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Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/09/2008 3:09 PM

Hi All,

Our house is plumbed with copper pipe and we pump our water from a well. In this part of Texas oil is (or used to be) plentiful and hydrogen sulfide is present in groundwater.

Turns out hydrogen sulfide reacts with copper to produce a blackish scale. If water sits in a pipe for long and then a faucet is turned on, out comes some pretty nasty stuff for awhile until the pipe's flushed.

We have a metering pump on our well that the previous owner used to inject chlorine (bleach, basically) into the water. He said he did this to mask the HS odor which can get offensive at times (we always blame the dog when guests complain). Levels of chlorine that most people don't even notice burn my eyes, so I turned off the metering pump.

My question is this: Is there some innocuous additive I can put in the metering-pump tank to counter the hydrogen sulfide's effect on the copper pipe?

We've also considered installing a reverse-osmosis system, but they're fabulously expensive on a house-wide scale.

Are there other, more cost-effective solutions? I fear that one day soon we're going to have plumbing problems of Biblical proportions.

Thanks!

-e

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#1

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/09/2008 5:03 PM

air bubbles?

http://waterquality.cce.cornell.edu/publications/CCEWQ-07-HydrogenSulfide.pdf

You could try a large-ish aquarium aerating pump and see if there's an improvement.

I didn't know you were a local.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/09/2008 6:10 PM

Excellent! One GA for you, Sir!

Yep, On Earth As It Is In Texas. Not only, but I'm actively helping to Keep Austin Weird!

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#3

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/09/2008 8:25 PM

You can add lime to the water. It will help neutralize the H2S. Passing the water through an activated carbon filter will also remove the smell.

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#21
In reply to #3

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 3:39 PM

Another alternative would be to add the chlorine bleach to oxidize the H2S and follow it with the activated charcoal filter which removes the remainder of the free chlorine.

How much water are you using that an RO system is prohibitively expensive?

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 4:35 PM

Hello agua_doc:

how are you?

Yes, I made this suggestion earlier but, 'our expert' in post # 13 did not much like it. I know it works because I don't like chlorine either, and the charcoal filter removes almost all. Certainly enough so it does not sting your face or taste it.

Take care, and a happy holiday..................

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#4

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 12:30 AM

europium -- I can't give a good direct answer to your question about what you can put into the metering pump tank. I once had a setup like that on my old well and it was a constant maintenance headache with chlorine. Constantly getting clogged with salt deposits, the end product of the decomposition of sodium hypochlorite.

Looking a little deeper you will have problems with the water corroding the copper if it is acidic, not to mention future health problems from ingestion of copper ions in your drinking water. So treating the water to raise its ph is a good move even if it doesn't fix the sulphur taste.

But the hydrogen sulphide really wants to be oxidized. Think oxygen. I suppose if you had a big enough aeration setup it might work. If you're looking in that direction a bit of research would be appropriate. If that actually works and is practical at the homeowner level someone is sure to have done it and described his setup on some website. I have a feeling this may take a lot of electric power to produce the required pumping capacity and a lot bigger storage tank.

We have heavy sulphur taste in our well water even with our new deep well (440 ft.) here in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. We tried sodium hypochlorite for a while; but again it was very difficult to get the right balance. We finally broke down and sprung for an ozone system. $1500 for the hardware (installation is a DIY) and $200 for a new UV lamp every 18 months (also DIY). And I have to pull the big tank filter from my 5000 gallon storage tank every few months and wash off the crud buildup with a special nozzle on my garden hose. But that system works real nice. Worth looking into if you can afford it. I really don't know if ozone can be made to work if you don't have a big storage tank. You'll have to ask a dealer on that.

Ed Weldon

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#9
In reply to #4

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 10:41 AM

Ed, what ozonator would you recommend? I've looked at the alternatives and ozone treatment seems to be the best approach, especially when used in conjunction with a couple of the others.

I need to have my water tested for pH and H2S concentration, and to see how these vary over time. Some days there's hardly a trace of it. other days and I pine for my old apartment complex, bless their sodding hearts.

Our well taps an underground aquifer that wends through a number of oilfields and the H2S content of our water seems to change quite a bit.

What mfr's would you and others on this forum recommend?

