#1 Myth about sulfur in your water

Many times each week we harotten eggve someone complain that they have Sulfur in their water. While there are probably few areas of the world where sulfur occurs naturally in the aquifers from which drinking water is drawn, the fact is there are very few. More often the source of the odor is something else completely. Most folks would be surprised and probably dismayed to know what the source is. More significantly the solutions are pretty simple.
Folks frequently complain for rotten egg or sulfur odor from their water. Sometimes it is from just the hot water. Often it is from both hot and cold water. So what is the cause if it is not sulfur? Actually there is not one cause, but several. Often called iron bacteria or manganese bacteria they are in fact one of several species including Thiobacillus ferrooxidans and Leptospirillum ferrooxidans. These micro-organisms use dissolved ferric iron (and sometime manganese) which results in ferric oxide.
The result is often a musty, rotten egg or other unpleasant odor in water from your tap. For most folks these little creatures are not harmful. Some people with a compromised immune system may suffer ill effects. The question is “How did they get there?” While it may have been a onetime issue of contamination, often this bacteria is an indicator of surface water or other contamination of your well system. That is, these bacteria can indicate that surface water is getting into your system. Removing them and then monitoring that they stay removed is important.
How do you do this? If the odor is observed only in the hot water, then it is probably because you have turned the water temperature down too low. This is common in this day and age when folks are looking for anyway to save a few bucks. Lowering the temperature on your hot water tank or system will save youegg money. However if you lower it below 140 degrees Fahrenheit, that will allow these bacteria to grow with the resulting objectionable odor.
So turn the thermostat on your hot water tank or system up so that the water coming out of the tap is above 140 degrees. That will kill the bacteria that is resident in you hot water tank and the resulting odor will likely go away and stay gone! BE CAREFUL! Raising the temperature can lead to scalding, so make sure that everyone in the home, PARTICULARLY THE KIDS, know how to adjust their use of the shower and other water faucets to ensure there are not injuries.
Both Hot and Cold Water. If the odor is coming from both hot and cold water the solution becomes disinfecting the well. Sometimes this is called shocking the well.
However you treat you water, if the odor comes back repeatedly, you probably have an issue with surface water getting into your well.
Thanks to Terry Barter of ETR labs.

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