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View Full Version : Anybody ever 'shocked' a well, smells like rotten eggs.


mitch
09-25-2005, 12:03 PM
We have a driven point well at the lake house and in the past few weeks the water has smelled like rotten eggs. From my extensive googling it seems to be either sulfur bacteria or hydrogen sulfide. Does not seems too serious but stinks! Point well is 20' feet deep. I was thinking of draining the whole system incl hot water tank. Pouring bleach down the well, and priming the pump w/ bleach. Pouring bleach/water in the hot water tank. Pressurize the system and leave it for 8 hours. Any idea's or does anyone have experience w/ this? Thanks!

PendO
09-25-2005, 12:07 PM
We have a driven point well at the lake house and in the past few weeks the water has smelled like rotten eggs. From my extensive googling it seems to be either sulfur bacteria or hydrogen sulfide. Does not seems too serious but stinks! Point well is 20' feet deep. I was thinking of draining the whole system incl hot water tank. Pouring bleach down the well, and priming the pump w/ bleach. Pouring bleach/water in the hot water tank. Pressurize the system and leave it for 8 hours. Any idea's or does anyone have experience w/ this? Thanks!

Do you drink from the well, or cook with it? Either way, the taste of bleach might not be great:?

mitch
09-25-2005, 12:16 PM
Don't drink from it, but we do cook w/ it. Looks like you leave the bleach in for 8 to 48 hours, and then purge the system, so I would be careful for a while after that. I also don;t want the bleach in my septic system, as that would kill the good bacteria. It's funny the smell goes away after a while. Right now the cold water smells fine, but the hot water stiiiiinks! Right now I'm draining the hot water tank and I'll refill it w/ cold water. Can't ski cause it's cold and windy ;( Thanks for the reply!

ski_king
09-25-2005, 12:19 PM
I do mine at home every year or 2.
My well is 225 feet with about 125 feet of standing water in it.

Let it sit a few hours without drawing any water, then flush out the system. You may want to bypass your water filter and softener if you have one when flushing the system as pouring the bleach in the well may/will muddy it up for a while.

May be a good idea to have a seperate supply of drinking water for a week or 2 also.

mitch
09-25-2005, 12:24 PM
I do mine at home every year or 2.
My well is 225 feet with about 125 feet of standing water in it.

Let it sit a few hours without drawing any water, then flush out the system. You may want to bypass your water filter and softener if you have one when flushing the system as pouring the bleach in the well may/will muddy it up for a while.

May be a good idea to have a seperate supply of drinking water for a week or 2 also.

Hey thanks for the reply. Does my procedure sound OK? It's a shallow well. After pouring down the well, and priming w/ bleach I was going to add 3 gallons to the hot water tank and then fill w/ water and let it sit for a day.

mitch
09-25-2005, 12:46 PM
Just spoke to my buddy who's a few miles up the lake, and he's having the same problem. He's been on the lake forever and this is the first time. Misery loves company

Dan K
09-25-2005, 01:07 PM
Mitch,
Any thought of driving the well point deeper ? 20 ft is pretty shallow and has potential for anything on the ground to get quickly into the water. The little experience I have with wells is that you should be into an aquafer that is at least one below the ground water level. When drilling they look for clay layers and try to go two clay layers deep for good water.
Even with that you can have iron bacteria present, this is what causes the rotten egg smell usually. I have bleached mine in the past, 1 gallon of bleach goes along way. you mentioned adding several allons to the hot water tank IMO 1 shouold be more than enough. I let mine sit from 1 week to the next while we were gone. I added it to the well and ran water from the tap until I smelled the bleach, shut the system down and let it sit till the next time I went up, I them flushed the entire system the smell was gone for a while but returned until I added a softener system to remove the iron, no longer have the issue at all now.

ski_king
09-25-2005, 01:20 PM
3 gallon in the hot water tank sounds like overkill.

I don't add anyy to the tank and he shower smells like a swimmng pool for at least a mounth.