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 11:12 AM

europium -- http://www.tripleo.com/

Triple O Systems, Inc

1550 Dell Ave., Unit E, Campbell, CA 95008, USA

E-mail sales@tripleo.com, Phone (408) 378-3002, Fax (408) 378-7155

They sell a lot of systems in our area. I suspect they have competitors near where you live although I'm pretty sure they will sell to anywhere in the USA. My system has been in use here for about 15 years and I'm quite happy with it. I do all the maintenance on the ozone stuff such as I described myself; but I order all my materials from my well service guy just to keep in touch with him for the times when every few years the pump needs to be pulled out of the hole. 400 feet down is not exactly a job for an A-frame and chain hoist. He makes a few bucks on the UV tubes and returns my phone calls when the main well takes a hike. As I've gotten older I've started to draw the line on certain DIY jobs and replacing well pumps is at the top of that list right along with transmission and clutch repairs and reroofing the house.

Ed Weldon

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 11:43 AM

Ha! I drew the line on tranny and clutch repairs at age three and have never looked back! And re-roofing a house? Hell no! That's what roofers are for.

I did rewire my first house though. Electrical work I can do and, sad to say, actually enjoy. These days, though, my electrical work is limited to hanging Christmas lights. Still on my list of Honey-Do's.

Thanks for the info. I'll give 'em a call!

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#5

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 12:33 AM

Hydrogen sulfite will react with ozone quite nicely, so you may want to go to google and find yourself a supplier of a small ozone generator but remember that ozone is highly agressive (corrosive) to copper, however the problem can be circumvented by allowing the ozonated water to reside in a storage vessel (retention)for about one hour before feeding the water to your plumbing. Ozone has a half life of about fifteen minutes, dependent upon water chemistry, so if you have an original concebtration of m, say, 1 part per million, then fifteen minutes later you will have 0.5ppm,etc,etc.

you can also look at calcium chlorite pellets that you can get in the swimming pool section of retail stores, but calcum added to West Texas water makes it harder and more prone to forming deposits in your lines.

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#8
In reply to #5

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 7:50 AM

I agree that ozone is the way to go. On our well we inject ozone into the water as it is pumped into the bladder tank. The water / ozone are in contact in the bladder tank for a good while. From there the water goes to a gas separation tank, thence to a bi-media filter to get all the particulates out. I suppose the water softener is optional.

That will get all the hydrogen sulphide out of the water. Any residential water treatment company should be able to set this up.

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#15
In reply to #8

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 12:25 PM

The water / ozone are in contact in the bladder tank for a good while.

I would doubt you have any ozone left by the time it gets to the bladder. As soon as the ozone hits something it can react with the extra oxygen atom gets knocked off leaving you with an O2 molecuel. The O2 is stable and whatever the oxyben atom reacted with has now been oxidized. No more ozone.

If you really did have a quantity of ozone in the bladder it likely would have eaten a hole in the bladder long ago.

Similarly ozone injection is used in black water tanks on boats and yachts. Some advocate to bubble the O3 directly in the black water, others in the head space of the tank. I lean to placing it in the head space and also in the vent lines. This way you are having the ozone react with a much lower concentration of molecuels that you are trying to neutralize. By bubbling it into the black water, you MIGHT neutralize a volume about the size of a dime because the ozone will react and break down as soon as it hits something that will take an oxygen atom. Then you will be forcing oxygen through the black water, only to agitate it and force more stink through the vent. By placing the ozone injector in the vent line you are treating a much lower concentartion of stink (and even at that it takes a huge amount of ozone per hour to keep up with it).

Travis

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#6

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 4:45 AM

Could you cap the well with a gas valve and then pass an electric current thru the water in the well to release more hydrogen and then pipe that to a heater and burn it to heat water or produce electric power ?

Getting excess hydrogen out would not take much more that running a battery charger to create a current flow thru water with some stainless steel plates to break loose the hydrogen.

Look at the Water Powered Cars web page for a design.

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#7

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 5:21 AM

Hi,

if you add salts that react with H2S then these are either soluble (Na2S) or insoluble FeS, CuFeS (Pyrite), CuS ... any known bad things from mining days (Cd, As ...) exist in nature as sulphides, these get oxidised at contact with air.

If you can live with a sludge to be removed regularly then try a big tank, aereate or ozonise the water tank to oxidise the H2S to H2SO4 (sulfuric acid), set your metering pump to sodium hydroxide or calcium-hydroxide.

