When it feels like you are at war with the horrid smell of rotten eggs coming from your own drinking water, it is important not to panic. By understanding the problem you are facing, you will know what is necessary to resolve it.

The Origin of That Rotten Egg Smell

No, actual rotten eggs didn't end up in your sink. Your water has been contaminated by hydrogen sulfide. While it doesn't pose any risks to your health, it does smell pretty horrendous.

Hydrogen sulfide can be found in groundwater, so it can end up in wells. Wells drilled near coal or in oil fields are more susceptible to being contaminated. Even your own water heater can be prone to the chemical too, as its magnesium rod can react with sulfates to make the foul-smelling hydrogen sulfide.

Bacteria and Drains Go Hand in Hand

The "rotten egg" smell in particular is associated with some very specific problems. Most of them have to do with bacteria—namely, hydrogen sulfide. Bacteria feeds on things that end up in sinks, like food particles and soap. The gas from the bacteria can make your entire house smell like rotten eggs.

Unfortunately, you won't fix your drinking water by cleaning your sink. The problem is likely in the drain. First, you will need to perform a few tests to make sure this is indeed the case. Both cold and hot water alike should have the stench, and the stench should not come from every faucet in your house. If it came from every faucet, this would signal a larger problem than drain bacteria.

Fill a glass with water from one of the faucets, leave the area near the sink, and swirl the water around. The odor should be gone. If it is, that means the problem is indeed the drain, which is thankfully an easy problem to fix. Simply clean the drain of all bacteria and flush it.

Your Hot Water Stinks, but Your Cold Water Doesn't

Bacteria can develop in your water heater if you refrain from using it for a long period of time. Like the bacteria in a sink drain, it is not hazardous, but it can make your water smell like rotten eggs.

Double-check that only your hot water stinks. If so, a plumber can replace your heater's magnesium rod. If it is determined that the bacteria is in the well of your water heater, you will need to reach out to your water supplier, as this would mean the bacteria problem is on their end and not yours.

Talk to a professional such as A Absolute Plumbing & Heating for more information. 

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