Hydrogen Sulfide and Sulfur Bacteria in Well Water

Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur bacteria in well water can cause major problems. If you’ve ever noticed a foul smell reminiscent of rotten eggs when you turn on your tap, it’s likely due to the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas. This gas, often produced by sulfur bacteria, can affect the taste, odor, and overall aesthetics of your well water. At Aquarius Water Conditioning, we understand the relationship between hydrogen sulfide and sulfur bacteria. We also know how to address these issues and ensure the safety of your well water.

Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water: The Rotten Egg Odor

Hydrogen Sulfide and Sulfur Bacteria in Well WaterHydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas with a rotten egg smell. When present in well water, it can taint the water’s taste and smell, making it unappealing for consumption and household use. Hydrogen sulfide can dissolve in water, creating a situation where the offensive smell is released when the tap is turned on. While the gas itself is not usually harmful at low concentrations, it can indicate the presence of other potential water quality issues.

Sulfur Bacteria: The Culprits Behind Hydrogen Sulfide

Sulfur bacteria are microorganisms that thrive in environments rich in sulfur compounds, including groundwater sources. These bacteria can chemically reduce sulfates in the water to produce hydrogen sulfide gas. In the process, the hydrogen sulfide gas is released into the water, leading to the characteristic rotten egg odor. Sulfur bacteria are naturally occurring and can be found in soil, groundwater, and surface water.

Impact on Well Water Quality

The presence of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur bacteria can have several effects on well water quality. Here are just a few.

  • Odor and taste – The most noticeable impact is the foul smell and taste associated with hydrogen sulfide. This can make well water unpalatable and undesirable for everyday use.
  • Corrosion – Hydrogen sulfide can promote corrosion of metal plumbing fixtures and pipes, leading to discoloration and potential damage to your plumbing system.
  • Staining – When hydrogen sulfide comes into contact with air, it can oxidize and form solid particles that create black or brown stains on fixtures, dishes, and laundry.

Getting Rid of the Problem

If you suspect that your well water contains hydrogen sulfide and is affected by sulfur bacteria, there are steps you can take to improve its quality:

  • Water testing: Begin by having your well water tested for hydrogen sulfide and other contaminants by an Aquarius Water Conditioning professional. Testing will help you understand the extent of the issue and determine the appropriate course of action.
  • Chlorination: Shock chlorination involves adding chlorine to your well to disinfect it and reduce the growth of sulfur bacteria. This can help mitigate the production of hydrogen sulfide.
  • Filtration systems: Activated carbon filters or other specialized filtration systems from Kinetico can effectively remove hydrogen sulfide and its associated odors from well water.
  • Regular maintenance: Proper well maintenance, including periodic cleaning and disinfection, can help prevent the buildup of sulfur bacteria and the production of hydrogen sulfide.

Understanding the relationship between these factors is crucial for addressing well water quality problems effectively. Regular testing, appropriate treatment methods, and ongoing maintenance can help ensure that your well water is safe, odor-free, and suitable for all your household needs.

Learn more about what we can do about hydrogen sulfide and sulfur bacteria in well water by contacting Aquarius Water Conditioning online or giving us a call at 844-565-9198.


I’ve noticed that many people ignore their water unless it’s causing a visible problem. But having good, clean water impacts the quality of their lives.

More and more people seem to understand that and are interested in improving their water now. Kinetico can help.

Mike Holmes

DIY Network