Sodium hydroxide will give soluble Na2SO4, calcium-hydroxide will give gypsum - water hardness elevating - soluble up to 2g/l if at 20°, may be sedimenting if too much.

If content of H2S in water is low (likely, else it would be poisonous) then oxidation without subsequent pH adjustment and living with low pH (some H2SO4) may be acceptable.

RHABE

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#10

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 10:41 AM

Hello europium:

Hydrogen Sulphide will damage the copper pipe.

Think about a 'mini-treatment' filter plant before the water reaches your house. Don't forget any pipes and fittings, stop-cocks, and ball-valves taps etc will gradually corrode.

You can add Chlorine, then filter it out to combat the problem. It should be before it reaches your house.

Hydrogen Sulphide is the chemical compound with the formula H2S. This colourless, toxic and flammable gas is responsible for the foul odour of rotten eggs. It can result from the bacterial (Sulphate Reducing Bacteria-SR break down of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, such as in swamps and sewers (anaerobic digestion). It is in volcanic gases, natural gas and some well waters. The odour of H2S is commonly attributed (wrongly) to elemental sulphur, which is in fact odourless. Hydrogen sulphide is corrosive and renders some steels brittle and is corrosive to copper.

I have sent these sites to help you.

The advice I would give is to install a continuous chlorination system.

It consists of a Chlorine Feeder, followed by a holding tank to allow a black precipitate that will form to settle out..................Add a green-sand filter, that is followed by a Carbon Filter to remove the excess chlorine.

An alternative perhaps is to add an aerator first? I am not sure if this would do the job as well as chlorine though. I suggest it as you say you can't take chlorine on your skin? If it works, it could save the need for a Charcoal filter. But it would be advisable on any drinking water supplies like the kitchen tap and basin in the bathroom?

These first three sites are really informative.

http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infwater/infremovingh2s.html http://doultonusa.com/whole_house_water_filters/Hydrogen-sulphide-removal-system.php



http://www.filterwater.com/c-2-water-filters.aspx?affid=10156


http://www.home-water-purifiers-and-filters.com/images/WH5+.pdf


http://www.birmfilter.com/


http://www.alamance-nc.com/Alamance-NC/Departments/Environmental+Health/Water+and+Sewer/Guide+to+Water+Quality+Controls.htm


This looks like a really useful site. But, go to the bottom and choose the link appropriate for you. http://www.water-research.net/sulfate.htm#options


http://www.filterwater.com/c-2-water-filters.aspx?affid=10156


http://www.plbg.com/forum/read.php?1,370742

Good luck!.................

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#13

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 11:54 AM

As a Civil engineer who works on wellhead treatment, I was intrigued by the topic. After reading through it, it was hilarious to so the kinds of comments you can receive. A couple of things to remember: sulfides oxidize in air by a biological reaction, sulfuric acid will do far more damage to copper pipes, copper cations are far more soluble in sulfate solution than in sulfide, most corrosion of pipes due to sulfides is actually cause by the oxidation of the sulfides in the lines and the sulfates that form near dissolve the pipe (sewers get attacked at the top of the pipe where there is a higher oxygen content), also he was asking for a solution that did not involve chlorination-hypochlorite is chlorination. Also sulfides are usually associated with metals, sometimes arsenic, and a few other nasties in the water. Oxidizing can cause a rust problem, or worse.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 12:19 PM

The plumbing following the well head is copper, bronze and PVC, except for various steel parts in faucets and valves. My greatest concern here is with corrosion of my copper pipes by sulfur compounds in the water supply. The odor from H2S is tolerable for the most part, but mainly I don't want to wake up in the night to find myself and my family floating about in the middle of Lake Wobegon.

And, as you pointed out, chlorination is definitely out. I'm too sensitive to it.

One of the ozonators I looked up on the Web has a high-voltage power supply, but no mention is made of a UV lamp. Having worked with high voltage in the past, I know that it is an extremely effective way to generate ozone. (Anything steel in my lab was covered in a fine patina of rust the next morning.) I'm wondering if the device features a chamber in which ozone is generated, probably by a corona discharge, that feeds an aerator. Is this typically how ozonators work? Just curious.

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 12:37 PM

Most, but not all ozone generators have what amounts to an aquariam air pump which pushes air through a spark gap. As the passes through the spark ozone is created from the oxygen in the air.