Upper Michigan Prostar190
09-25-2005, 01:51 PM
Might be a good idea to check the water before drinking it or cooking with it. Check with your local health department to see how to go about testing the water for safety. as far as the well, I have never heard of that before. you could call a well contractor too, see what they say.

we have our water here tested by a nearby college. they give you a full report on it. My folks have a well at their place and I have village water. wanna know something funny? about 8 years ago or so our village built a new waterplant and they had to meet new standards for the water. so get this.... everyone starts tasting a chlorine taste in our tap water. Now our tap water before was excellent, no need for filters or anything, it was awesome!! so we all start tasting chlorine, so my dad grabs our swimming pool test kit one day and brings it in the kitchen. grabs a few samples of tap water and tests it. out tap water chlorine level was what we keep our swimming pool water :eek: YES its true! so he gets on the phone with the village water guys and informs him of his findings and they say"yea, we know, the state of michigan says we have to keep it at that level for health standards." 1 to 3 parts per million?? I dont think thats required for safe drinking water..... :eek: ENTER THE WATER FILTER. I mean come on! we are drinking water from the largest, coldest, freshest body of water on the globe and they say we have to wack it with chlorine to 1 to 3 PPM... NOT! :mad:

I cant even count the times I have drank water from the lake or rivers around here and I never got sick. and I cant even imagine how many times people of my dad's generation drank water from the lake and rivers.....they are still around....go figure. But the good ol' state knows best and insists on slamming our livers with some chlorine to deal with.
I tell you this, I would rather take my chances on what the lake has in it rather than drinking water with large amounts of chlorine in it. You CANT tell me that your liver was designed to process chlorine. But maybe, just maybe, after millions of years of evolution, do you think the human body might be able to deal with a little bacteria effectively?hmmmmm.......makes ya think hey?

sorry
threadjack over.....
UMP

X-45
09-25-2005, 01:58 PM
Sounds like hydrogen sulfide in the water. To sterilize drinking water you use 16 drops bleach, or 1/4 teaspoon, per gallon or 4-liter container of water. I might double that but Iíd worry about adding large amounts of bleach to your system. 20 feet is a very shallow well. Be careful about using any fertilizer on your yard. Get one of the home test kits from Home Depot and see what you have in your water. Make sure you donít have any nitrates. A charcoal filter might be a good permanent fix. Iíve use the following web site for information. My well is 512 ft deep.

http://www.wellowner.org/awaterquality/hydrogensulfide.shtml

:twocents:

mitch
09-25-2005, 02:33 PM
Thanks for all the advice. Get this, the well is 20 ft from the septic, :D But it's camp on a killer lake, so for now it works. I drained the hot water tank and filled it w/ fresh water. Smell is 95% gone, which is good, but the smell will back next weekend. Hopefully I'll have enough knowledge by then to put whatever plan I have in action. Lake is slowly flattening out and the Red Sox are winning :dance:

bigmac
09-25-2005, 03:49 PM
Rotten egg or iron smell is bacterial overgrowth. It's in your system as well as the well. The reason the hot water is so much more noticeable is that it's in your hot water heater.

You need to "shock disinfect" your well. Pretty straightforward, but flush as little chlorine as possible into your septic system.

Do a google search on shock disinfection well, or look here (http://www.water-research.net/shockwelldisinfection.htm)

milkmania
09-25-2005, 04:06 PM
Mitch,

I have bleached mine in the past, 1 gallon of bleach goes along way. you mentioned adding several allons to the hot water tank IMO 1 shouold be more than enough

back at the dairy, we learned just corrosive bleach/chlonine is...
In our CIP (circulate in place) washer there are chemical pumps that are triggered from the main control panel.... the chemicals are them pumped from barrels through stainless steel tubing into premix tanks.
In less than a 24 hour period, the chlorine rusted through the stainless steel tubing!!!

here is a chlorine bleach calculator
http://www.csgnetwork.com/h2oemergencypurifycalc.html

it does not take much to sanitize!!!

