Getting Rid Of The Rotten Egg (Sulfur) Smell And/ Or Iron Bacteria From Your Well Water If your

well water has a rotten egg (sulfur) smell from sulfite-reducing bacteria, or rust and slime from iron bacteria then this booklet can help. Both problems are solved with exactly the same procedure, which is described in detail in this booklet. Sulfite-reducing bacteria will cause a sulfur smell in both the cold and hot water. If just your hot water has a sulfur smell and the cold water does not, then your problem is likely the anode rod in your hot water tank, which is a problem this procedure will not fix. If such is your situation, replacing the anode rod or the hot water tank is probably what is needed. Iron bacteria can cause rusty water and staining. Not all rusty water is caused by iron bacteria. If the inside of your toilet holding tank (the tank that holds the clean water in the back) has a slimy gel-like film inside of it, then your water system is likely contaminated with iron bacteria. In order to protect your well water system from future contamination make sure your well casing extends above the surface of the ground. The ground should slope away from the well to prevent water from collecting around the casing. Also, it is important to keep the plumbing system clean to maintain a sanitary water supply. Each time work is done on the plumbing or pump, the entire water system should be disinfected as described here. Simply pulling the pump out of the well, setting it on the grass to work on it, and returning it to the well is enough to contaminate the well with bacteria. The process I am going to explain here is called shock chlorination. It is a common procedure used for cleaning and sanitizing a well with chlorine. Concentrations of chlorine used in shock chlorination are 100 to 400 times the amount of chlorine found in "city water." The highly chlorinated water is held in the pipes for 8 to 12 hours before it is 2 flushed out and the system is ready for use. Shock chlorination is perhaps the most widely accepted and common method of killing bacteria in private well water systems. Although the benefits of shock chlorinating a bacteria contaminated well far outweigh the risks, the procedure must be performed by some-

Be careful when handling concentrated chlorine solutions. Remember that chlorine is very volatile so it is dangerous to work with in confined areas. especially not to drink. Here are some warnings we must bring to your attention: . but could occur. The Procedure We recommend that you read the following instructions completely through before beginning. Rarely is there so much of this nasty stuff that it clogs pipes and equipment. Obviously. this means your system is being cleaned of some nasty stuff. 2. . Wear rubber gloves. Before you begin. Home Depot or other garden/home improvement store) and a large funnel. then you should check your filters for clogging and replace them if necessary. the water during the treatment process. to be used for rinsing any chlorine that accidentally comes in contact with your skin or eyes during the procedure. you will need to purchase a complete set of new filters before you begin. you will need a clean 5 gallon plastic bucket (available at Wal-Mart. unchlorinated water. Make sure you have all your water needs met for the next 12 hours. you should have extra filters handy because they will likely need replaced as part of this procedure. Be sure to get plain bleach that does not contain any additives such 3 as a scent or cleaners.The procedure described here uses chlorine to clean your entire water system from end to end. Clogging of other parts of your water system is rare. Finally. rust and other "build-up" could clog part of your water system. Arranging for an alternative source of drinking water is a . Then you will understand all that is required and you will have everything you need to complete the procedure. You will need the amount of liquid chlorine bleach listed in the chart on page 9. 1.25% sodium hypochlorite. In such cases the system was in bad need of cleaning. If chlorine accidentally gets on your skin. If your well water system uses replaceable filters. you will need to gather the necessary supplies. Assuming your water system has filters. First. set aside 5 gallons of clean. ideally even the toilets shouldn't be flushed (although they can be if really necessary!) Make sure that everyone in your home is warned not to use. goggles and a protective apron.one who can do so safely. This is the same bleach used for laundry that has 5. flush immediately with clean water. Make sure the work area is well ventilated. Dislodged bacteria. The well water system should not be used for any purpose for the next 8-12 hours. If at any time during or after the process your water pressure drops. sludge.Chlorine is a powerful chemical and must be used with caution.

I use duct tape to tape all the faucets and commode flushing handles in my house before shocking my well. Then repeat with the second half of the bleach and 3 more gallons of water. This next step varies slightly depending on the type of cover your well has.necessity. For all pieces of equipment within your water system (i. If you have a sealed type. 6. If you have a capped type. Now put the cap back on the well or put the plug back (or vent) if you have a sealed type. Use the garden hose to spray water di-rectly into the well for about 10 minutes. I tape them securely enough that my children cannot turn them on or flush the toilets. bacteria may remain in those pieces.1). Just be sure not to run any hot water at all during the process or chlorine will enter the . Or. Using a clean 5 gallon plastic bucket. Bypass any equipment that the manufacturer says cannot be shock chlorinated. water conditioning equipment. if you are repeating the treatment for the 2nd or more time and the problem is nearly gone. If it cannot be. mix half the amount of bleach determined from the chart on page 9 with about 3 gallons of water to dilute it. pressure tank.e. sand filters. 3. (If you have a tank-less water heater or do not have a hot water tank skip steps 7-10 and steps 15-18. then you have a capped type (Image 6. If you cannot shock chlorinate certain pieces of equipment. iron filters. Remove all charcoal filters from their housings before proceeding (and replace them when done). Pour it into the well using a large funnel.2). Special care should be taken to ensure that children do not consume tap water during the treatment process. Do not chlorinate reverse-osmosis or charcoal filters. Leave the water system undisturbed for 2 hours to allow the chlorine to disinfect your well. loosen the screws and remove the cap. then that part of your water system will need to be bypassed. Connect a garden hose to an outside spigot and have it turned on and ready next to your water well. For water conditioners there is usually a bypass valve to accomplish this. look for a 1/2 plug in the well cover (or a vent pipe) and remove it. then you have a sealed type (Image 6. If the cover on the top of your well has small screws on the sides that hold it on. 4. etc. This is where you will pour the bleach/water mixture in the next step. you should contact the manufacturer or dealer of each piece to make sure it is safe to be shock chlorinated (with a 200-300 ppm chlorine solution). 5. In such a situation the manufacturer may be able to offer information on how to sanitize the equipment.). If the cover on the top of your well has bolts on the top and your water pipe 4 comes from the top. you can also likely skip steps 7-10 and 15-18 to save time and work.