There is a huge difference in the concentration that an ozone generator for a swimming pool makes and one that sits on your counter top. If you are going to use ozone you're likely going to be looking at one sized for a hot tub. You'd have to pump your well water into a tank - perhaps an old glass lined water heater? Then pass the ozone from the bottom and vent out the top.

But - I'm not positive that ozone will accomplish what you want.

Travis

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 12:50 PM

The system I install will be one sized to accommodate my entire home's water needs. The well also supplies water for my sprinkler system but this part will use untreated well water.

I should also mention -- and I apologize for not doing so earlier -- that we use a septic tank to process waste water. As our ranch is a good distance from the nearest municipal waste treatment plant, anything we do on both sides of the faucet must be done on-site. All water treatment on the well side of things cannot be of a kind which will eventually poison the septic system.

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#19
In reply to #16

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 1:14 PM

It's fun to throw around ideas on this subject and I'm learning a good bit from the various posts, especially the stuff to do with chemistry. But if you are like Europium and interested in what actually works go spend some time on the Triple O website and look at what they say through the eyes of an engineer taking due note of the numbers you see there.

One of the things they don't discuss is the ozone compressing pump in their unit. Ditto the ozone generating tube. I never had occasion to go inside the tube but I did get up close and personal with my unit's pump when it started to wear out a couple of years ago.

This is a deceptively simple looking little double diaphragm pump driven linearly by the 60 hz. reversing magnetic fields in a coil with just the right impedance. It builds to 9 psi against a closed discharge and pumps a volume I've yet to measure against the 6 foot water head in my tank. The two diaphragms and the armature flexure are some kind of rubber that is impervious to ozone. Ditto the plastic ozone lines leading up into the tank.

These ozone pumps aren't cheap from Triple O. They have some kind of a patent wrapped around the pump so you have to pay their $400 plus price to get a new one. Amortized over 10 plus years that's not a bad deal. That pump won't be easy to imitate for a home shop mechanic. The trick is the high pressure/volume using materials that will last in the ozone exposure.

Ed Weldon

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#18
In reply to #13

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 1:04 PM

Hello Guest,

why do you not join, you sound like you have plenty of knowledge?

I do not pretend to be an expert in this field, but, from my past experience what I wrote made sense. I am not clear as to whether 'sulfides' or sulphide's' are the same or different, but as I was writing it, and gathering some things from the web as well as posting those same sites for the OP to check later, I did both spellings. and let the spell checker sort it out.

Can I ask you to point out to a simple bloke like me where you are getting the various ref' in my piece please? I may be able to answer you then. I am serious in this! I to want to learn and I would appreciate your input.

I think my basic ideas of having a green sand filter followed by the other filters work, as I have done this. Only once, but it did work.

I know the OP asked for a solution which did not involve chlorine but, it will be removed by the activated charcoal filter.

If you check the site I pasted you will see there in a lot that mention this, and, there is one very good site which sells a filter system which you do not need to use salt on.. Which means ease of maintenance?

I also suggested an alternative to chlorination which is an aerator. Not having tried it I cannot say if it would work.

I too have an aversion to chlorine, as just about all the water to UK dwellings is chlorinated. So I have a filter like a kettle. It works for me. If I had the same problem as the OP, I would trying a heavy-weight plastic pipe (perhaps) from the well to the filters and settling tank. I would also re-plumb the whole house as there is no telling how much of the current pipe is left!

I understand that sulfides 'oxidize' in air which is why I suggested aeration. I also know what happens and how it affects the different metals, rust, crystallization etc.

I have been a Petrologist for over 30 years so do understand some basics. The problem is, I also have a memory problem and cannot recall the knowledge I have, 'at the click of a finger', or in this case, 'clicking of the keyboard'.

You obviously know, or seem to know what you are talking about. It may have been more useful if you could offered an alternative to the solutions already suggested.

While your reply is useful to perhaps, other knowledgeable people, on this and chemical engineering, it does nothing to help the people who are asking the question in the first place, does it?

.....also he was asking for a solution that did not involve chlorination-hypochlorite is chlorination.

I never said hyper anything. This is, I would suggest, your arrogance creeping into the correspondence. I said only the one dose at one point in the water feed to the house. It is continuous, but that was to allow the continued cleaning without any 'untreated' Hydrogen Sulphide getting through.

Can you tell me are you a member who has not signed in or have you yet to join?

Take care, and please join as you will enjoy the challenge.

