Is Sulfur Water Safe? [What to Do If Your Water Smells Like Sulfur]


If you are getting a sulfur smell from water, should you be worried? A sulfur smell can point towards water contamination while also making it unfit for consumption. It is, therefore, important to treat the water so that you can make it safe and clean once again.

You can go through the details of what this entails below.

Is Sulfur Water Safe? A Short Summary

If your water contains a high amount of sulfur, then this can make it unsafe for consumption while also leading to a range of health issues such as diarrhea and nausea. However, a small amount of sulfur is unlikely to cause any kind of damage.

Even so, it is essential to be aware of the contaminants present in your water and to treat them in time. Some of these methods include aeration, reverse osmosis, distillation, neutralization, iron removal and chlorine.

Drinking this kind of water can have numerous impacts on your body and while it is believed that some impacts can be positive, these beliefs are usually unverified.

What Does Sulfur Water Entail?

Sulfur water is essentially water that contains a certain amount of sulfur in some form or the other. This sulfur can either be present in the form of sulfates or hydrogen sulfide.

Sulfates usually include sulfur alongside oxygen that can make their way into your groundwater. Hydrogen sulfides are gases that have a strong smell and can make their way into your water through various kinds of bacteria.

It is through these kinds of sulfur substances, especially the latter, that your water can become contaminated and emit a rotten smell. In case you notice this kind of smell in your water, you will need to take steps to get rid of it.

Drinking Sulfur Water

Millions of households across the United States have contaminants in their water, one of which is sulfur. If your water happens to have sulfur in the water, then it might still be okay to drink it as long as the amount present is minute.

However, if you have sulfur concentrations in your drinking or tap water to the extent that you can taste and smell it, then this can definitely make the water unfit for consumption, leading to health issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and even poisoning.

Sulfur levels can also have an impact on the taste of the water, not to mention that they can ruin or damage certain utensils and metals if exposed to them for too long, making them look corroded and blemished while also being difficult to clean.

Is Sulfur Water Beneficial?

Sulfur water is not beneficial when it comes to your health, although it is believed to be since it can help meet the body’s requirements for this element. However, this kind of requirement should ideally be fulfilled through food and supplements.

Sulfur water itself will not benefit you since it comes from all kinds of sources and could result in contamination of the water as well. This can then also lead to health problems, especially if ingested in large amounts.


What to Do If Your Water Smells Like Sulfur

In case your water smells like sulfur, then this is a sure sign of contamination. Usually, the water will smell like rotting eggs, making it easier for you to identify the contamination and avoid drinking that water.

What exactly can you do if your water smells like sulfur? You can go through the following methods to figure it out.


It is essential for you to ask a professional to test the water for you so that they can help you figure out the nature of the issue. Based on the results of this test, you can become more aware of the excess minerals present in your water, how much of them are present and what you should do to get rid of them.


Aeration is the process of introducing air to contaminated water, especially if your water has a high concentration of hydrogen sulfide. In this process, the air is mixed around the water so that all the gases present in the water can no longer persist in the water.

Further, this can also oxidize some of the elements present in the water, including sulfur (hydrogen sulfide) so that they can no longer present a threat of contamination to the water, making it safe for drinking.

You will need to spend some money on this method by buying an aeration unit for your household.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is a process in which you can install a porous membrane-like structure into your water system. Through this membrane, all the contaminants will get caught inside the membrane so that they do not enter the taps when you open them for water consumption.

While the membrane keeps the substances inside, it allows the clean water to move through it so that it can make its way through the water system.

It is essential to opt for a good enough system that can help you achieve this process.


Within distillation, the water that enters the distillation unit undergoes boiling to form steam and then condenses back to its liquid state. The steam vapors that form tend to leave behind the contaminants or sulfur present in the water, retaining them behind.

This can then allow the steam that condenses to be completely free of harmful amounts of sulfur.

This is quite an effective method to remove sulfur from the water due to its high success rate. However, it is important to buy a reputed and reliable distillation unit so that you can clean out your water from sulfur completely.


Neutralization is another process that you can consider if your water smells like sulfur. During this process, neutralizing compounds such as hydrogen peroxide are brought into contact with the water through the relevant product.

When this happens, the compound can then oxidize the sulfur present in the water in the form of hydrogen sulfide. This can successfully get rid of the foul smell from your water.

Make sure you opt for a good product so that you can ensure that your water remains clean for a long time. You will also need to check how much of it you will need to use based on the size of your tap/drinking water system.


Using chlorine in your water can be another good option when it comes to getting rid of the sulfur smell from your water. This usually works better with hydrogen sulfide instead of sulfates, so make sure you confirm the kind of contamination that you have through the water test.

When the chlorine comes into contact with the water, it can form a chemical reaction with the compound, breaking it down into harmless elements and getting rid of the bad smell.

Chlorine systems can help you out with this process.

Iron Filter

Another way for you to remove the sulfur from your water along with its smell is to get rid of the hydrogen sulfide using an iron filter that will form a reaction with the compound and break it down, separating the sulfur element from the compound.

Once this sulfur settles down, it can get collected in the filtering unit which can then completely eliminate the sulfur from the water system. This way, the water that you then make use of through your taps will no longer have high concentrations of sulfur.

Once again, the quality of the filter along with the size of your household unit can make a difference.


Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Sulfur Is Safe in Drinking Water?

Very small quantities of sulfur are usually harmless when it comes to drinking water. However, high concentrations can cause quite a bit of harm. Usually, 0.5-2 parts per million (ppm) of hydrogen sulfide can result in odors and strange tastes.

Are There Other Contaminants to Look Out For?

Arsenic, fluoride, manganese, iron, uranium, pollutants and a lot more can contaminate your water and lead to health issues.

Why Is Sulfur in Drinking Water?

Sulfur can come from pollutants and by-products or it can simply make its way into the drinking water from the ground. Chemical reactions in the water can also result in its occurrence.

How Should I Prevent Excess Sulfur from Getting into Water?

You can prevent excess sulfur from getting into the water by regularly testing your water and opting for cleaning systems that can keep filtering out the contaminants on a regular basis.

How Often Should I Get My Water Tested?

You should get your household water tested on a regular basis, with once a year being a good standard to follow. This can help you take the necessary actions well in advance.

Final Remarks

It is now clear that sulfur water is not safe, especially when the sulfur is present in large amounts and concentrations. This can not only lead to a bad smell and taste but can also cause several health problems, which is why it is important to install good cleaning units before and/or after the contamination.

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