why well water smells

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i recently had a new well drilled, the old one was getting bad tests [bacteria and fecal]. my new well is 200' deep and cased to 100'.

the old well was also 200' deep but the casing was rotting. the water was always clear except for the spring thaw and never had a smell {rotten egg} to it.

the new well has consistently had yellow water and a rotten egg smell. tests show its good. in both wells the pump was hung at the same depth.

my neighbors [1 400' away, the other 1/4 mile away] say their water is fine. their wells are probally 30-40 years old and drilled 200' deep, probally not cased as deep as my new one. my well driller said back then they only cased 10' into bedrock, which is at 10' below the surface.

the old well was filled with bentonite and is about 200' away from the new one.

is there something wrong with my well?

also this looks like a good site

shane anderson

-- shane anderson (stand@netins.net), January 19, 2001


You musta hit a mineral pocket. Our neighbor next to my folks had a well, not far from my folk's well. He couldn't drink his water because it was brackish--too salty. We drank the water from our well, and it was just fine. On the other hand...some fancy spa places charge big bucks for the mineral stuff--it used to be considered very healthy to bathe in mineral water like yours!

-- Leann Banta (thelionandlamb@hotmail.com), January 19, 2001.

The rotten egg smell is probably sulpher water. Water purifiers may help, but it hasn't totally removed the odor from my family/friend's water sources. If anyone has any suggestions on the odor removal, I'd like to hear it.

-- Marsha (CaprisMaa@aol.com), January 19, 2001.

The barn has sulphur in its water, but our house doesn't. Just about a distance of 400 ft. or so. They sunk the barn well really deep. The house is not nearly so deep. If you pour some into a glass and let it sit out you don't notice the taste as much. I don't know what you do about the smell.

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), January 20, 2001.

Sounds like sulphur water. Smells nasty, but is supposed to be safe. A way to tell for sure is to put a piece of copper in a glass of it for a few days and see if it turns black (however , the smell is usually enough). BTW the sulpher outgassing from the water will corrode any metalic piping in the house over time. Our neighbor has seen the black corosion on parts of her gas heater. Her propane mechanic told her it was from the sulphur concentrations in her house from her water supply. There are sulphur filtration systems available, but I do not know the costs of them.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), January 20, 2001.

With sulfur in your water you will have to watch closely the male stock on your place for urinary stones. Sounds to reason this could also become a problem in humans as well? Not a clue. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), January 20, 2001.

When we bought our place and had the water tested it got good results but I could smell something. Research showed that it was sulphur hydroxide and is harmelss ..just stinky. We installed an inline filter and it worked for awhile but it affected our water pressure so we removed it and got used to the smell. For drinking water I used a Brita water filtration system (jug and filter) that we had recieved as a wedding gift. It worked great. The jug has since broken and we don't notice the smell anymore. Our neighbors have no smell in their water.

-- Alison in Nova Scotia (aproteau@istar.ca), January 21, 2001.

I get a magazine called "Farm Show". It is a compilation of letters written by readers about things they have invented to use around the farm or new ways they have discovered to do things. This issue {Vol 25, No 1, 2001} has a guy showing how he took sulphur smell from his well water.

It has to do with a tank fitted with an aquarium valve, pump, and stone. He basically aerates the water. He says the odor has completely disapeared.

The number for Farm Show is 1-800-834-9665 www.farmshow.com

-- Mona in OK (jascamp@ipa.net), January 22, 2001.

Have similiar problems with our well (thanx to me, but we won't go there). Here's what I've learned. There are two types of sulphur that cause water "problems" : mineral sulphur which will lead to the deterioration of metal plumbing, is recognizable by black staining on fixtures and such and is treated with filtration of various types. gaseous sulphur which causes the familiar rotten egg smell is treated with chlorination of the water supply. I was told that it is reasonably rare to be affected by both( but we are). On the financial end a pump fed chlorination system with a holding tank for the chlorine solution will probably not kill you, on the other side a filtration system can be a hefty expense. We installed a carbon filter system and added a brine softening system as well to backwash and clean the filter since the initial cost of the softener seemed more prudent than continually replacing carbon filters at $200-300 a pop. Both types of sulphur occur in pockets below the surface, hence it is common for one well to be affected while others in close proximity are not. Hope any of this helps, best of luck!?!?!?!?!?!?!

-- dan (dcbaker@2ki.net), January 25, 2001.

I recently had a well drilled at a depth of 200'. I knew right away that there was sulpher in the water, but thought that it may dissipate after the water cleared up. It only seems to have gotten worse. My well driller had told me of a system that he developed to release the sulpher gas from the water. It is pretty simple, it is just a small spray nozzle installed at the head of the well casing on the adapter. The theory is to spray appx. eight gallons of water an hour back down into the well through this spray nozzle, using the pressure from the pump. I am having it installed this weekend, and i will update this posting in a week or two to let you know how it is working.

-- Russ Pyle (pyleruss@hotmail.com), February 22, 2001.

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