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#20

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 1:40 PM

E. I don't know what you define as "out of this world expensive" but this little jobbie at Lowes is under $500. Here is the manufacturer's website.

Here are some other options.

Charcoal filtration should do a pretty good job.

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#23

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 5:10 PM

Here is an entertaining story for you.

Growing up in Arkansas, we had well water in the country that was very sour (H2S). My Dad, being a college chemistry professor designed a chemical system to remove said H2S. It worked very well until that night when I went up to take a showever. I reached to turn on the faucet and made contact with the spigot at the same time and was promptly electricuted. Informed Dad. Dad said stupid teenager...until mother went upstairs and did the same thing. We lived with a grounded bathtub for the next several years we lived in the house. Short story, he created a great big battery.

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#25
In reply to #23

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 5:18 PM

Johnny was a chemist's son

But Johnny ain't no more

What Johnny thought was H2O

Was H2SO4.

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#27
In reply to #25

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 5:37 PM

Hello europium:

I like your little poem!

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#28
In reply to #23

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 5:42 PM

Hello Akuyu:

Sounds like you are lucky to be typing that story right now!

Was that down to something your Father did, or what?

Sorry, i am nosey!

Take care and have a great holiday..................

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 7:25 PM

Yup. Dad being the proud college chemistry prof inadvertantly created a chemical battery.

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 8:10 PM

Hello Guest,

WOW!.........I don't know what to say. It must have been one of the largest batteries in the world?

I have to ask, did he measure its power?

Thanks for the reply.........................

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#38
In reply to #30

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/11/2008 7:25 PM

No measurement of the voltage. These days I'm sure he would do it for fun. Then, mother insisted it was remediated ASAP.

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/11/2008 7:30 PM

Hello Guest,

Still, at least you have one of the best :my Dads famous for' stories!

Take care and happy holiday.................

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#24

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 5:13 PM

Europium, from the consensus of the respondents your simplest/cheapest solution is to restart the metering pump and inject bleach as the former owner did and then follow that with a large-ish charcoal and diatomaceous earth filter to mop up any remaining chlorine so that it does not cause you discomfort. This will have the additional benefit of destroying any sulfur reducing bacteria that are almost certainly present. It will also help to mop up any contamination of the well water that may have occurred due to drilling activities. Which begs the question. have you had the water tested to make sure you don't have any other problems? If you have H2S seeping into your aquifer from drilling activities, you almost certainly have other nasty bits making it into your water as well.

Often when oil wells are approaching the end of their productive life and no longer have enough "formation drive" to cause the oil to flow out of the ground under it's own pressure, operators will begin to inject water into the formation to increase the pressure. Operators SHOULD treat the water with anti-microbials (which may be toxic in their own right, but most often chlorine is used.) to prevent the injection of sulphur reducing bacteria as well, but many did not, either as a short sighted "cost saving" move or out of ignorance. As a result, many oilfields that used to be "sweet' (little or no H2S) are now "sour". When that happens, the metallurgy of the well casing and wellhead components is compromised. If the H2S is a result of drilling, you most likely have a much larger issue. H2S is toxic at very small concentrations, if you have it in your water, you need to make sure it is at concentrations that are not dangerous to you and your family. This would indicate to me that you have a cementing or casing failure of a well in your area that is contaminating your water. You need to get the TCEQ involved to find out where it is coming from and to make sure there are no other nasty contaminants to concern yourself with.

Your other option (and best option if you ask me) is have a new deep well drilled that intersects the Edwards aquifer. Certainly more expensive, but it is a safe long term solution.

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#26
In reply to #24

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/10/2008 5:35 PM

Hello Rorschach:

A few of the sites I pasted for the OP have mention of the bugs and problems with oil wells. I gave him the choice of looking, because it can look a bit alarming to see that and on some site I went to it also had moving images of various parts on the water cycle/table? Not sue what you call them, you know the type of image display. I just clicked on my mouse and up would come the next part of the illustration and, I think that was one of a couple mentioning the bug problem.

Good sensible post my friend.

Take care and have a great holiday!

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#31
In reply to #24

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/11/2008 7:29 AM

Hi,

how to judge the loading and regenerating cycles of the filters?

Why charcoal and diatomae?

RHABE

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/11/2008 8:46 AM

Hello RHABE,

Can you go to post #10 where I pasted a whole load of links. most of which were on details of different type of filters and how they work and what they are used for.

