specialists and state labs

Go to wqa.org and click on "Find a water professional". You can then search by state, zip code etc..

Odor-causing bacteria can be awkward to test for, since there are so many potential suspects and very few of them are actually "harmful".

Colilert kits (manufactured by idexx ) are available from some suppliers, but I wouldn't recommend dIY on that test, since you want absolute results.
If you want peace of mind, you should contact a local state-certified testing lab and have a screening done for pathogenic bacterial indicators, which will require you to use a sanitary sampling method with their supplied sanitary container.

Did you get any of the other inorganic test data yet ?
 
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Old 07-23-07, 10:46 AM
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I looked at hach.com and also h20kits.com and was going to order the following test kit. Do you have a reason for using hach.ocm or are all of the strip-tests pretty much the same? Below is a link for the kit I was going to purchase. If anything comes up negative I will prob. bring in a professional for further testing.



http://www.h2okits.com/site/1286521/product/Complete%20Water%20Test%20Kit
 
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Old 07-23-07, 07:55 PM
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Water test kits

I like Hach due to their record of consistency and quality. Hach is the defacto standard in our industry. That particular kit will work fine though.

I'm excited to hear the results.
 
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Old 07-27-07, 06:27 PM
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Samples taken from kitchen sink - cold tap. Noticed that the rotten egg smell has almost gone away in the past week, possibly from heavy rains in my area changing the chemistry of whatever is down at the well level.

Test Results:

Bacteria: 48 hr test - started this afternoon - will post back results

Hydrogen Sulfide, Total Nitrate, Nitrite, Chloride, Free Chlorine, Total Hardness, Copper and Iron: ALL Zero.

Sulfate: >250 (probably the rotten egg smell)
pH: 6.5
Total Alkalinity: 120
Total Chloride: 1.0

Regarding Sulfate, I read on the water test kit data sheet the following sentences: "There have been documented situations where hydrogen sulfide has fouled water softener resin beds. This can often be verified if there is a smell in the softened water, but no smell in the system's un-softened water."


This may explain why the unsoftened water never smelled ?
 
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Old 07-28-07, 10:45 AM
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Sulfates and odor

Sulfates (SO4) actually have no discernable odor in water - even at those high levels. They will tend to have a laxative effect though.

Do you have any discoloration/deposits inside your toilet tanks ?

Is your kitchen sink plumbed soft or hard ?

Did you get a chance to test the hot water also ?

How deep is your well ?
 
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Old 07-28-07, 11:49 AM
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No discoloration in toilet tanks.

ALL inside faucets go through the softener, only outside hosebib and sprinklers are "hard" plumbed. So kitchen sink is "soft"


No, didn't test hot water. Test kit came with 2 of everything (except only 1 bacteria test) so I could test the hot, but I was going to wait and see if the odor comes back or intensifies, then retest the cold. Is it worth testing the hot now? I can always order another test kit to retest again later - it's only $29 with shipping.
 
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Old 07-30-07, 05:51 PM
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Bacteria test results: Negative.

Not sure how deep well is, I initially thought 80 ft, but someone told me code was much deeper and it's prob. a few hundred feet. I will see if I can find out for sure.
 
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Old 08-03-07, 09:02 AM
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you could be looking way too deep on this thing......what type of pressure tank do you use?
 
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Old 08-03-07, 01:31 PM
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Amtrol. This was the builder's special (7 years old now) and may have problems. When my sprinklers run, the well pump kicks on every 40 seconds or so. I am contemplating replacing the tank anyway. You think this could be the source of the problem??
 
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Old 08-04-07, 05:13 PM
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ALOT of times bladder tanks are the problem......they breed bacteria....the odor from the bacteria is released when it comes into contact with oxygen.....with a bladder tank this happens inside the home at the faucets.....when you use a galvanized tank you have an AVC that allows air in and out.....in my years experience, I replaced MANY tanks, and NEVER installed a bladder.....just a suggestion!
 
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Old 08-05-07, 06:55 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion, and I do need suggestions! What brand tank do you recommend? Can I buy this and install myself or should I hire a professional? Also, how does this type of tank differ from a bladder tank? What are the pros and cons?

Thanks.
 
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Old 08-10-07, 08:00 AM
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Just go to your well supply house and tell them you need a galvanized tank.....brand doesn't matter.....they are easy to install.....talk to the guys there, I'm sure they can walk you thru it .......it differs from a bladder in that it has no bladder......they are easy to maintain....easy to chlorinate occasionally....and they last a long time.....
 