WTRSK1R
09-25-2005, 05:50 PM
When you bleach the well, run water in the house until you smell bleach at all of the faucets. Make sure you turn on every faucet including any outside taps so that you are getting the bleach into all of the plumbing. If you skip any, you will leave bacteria in the system. When I do mine, I usually take a garden hose, and put it back into the top of the well, and circulate the water for about an hour before shutting everything down. The just leave it sit with bleach in the well, and all of the plumbing in the house. I leave ours about 8 hours. Then the flushing process begins. I try to just run both garden hoses until the bleach smell is gone. Takes a couple of hours, but once it is gone from the hose, then you can run all of the faucets in the house again, and you do not put too much bleach into the septic system. The whole process is time consuming, but very easy. If you choose to do just the water heater, a gallon is plenty. If you are doing the whole well and house, I would probably use a couple of gallons. One other comment. The sacraficial anode in the hot water heater is part of the reason the hot water smells more. If this becomes a regular issue, you may wish to consider pulling it out and capping the hole. The water heater will not last as long, but the smell will not return as frequently.

Good Luck.

jimmer2880
09-25-2005, 07:25 PM
I'm sure there will be people arguing against me on this - but I've just finished some pretty decent research on the subject since my well water has just turned to cr@p.

1st, don't pour chlorine down your well. One of the many things chlorine does is turn soluable materials non-soluable - things like Iron & Maganese which can actually clog the walls of your well over the years.

A great web site I found is this one...

http://www.ohiopurewaterco.com/my-system.html#Iron

My water has high Maganese & Iron content as well as fecal matter. What I ended up doing after speaking to several professionals (as well as my ex-brother-in-law who works for a large county as their water expert) was to install an oxygen generator, which feeds into a holding tank (to turn the materials into their non-soluable state - the holding tank will also bleed off the sulphur smell), then into a BERM filter to remove the Iron & Maganese. From there it enters my softener (go figure hard water also). Then, into a UV light to kill any germies which may still be lingering around.

X-45
09-25-2005, 07:36 PM
Get this, the well is 20 ft from the septic,


You need to move your well. :twocents:

big2l4u
09-25-2005, 08:16 PM
Sounds like the hot water heater is going bad!! Had this happen in a house I owned a few years ago, changed the water heater and no more smell!

Leroy
09-25-2005, 09:01 PM
Normally I would think you would have a "clorinator" on your system. I know we did for our spring water at my house in TN. You adjust it for the right clorine and it kills the bad bugs and doesn't kill the septic.

Lots on the internet on this, guess you have read these.
http://www.water-research.net/sulfur.htm

Dan K
09-25-2005, 09:38 PM
Jimmer,
It sounds like you have quite a system, do you have any pictures of how much room is needed for someting like that.

The main problem with my water is tanin, which tends to plug up most filters. The special media for this is pretty expensive. I have Kinetico water softener that is not electric and recharges based upon water flow. pretty good when it works, I currently think it is sticking on certain cycles and needs to be rebuilt. The joys of cabin life.

dog paw
09-25-2005, 09:48 PM
We have a couple people in our subdivision who leave there house empty for a week at a time complain about this. My first lake house did it after sitting empty for a while. (water tested fine) Easy fix is to turn the hot water heater off when you leave. I'm not sure of what a driven point well is (bored well? the large wells with the cement lid?) but 20ft sounds shallow. Our well at the lake house is cased 60ft and is around 250ft deep

PendO
09-25-2005, 10:42 PM
You need to move your well. :twocents:


Yeah, I'd start drinking from the lake;)

jimmer2880
09-26-2005, 12:26 PM
If it's only your hot water, you may want to try removing the annode rod in your hot water heater. It's there to be a "sacrificial metal", so that the tank itself doesn't get attacked. It looks like a plug on the top of your tank. Remove it, & put in a 3/4" Male Pipe Thread plug. Maybe that will fix your problems.

jimmer2880
09-26-2005, 12:35 PM
Jimmer,
It sounds like you have quite a system, do you have any pictures of how much room is needed for someting like that.

The main problem with my water is tanin, which tends to plug up most filters. The special media for this is pretty expensive. I have Kinetico water softener that is not electric and recharges based upon water flow. pretty good when it works, I currently think it is sticking on certain cycles and needs to be rebuilt. The joys of cabin life.

I'm no water expert & don't claim to be. Here is a link to a system to remove the Tannin...

http://www.ohiopurewaterco.com/catalog.php?action=110&cat_id=217


Claims to only need 26x15 (Filter/resin tank and a brine tank). Call this guy up (888-644-6426). He really knows his stuff, not like most of the local "professionals" I spoke with who wanted to sell me a $2,000 water softener to "control" the inpurities.