When you get the filters some have to be refreshed, some do not. The links above (noted) will have short life and long life filter.

The Green-sand is to remove the bugs and particulates that could be causing the H2S.

Charcoal.......If you dose the water with chlorine at the well, the green-sand does not remove it. So you need to use a charcoal filter to remove almost all the chlorine.

So it is...> chlorine>green-sand>charcoal.

Chlorine acts as an aerator.

Green-sand to remove the bugs and the nasty black sediment.

Charcoal to remove most of the chlorine. You can drink the water after the charcoal filter and it looks and tastes 'clean'. There is no sulfur smell and the water is not dirty looking.

Take care.........And those links give a lot of detail.

Happy holiday..........

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#33
In reply to #31

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/11/2008 8:58 AM

The loading and regeneration of the filters will depend on the flow capacity rating of the filters RHABE. You can't go too far wrong by following the manufacturer's recommendations on that.

As to why charcoal and diatomaceous earth, well, charcoal will help with chlorine and organics, diatomaceous earth will filter particulates such as iron or barium precipitates and spores that the chlorine won't touch. It will also help with any turbidity caused by the reaction of the chlorine with the organics in the water.

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/11/2008 11:35 AM

Hello Rorschach:

Why has your post been voted OFF-TOPIC? When you are talking about the filters, as I was earlier? Very odd.

The loading and regeneration of the filters will depend on the flow capacity rating of the filters RHABE. You can't go too far wrong by following the manufacturer's recommendations on that.

As to why charcoal and diatomaceous earth, well, charcoal will help with chlorine and organics, diatomaceous earth will filter particulates such as iron or barium precipitates and spores that the chlorine won't touch. It will also help with any turbidity caused by the reaction of the chlorine with the organics in the water.

Take care and have a great holiday.................

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/11/2008 11:37 AM

I think I accidentally did it myself. Mea Culpa.

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#36

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/11/2008 2:53 PM

My father-in-law's house had the same problem for 30+ years. It had plastic pipe so that wasn't a problem but the H2S slowly destroyed things like chrome plated plumbing fixtures, all silverware, and things like thermostats by weakening thermostats so they were no longer accurate. We recently found a commercial solution that seems trouble free. It consists of a water softener like device with a small tank above the larger tank. With a 5 gpm flow when the water pump is flowing it injects air into the water stream by a venturi type device. The O2 in the air oxidizes the H2S to H2O and S2. The S2 precipitates out and is trapped by a filter bed designed specifically for H2S. Then when the total amount of water passing thru the device reaches an amount set in the controller depending on the level of H2S in the well, the system recylces. When it does this it dumps the undisolved air captured in the upper tank and backflushes the S2 out of the filter system. The result is a system that requires no operator input once it is set up. We got it from a local water softener supplier. They have several dealers in Indiana and one if Florida. There are dealers with the same name in Texas but I don't know if it is the same company as their website doesn't mention them. Website is http://www.ilovemywater.com/Res-SmartChoice.aspx

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#37
In reply to #36

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/11/2008 5:46 PM

Hello KenAH:

I am so glad you posted those details in post # 36.

I have fitted a system several years ago but not a backwash one. Tell you the truth it is kinda vague on the details. But, when searching for an answer to this problem I saw several systems and just one that required no manual in-put like yours. I pasted quiet a lot of site here so cannot recall which it was on but, the one I remember (almost!) looked like a barrel split in half across the middle. I know a system like that is not cheap, but, there is nothing to do once it is installed!

Thanks once again...........

Take care, and have a great holiday!....................

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#41
In reply to #36

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

01/01/2009 7:22 AM

I thought the reaction would be H2S + 2O2 = H2SO4. This would react with the copper pipes to produce CuSO4, slowly eating the pipes.

From observation of Cu pipe in sewage treatment works, atmospheric H2S reacts leaving a black deposit of, I think CuS, but the reaction must be more complex than this as the H2 must react with something, it won't be liberated as free H2. It definitely wasn't a deposit of CuSO4.

A solution is to pump through plastic pipe to a plastic tank, oxidize the H2S then neutralize the H2SO4.

While ozone will certainly oxidize well, it seems excessive when, for a similar pumping cost you have ordinary atmospheric air available.

If you pump a little above the tank and feed over a waterfall or artificial rapids, you can aerate the water for little extra pumping cost. The tank then provides the residence time for treatment to be completed.

