If your well water gives off a rotten egg odor or taste, the cause is often hydrogen sulfide gas. When certain bacteria develop in the water supply, well, or plumbing system, they emit hydrogen sulfide and can lead to the growth of other bacteria. At the first sign of a rotten egg smell, you should schedule a well inspection to identify the cause of the issue and correct it as soon as possible. Review this brief guide to learn more about this odor and some possible solutions.

What Is Hydrogen Sulfide? 

Sulfur bacteria are generally not harmful, but the hydrogen sulfide gas they produce is potentially dangerous to your health in high concentrations. If you put off a well inspection, the bacteria will continue to grow, and the smell will worsen. The bacteria can generate a slime that encourages the formation of other bacteria, which can clog your well and plumbing. Hydrogen sulfide can also come from bacteria or chemical interactions inside a water heater or from ground pollution.

How to Identify It

There are some easy steps you can take to confirm that hydrogen sulfide is the source of the odor. First, look for bacterial slime backing up into your plumbing fixtures; it might be white, black, gray, or rust-colored. The slime might also leave black stains on your fixtures or recently washed kitchen or dinnerware. In some cases, the gas may start to corrode the pipes and the other metal parts of your plumbing system.

Next, do a home test of your water. Leave the house for an hour or two, and then return and smell the water as it comes out of the hot and cold faucets. If the smell comes out of the cold faucet alone, the problem is with the well, plumbing, or water softener. If the odor only comes from the hot faucet, the problem is likely in the water heater.


well inspection

Have a professional perform a well inspection and test the water. If the results verify the presence of hydrogen sulfide, the well service might recommend disinfecting the system with a chlorine solution or installing a peroxide injection system with a carbon filter. The entire well may need to be cleaned out and treated with certain chemicals to remove the bacteria completely.


When you need a well inspection in the Milford or Lincoln, NE, area, trust Earnest Well Drilling Inc. For over 90 years, they've provided well drilling, repair, and testing services. They service all makes and models of water systems and will ensure your supply is safe. Call (402) 761-2281 or visit them online to request a quote.