Got smelly water?  Many things cause odors in water.  Let’s start by going through some of them and how to correct them.

Chlorine, bleach, or “pool-like” smell  City water contains chlorine to prevent bacteria build-up that can cause illness.  However, if you live close to an injection point in the water distribution system you can get 3-4ppm of chlorine that has a very distinct “pool-like” chlorine odor.  Once the water is in your home you don’t need the chlorine since the water in your home will be used rather quickly.  Chlorine can be removed by a whole house carbon filter, you can run your drinking water through a carbon filter, or install a reverse osmosis system that will not only remove the chlorine but other contaminants as well.

Rotten-egg smell

This is typically caused by sulfur dioxide gas in the water.  This can happen in private and/or community groundwater wells.  It is created by decomposing organics (plants, etc) and can be quite corrosive to pipes and fixtures.  If you get this smell directly from the raw well water and it is continuous (doesn’t go away after a period of time) then this is definitely the cause. Sulfur dioxide cannot be filtered out of the water, it must be oxidized using oxygen or chlorine typically.  Oxygen air systems run anywhere between $1200-$2000 installed depending on the size of the unit. Chlorination systems will run anywhere between $1200-$1400; however, the upkeep and service costs required to keep them functional are sometimes too much for a homeowner.

If you smell it just inside the home or just in certain areas of the home, most likely you have a bacteria that is causing the smell. Bacteria concerns can be treated by chlorinating the well and/or the home.  Chlorination typically costs $150-$250 in Florida from most well contractors.

New odors

City water is drawn from wells in Florida, and they will treat for most contaminants that cause odor.  Also since it is chlorinated it is very uncommon for a bacteria to cause odors (but it can happen).

Changes in groundwater will cause changes in groundwater.  All privately owned wells are the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain.  The water quality is also the homeowner’s responsibility.  The Water Quality Association recommends every privately-owned well get tested at least annually; and when any changes in the water are noticed (odors, colored water, etc.).  You can pick up a test from most home improvement stores for about $30-$40 that tests for Ph, iron, pesticides, lead, and bacteria.  You can also send a sample out to a lab for extensive testing that will provide you with a list of all contaminants and acceptable levels.  This runs about $120-$200.