Lime can neutralize the acid at the cost of increasing the hardness of water which may already be quite hard. On the other hand most calcium salts of chemicals such as As & Cd are insoluble and could be precipitated in your tank, as would excess Fe which is also frequently present.

Using washing soda or caustic soda for neutralization generally eliminates the hardness problem and has few problems with precipitates, but won't eliminate the nasties. A sand filter (ordinary swimming pool filter) can then remove bacteria and any residual precipitates.

I suggest you get a water analysis to find out what else you want to get rid of as well as H2S.

if you post the results there are plenty of experienced people very willing to help work out a suitable treatment system.

Good luck.

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#42
In reply to #41

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

01/01/2009 2:09 PM

"...slowly eating the pipes..."

My greatest concern.

I have contacted several companies, and will have the county extension agent out for an assay as well. I'll post the findings and other pertinent info here, as well as the results of the treatment method I eventually use.

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#40

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

12/12/2008 1:28 PM

Interestingly this showed up in my in-box. It is of little use to me, but it might help you on this.

http://solo.tradepub.com/free/wqp/prgm.cgi

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#43

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

01/13/2009 6:05 AM

Hi Europium

Does your well water have a smell or taste of oil?

If your supply has been contaminated by a disused oil well, traces of oil will show up.

If not, the chances are that the H2S smell is purely from anaerobic conditions in the aquifer.

Good luck with your treatment. Ideally you will be able to find a low cost effective treatment. I do know H2S can be quite aggressive with copper pipe, whereas the old gal steel pipe lasts reasonably.

If you have Fe salts present, pipes can clag up surprisingly quickly, and a sand filter can be a good approach, but the stuff can be claggy and hard to clean out of your sand.

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#44

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

03/23/2009 11:29 AM

Hello All, New member here. Purchased a cabin (built in 1972) near Lake Travis 4 years ago with a well that has hydrogen sulfide problems, no iron problems. Have added a large carbon filter, which did not help much. I am looking at products from Pure Water Products in Denton Texas. They offer both continuous chlorination and pressure injection aeration solutions. My civil engineer friend is urging me to use aeration, which I agree is the better solution. Pure Water Products recommends a water test be done before purchasing their aeration system, which I am trying to get done right now. Anyone have any comments on the company, product, or process? I have had good luck with them in the past, seem like good folks.

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#45
In reply to #44

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

05/02/2009 9:51 AM

I have been a consultant in the industrial water treating business for over thirty five years and know that physical and chemical laws are unaffected by any vendor.

Accordingly, you can remove hydrogen sulfide (which, by the way, is more toxic than hydrogen cyanide) through oxidation but the reaction is very slow under normal (ambient ) conditions. Direct aeriation will help but not very efficient due to the poor kinetics involved. Ozone, is an oxidant in a much more reactive state but, it too, is slow to react. Dependent upon the concentration and total combined sulfur, you may produce a small sulfur deposit (precipitant).

Remembering that hydrogen sulfide is gas that can be vented by both heat and exposed surface area, You will probably be better off if you add ozone through a permeable rock in a pressurized retention tank while remembering that it requires fifteen minutes residence(on average), dependent upon water chemistry) for ozone to be fifty per cent effective.

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#46
In reply to #45

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

05/02/2009 10:01 AM

Would atomization into a tank with a partial vacuum help the H2S boil out of solution? sort of like a drilling mud degasser? Of course if it did then you've got gaseous H2S to dispose of. Most places would require a flare stack with a constant ignition source.

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

07/24/2009 12:02 PM

Thanks to all for your suggestions! I'm leaning toward the aeration approach with ozonation a close runner-up. I've observed that when I fill a vessel with water (a pitcher, bathtub, etc.) and leave it undisturbed, the H2S odor is completely gone within just a few hours, worst case. For an open pitcher of water the odor is gone much sooner than that. I don't have the means to measure the H2S concentration, but I figure that if I can't smell it, the concentration must be pretty low. H2S is pretty smelly stuff even at low concentrations. I'm gonna call our county extension agent and see if they have the means to measure H2S concentration. It would be instructive to see how the concentration varies over time as a vessel is aerated. Our bathtub (a Jacuzzi) can aerate the hell out of water in no time flat when the intake is wide open. I can reduce the air flow-rate to something akin to that of aeration stones and monitor the concentration to see how it changes. I also have a home-brew device that generates ozone. Lots of it. It consists of two small patches of wire screen epoxied to the opposite sides of a 4" x 4" piece of glass. I apply a high voltage across the screens to create a corona discharge. This approach provides copious amounts of ozone which I can then pipe to the air intake on my tub. Would be interesting to compare its effects on H2S concentration versus that of plain aeration.