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Old 12-15-07, 08:47 AM
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Well water odor

I have a problem with private well water odor. My original deep well (265 feet) had a casing failure after 27 years and a new well was installed 25 feet from the original and to the same depth. Almost immediately I began to notice a "hydrogen sulphide type" odor in hot and cold water. Water drawn from the well head has a clean fresh smell and after several days in a closed container still has no odor. The new system has a submerged pump, bladder tank, and water softener. The original system had a deep jet pump, bladder tank, and (the same) water softener. Chlorination of the system (twice so far) removed the odor for several months but it always returns. From the posts I've read here it sounds like iron bacteria may be the culprit. Is the lack of odor in the well head water consistent with iron bacteria? Is there a remedy other than periodic chlorination of the well and house plumbing? This is my first post to this group and I've tried to read all that pertains to this question so please excuse me if this question has been previously answered. Thanks.
 
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Old 12-15-07, 09:19 AM
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Iron bacteria doesn't usually come off as a sulfur smell. It is usually a musty or mildewy smell...hard to describe, but not like rotten eggs.

Do you have a reddish 'mud' inside your toilet tank? An oily film on the surface of the water? These are often indications of bacterial iron.

Since your odor is coming from both cold and hot, chance are it is coming from the well instead of an isolated location such as the water heater. Do you have any 'deae-end' plumbing? ie., long sections of pipe where water doesn't flow through.

When you sanitized the well, did yhou also sanitize the plumbing? All sections must be affected to prevent colonization of the bacteria.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II

With chronic odors problems, a POE (point of entry)deodorizing system may be needed.
 
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Old 01-11-08, 04:00 PM
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smelly well water

The odor is stronger at times but smells more like sulphur than musty or mildew.

There is no red mud deposit in the toilet tank or oily film on the water. A black discoloration of the walls of the toilet tank is present. I have a water to air heat pump that exhausts through lawn sprinklers and over time a reddish slimely "mud" does form on the sprinkler heads.

No dead end plumbing. Most of the pipes see fairly frequent flow.

When I've chlorinated the well (twice now) I pour 1 gallon of bleach through the plug in the top of the casing. I connect a hose to the bib at the well head and direct the water back into the well through the plug hole. I let the water circulate until I begin to smell the bleach. I then open various faucets in the plumbing system until I smell the bleach. I then let the system sit that way for 5 or 6 hours. I then open the outside hose bibs (to protect my septic tank) around the house and let the water run until the bleach smell is gone. I then open faucets inside the house to eliminate the rest of the bleach smell. So I get bleach into the well and the plumbing including a little into the water heaters (both relatively new). This eliminates the smell for 2 or 3 months (or has the two times I've done it).

Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 04-02-08, 12:22 PM
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Lightbulb Had the same thing!

I'm in Millstone & I had the same problem.
We found out it was sulphur - a gas that seems to be letting loose by the building in the area.
1st, the company that came out removed the anode rod from our hot water heater. That took care of the smell in the hot water, but it came back in the cold. Then we had them put in a carbon post filter. That has worked fine. You only need to replace the filter when the smell comes back.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!! BE CAREFUL OF AQUA SOLUTIONS!!! We called them first and they came in and bad mouthed other local companies BAD!!! According to them, the equipment was junk & should be replaced at a sum of over $8,000.00!! We called another Millstone-based company and they came out, serviced the stuff we had & fixed the smelly water problem.
 
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Old 12-29-08, 10:31 AM
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Dead smell in water

We have an odor in our water - not the sulfur, rotten egg odor (we are familiar with this and occasionally get it when we do lots of laundry & the aerator can't keep up) - this odor is more like something rotting or a dead animal......
We moved into the home about 10 months ago - it was previosuly a model home & sat virtually unused for two years. We have an artesian well and have been told with a well of this depth that the smell is not coming from the water source.
The smell began in November; we had the system shocked with chlorine and the smell was gone until a few days ago.
The smell comes from both hot and cold faucets.
I've been told by the health dept that this is unusual for artesian well water and sounds as if maybe something has crawled into the aerator, or maybe we need to clean the bladder tank. Before we get to an expense like cleaning/replacing the bladder, is it possible something could have crawled into the aerator and is somewhere we can't see it? Because we've cleaned the aerator several times since moving in and never seen any signs of "critters". And the water pressure is fine, no sign of any blockage.
We had a water softener installed in April; could this be causing the smell?
Thanks for any input! (And in the meantime, we're going to bottled water for drinking.)
 
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