My system takes about 2' deep by 6' long by 6' high. But - it may be more than what you need depending on if you need to convert the tannin into a non-soluable state before removal.

Good luck. Be sure to do some real research & don't be afraid to ask questions. One thing I found when talking to most professionals is that if I would ask about a competitor's system, they would start trashing them immediately. When I would push for details of why all the trash talk, they rarely had anything to back themselves up. This guy will give it to you straight. Ask him about a competitor's line. He won't trash them, only tell you what to expect & look for. In my opinion - that's someone who is confident in what they are selling you - the one that says go ahead & look at the competition.

gene dobies
09-26-2005, 12:41 PM
Chlorine in the well will only help to sterilize the water in the well but will not take away the sulfur smell. I understand you need special filters such as what Culligan Water filtration systems offers. The sulfur may not be that strong in the cold water but heating it brings out the smell. Good Luck.

pilot02
09-26-2005, 12:48 PM
For what it may be worth, here is some info offered for people needing to disinfect wells after the hurricanes.

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/wellsdisinfect.asp

River Rat
09-26-2005, 01:24 PM
You need to move your well. :twocents:


:eek3: Or quit flushing the toilet :eek3:

jimmer2880
09-26-2005, 06:49 PM
Chlorine in the well will only help to sterilize the water in the well but will not take away the sulfur smell. I understand you need special filters such as what Culligan Water filtration systems offers. The sulfur may not be that strong in the cold water but heating it brings out the smell. Good Luck.

Maybe in your area it's different. But - around here - Culligan will sell you a $2,000 water softener that you can go buy one for $400 that does the exact same thing. I wouldn't trust the local Culligan crew with my dog's drinking water.

mitch
09-26-2005, 09:21 PM
If it's only your hot water, you may want to try removing the annode rod in your hot water heater. It's there to be a "sacrificial metal", so that the tank itself doesn't get attacked. It looks like a plug on the top of your tank. Remove it, & put in a 3/4" Male Pipe Thread plug. Maybe that will fix your problems.

I'll look for that and remove it.Thanks!

jimmer2880
09-27-2005, 05:42 AM
Maybe in your area it's different. But - around here - Culligan will sell you a $2,000 water softener that you can go buy one for $400 that does the exact same thing. I wouldn't trust the local Culligan crew with my dog's drinking water.

I was too harsh on Culligan last night. Guess I needed more beer. They will do good work. It's just that they are very pricey to do it - that's all.:o

Dan K
09-27-2005, 07:48 AM
Jimmer,
Cullian is OK if you want end to end service, they will deliver the salt to your door etc.. But as you said you pay a hefty price for it. Our local guy is the same way as yours, not ashamed to sell you way more than you need at high prices. I bought my softener (Kinetico) at a garage sale and had the media replaced, calibrated and installed all for under $200. For a cottage I can't complain.

jimmer2880
09-27-2005, 12:12 PM
Jimmer,
Cullian is OK if you want end to end service, they will deliver the salt to your door etc.. But as you said you pay a hefty price for it. Our local guy is the same way as yours, not ashamed to sell you way more than you need at high prices. I bought my softener (Kinetico) at a garage sale and had the media replaced, calibrated and installed all for under $200. For a cottage I can't complain.

Heck no - that's not bad at all. The media alone for .75 Cubic Foot is $120.00 (for fine-mesh media - that is... regular resin would be cheaper).

mitch
10-07-2005, 09:40 AM
Update: The past couple of weeks, I've drained the hot water tank and emptied the plumbing in the cottage when I leave Mon AM. I leave it pressurized at the tank (driven point well). When I open back up on Friday's. Thur this week ;D I refill the hot water, plumbing etc, and no smell?? I keep the water on until Thanksgiving weekend, so I'll keep that routine up until then, and then empty everything and it sits until spring. If it stinks in the spring bleach it is. Thanks all!

jimmer2880
10-07-2005, 10:59 AM
Sounds like you have a good method setup. Glad you figured it out & kept us posted.

Man, I love this season!

mitch
11-04-2005, 09:28 PM
Came back to cottage after 2 weeks and fired it up...no smell. Yeehaaaaaaa :dance: