Is there a bad smell coming from your well water? This happens sometimes, even to the most diligent private well owners. In this blog post, we’ll dive into some of the most common explanations for the well water odor you’re smelling and how to treat it.
Where is the odor coming from?
Before we go any further, you need to narrow down the source of the smell. Is it only coming from a few faucets or taps? Then the issue is most likely in those specific plumbing fixtures or pipes. However, if you notice the odor occurs at every one of your water sources, then it’s safe to say the issue lies in the water itself.
Now that that’s settled, let’s talk about what could be causing your well water to smell so darn bad.
If your well water smells like rotten eggs…
When there’s not enough oxygen in your well, and you have sulfur bacteria or sulfur-containing chemical reactions in your water, the result is the production of hydrogen sulfide gas. This is what you’re smelling when you get a whiff of rotten eggs.
To get rid of the smell, we recommend a couple of things. First, install an aeration system to pump more oxygen and carbon into your well. Second, kill the sulfur bacteria in your water. You can achieve this with the help of an oxidant (like chlorine or an ozone injection) and a water filtration system specifically designed for this purpose.
If your well water smells like dirt…
Whether you would describe the smell as musty, earthy, or dirty, you’re effectively describing the same thing: iron bacteria in your water supply. Not surprisingly, this is a consequence of high levels of iron in your well water. You may notice that this smell is accompanied by bad-tasting water and reddish/brownish slime on your plumbing fixtures.
This smell most frequently occurs with hot water, as water heaters are the optimal breeding ground for this type of bacteria.
You’ll have good luck treating this issue with a combination of chlorination and proper iron filtration.
If your well water smells like fish…
Don’t worry—there aren’t little fish swimming around inside your well. Typically, this smell is caused by naturally occurring organic material in your water source. This may be due to elevated levels of chloramines, cadmium, or barium. While chloramines are more often associated with public water (because they’re a compound of disinfectants chlorine and ammonia), cadmium and barium are naturally occurring metals that could easily find their way into your groundwater.
To eradicate this smell, you’ll want to install a reverse osmosis filter, which is the most effective method for removing contaminants from well water. You may also like to add a carbon filter, which will help with the odor and taste.
If you’re having issues with any of these common smells in your well water, call Goold Wells & Pumps for a consultation. We’ll test your water supply, evaluate which contaminants are present, and come up with a workable, affordable solution. Let’s keep your well water safe, clean, and drinkable!