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

07/25/2009 1:17 AM

Europium --

Ozone is pretty corrosive. The ozone system (Triple O) on my domestic well storage tank uses Norprene A-60-G tubing. A small proprietary compressor fitted out to handle the corrosion pumps to about 9psi through 1/4" norprene tube to a porous ceramic diffuser set inside a large special paper element filter at a depth of about 6 feet. It knocks down the H2S within a few hours after each 500 gallon refill of the 5000 gallon tank. The finishing touch is a charcoal filter on our drinking water faucet on the kitchen sink.

Contact me if you want more info.

Ed Weldon

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

07/25/2009 6:43 AM

Hello Ed,

It seems so long since this thread was started I have forgotten about most of it!

Your idea in the current post sounds pretty good and relatively simple.

When the Well is your only source of water, as I am pretty sure it is for the OP (Europia", sorry if I got the spelling wrong there to the OP), you realy have to get it right or life if hell?

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#51
In reply to #49

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

07/25/2009 11:33 AM

babybear -- "you realy have to get it right or life if hell?"

Depends a lot on whether you share your home with a woman. Everything about them seems to demand better quality water than you and I tend to be willing to put up with. Generally the gals have more acute sense of smell. They worry about cleaning and washing a lot more than we do. And then there is the bathroom. Usually the most important room in the house to them.

I'm not complaining. Maintining your own water system is part of the price of living in a place where you don't have to lock the doors at night. And for me keeping my wife willing to put up with country living. Besides, she's worth it!

BTW .... I didn't mention in my last post the ozone source in my Triple O system. It's a specially engineered UV tube that has to be replaced about every 18 months at a cost of just under $200 or about $11 per month. That and the cost of electricity are the primary costs of maintaining the water system. My electricity cost is high because of the cost of electricity in California (35 cents/KWH) and the 400 foot depth of my well. (around $15/month)

Careful control of the pumping cycles gets me about 10 years out of the submersible pump which cost around $1500 to replace the last time around. The little ozone compressor pump cost $400 to replace and the big paper filter was around $100 IIRC. (that's another $17/month) These guys lasted around 10 years also. Small plastic ozone fittings and some of the Norprene tubing are starting to go after 15 years; but I get them at nominal cost from the guy who sells me the other Triple O ozone system parts. Then there's about $4.00/month for the water softener and about the same for charcoal filters for the drinking water.

So all totaled my roughly 6000 gallons of water per month is costing $50 or about 1.2 cents per gallon plus my maintenance labor.

Ed Weldon

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#52
In reply to #51

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

07/25/2009 1:25 PM

Hello Ed,

I found your post so interesting!!!!!

Virtually a "how to" book on how to set up. I recall I got into this subject very deeply several months, and there is several different ways of achieving clean water?Your is one. And may be the most 'cost effective' way to go. I am lucky in that I do not have to count the gallons and worry to have to replace and remember to renew the various bits in the chain, as and when need be?

Did you notice the mistake in the sentence you chose to highlight? Ironic really!

You mention the cleaning and, in particular the bath or bathroom. It was only a few days ago I found the bath was white! I have lived here several years and thought it was a 'nice tan'! I was trying to get a 'polish' on it and thought I had ground the color off!

I do not 'have' a woman, something I would be more than willing to alter if you know of anyone who is desperate?! ;=) I actually lift a spoon and make myself a coffee some days! I am alone, but..............

Hey take care my friend.

=

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#50
In reply to #47

Re: Hydrogen Sulfide in Well Water

07/25/2009 6:51 AM

Hello europium,

I just called you "europia" in a post to ed, sorry.

Not heard much from you lately. I was wondering if you had taken your Family to a new place where the living was a little easier?

Sound like you have stayed where you were in that beautiful desert.

And you have decided on earation to reduce the poison in your well? Good luck with that. I know you are a very clever man and am sure you will come up with something! I wish I had your 'edumacation'!!!!!!!!! ;=)

Will be writing soon.

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