remove the hose and close the drain spigot on the hot water tank. Opening this spigot will allow air to enter and helps the hot water tank drain faster. After 6-10 hours have elapsed. Special care should be taken if children are in the house. Close this spigot as soon as water starts to come out of it indicating the tank is full. tubs. washes with. Now. the better chance it has of killing more bacteria. Now.tank and it will need drained when done. 13. Make sure all previously mentioned precautions are taken to ensure no one consumes. Taping faucet and toilet handles with duct tape can help. connect a garden hose to an outside spigot and run the water into a ditch. or following the instructions on the tank if it is gas. Do not run the water any longer then is necessary to smell chlorine as you do not want to run too much chlorine into your septic system. or uses the water. the water can be very hot.) 7. Run each and every water spigot (both hot and cold) on your water system (sinks. inside and out of the house. leave the system undisturbed for 10 hours if possible. 11. completely drain your hot water tank from the drain spigot on the hot water tank using a good quality garden hose. At minimum. Now you will drain the hot water tank. 9. Turn on the electricity to your water pump and let the hot water tank fill up completely. Make sure you do this with all spigots. 14. driveway or similar place away from vegetation. 12. if at all. open a hot water spigot at a sink somewhere in the house nearest the hot water tank. First. The hot water may kill grass or other vegetation so you may want to direct it to a safe location. When done. 5 8. The longer the chlorine remains. especially with children in the house. Flushing toilets should be kept to a minimum. 10. Flush each toilet twice or more until you smell chlorine in the bowl water. Remember which sink spigot you opened in the previous step and watch it to tell when the tank is filled. Run the water wide open for at least 40-60 minutes or . Turn off your hot water tank heater by either turning it off at the fuse/ breaker box if it is electric. This can usually be done at the fuse/breaker box. etc) until you smell chlorine coming from the spigot water. 6 hours. Turn off the electricity to your well water pump. Be careful. The spigot must be at a higher level than the tank.

) 15. and did not drain your hot water tank. Once again. If it does then keep running it until the chlorine taste is gone then turn off the water. When done. the hot water tank. 17. If you bypassed any equipment. Remember which sink spigot you opened in the previous step and watch it to tell when the tank is filled. Before using any appliance with clothes. Check all filters in your water system and replace as needed. both inside and outside the house. turn your water pump back on and let the hot water tank fill up completely. 21. you can repeat the treatment as needed. you can now reset it to normal operation. . 20. 19. then skip steps 15-18 also. 18. Run every hot and cold spigot for a minute or so. etc. re-light the heater according to the manufacturer's instructions. (Remember: If you skipped steps 7-10. Your well water system should now run fresher cleaner water! 7 If the bacteria problem is not removed completely. or until the chlorine smell and taste are gone. When you cannot smell any chlorine and at least 40 minutes have elapsed. If you have a gas water heater.6 until you cannot smell any chlorine in the water. open a hot water spigot at a sink in the house near to. If you have an electric water heater turn the fuse/breaker back on to the heater. taste a small amount (do not swallow it) and see if it tastes like chlorine. make sure the water is coming out clean. Once again. remove the hose and close the tank's drain spigot. It is best not to drain this heavily chlorinated water into your septic system or anywhere there is important vegetation. and did not run any hot water at all during the process. 16. without chlorine. It is better to run the water too long then not enough. Close this spigot as soon as water starts to come out of it indicating the tank is full. turn off the electricity to your well water pump. Replace any charcoal or carbon filters removed previously. but above the level of. Run each water using appliance (empty) through one complete wash cycle (put the clothes washer on warm water setting). Once again. Completely drain your hot water tank from the tank's built in drain spigot using a garden hose.

Also. Small rust particles may also fall into your well during the procedure. 3 or more treatments may be needed for an especially contaminated system. it will eventually clear up nicely. anytime the hot water tank is drained and refilled it can stir up silt. If anytime following completion of the treatment a chlorine smell is noticed (that is stronger than one may smell in city water). Depth of 4-Inch Well Casing water in feet* 20 2 cups 30 2 cups 40 2 cups 50 3 cups 60 3 cups 80 4 cups 100 4 cups . you will need to contact your well driller or. if your well is 100 feet deep and it is 20 feet to the water. if desired. This information may be located on the underside of the well cap or the paperwork supplied by your well driller. In either case. you can make an estimate. then the bacteria may be entering your well from the groundwater itself or from another source of contamination. Any small amounts of chlorine left in the system after treatment will run itself out of the system eventually. then the depth of water in your well is 80 feet. Also. Brown or discolored water is therefore not uncommon for a while. to control the bacteria in your well. simply let the water run until the chlorine smell dissipates. Repeating the above treatment may be necessary every year or so.25% liquid chlorine bleach to use * The left hand column represents the depth of the column of water in your well. If unknown. sludge or debris on the bottom of the tank. using 150% of the amount of bleach in the chart on page 9 may be necessary for especially contaminated systems. Draining and filling your hot water tank a few extra times will likely clear it up faster. For example. Chart to determine the amount of 5. If the problem returns completely within a few days after repeated treatments. NOT the depth of your well.Although 1-2 treatments usually eliminate the bacteria and solve the problem. or if the problem returns. You may also run your water for a while to help clear it up.

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