Smelly Water

You are amongst the lucky ones if you haven’t had the misfortune of encountering smelly water in your home water taps. Regardless of whether you use well water or city water, any kind of smell from your water is going to alarm you and might make you think that your water supply has been compromised. However, there are several reasons you may encounter smelly water, and we will discuss the causes along with solutions, so read on!

Causes and Solutions of Smelly Water

You might have noticed a strange smell in your water that ranges from a fishy smell to a smell like rotten eggs and smells of bleach or chlorine. 

If you are a Philadelphia resident, your smelly water complaints are valid, but they are nothing to be worried about as the Department of Environmental Protection has tested the water and confirmed its non-toxicity.

City drinking water complies with and exceeds all federal, state, and local drinking water standards.  


Rotten Eggs Smell

The sewage or rotten-egg smell is usually caused by sulfur that is produced by bacteria in the groundwater and reaches your water taps. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a gas that imparts a discrete “rotten egg” smell to the water. It exists in the groundwater naturally as a result of sulfur-reducing bacteria’s activities. H2S concerns are most prevalent in Pennsylvania wells plumbed into acidified bedrock, particularly sandstone and shale.

Hydrogen Sulfide makes the water repulsive before it attains a dangerous concentration. There are many ways you can remove H2S from the water, making it drinkable again, and it depends on the concentration present in the water. 

  • Oxidizing filters
  • Aeration
  • Shock chlorination
  • Carbon filtration
  • Ion exchange
  • Filtration along with an injection of potassium pomegranate permanganate
  • Continuous chlorination and filtration

There are other ways, in addition to all mentioned above, that can help remove H2S from the water supply and eliminate the unappealing smell in the water. 

Bleach Smell

Your drinking water in Pennslyvania may taste like chlorine or bleach, and you may notice this change periodically. While nobody likes a chemical taste in their water, increased levels of chlorine are not usually harmful for human consumption. The reason for this smell and taste is that the municipal water treatment plant might add chlorine in order to get rid of harmful bacteria that may otherwise be present in your water supply. 

Another factor that causes this chlorine-like smell and taste is due to the melting of ice. As the weather gets warmer and ice and snow melt, they join the Conestoga River and contribute to the chlorine-like musty smell and taste. The water is, nonetheless, safe for human consumption.

Fishy/Earthy Smell

Although fishy/earthy smells in water are harmless, several people can sense it even at low levels and feel repulsed by it. The weather changes are yet again to blame for the smelly water in this case. 

Algae blooms in the Conestoga River can emerge from spring through fall, giving it an earthy smell or taste. During filtration, the algae are eliminated, but they may leave behind nontoxic, natural enzymes that produce the smell and taste.

In Conclusion

The city’s water supply is monitored 24 hours every day, 365 days a year by the Plant Operations, Microbiology Lab, and the Bureau of Water Chemistry Lab, which conduct daily smell and taste profiles. Furthermore, the untreated Conestoga water supply is microscopically analyzed to identify and check the number of microorganisms to improve the treatment procedure and optimize the elimination of such taste and smell components.

The majority of drinking water smells in Pennsylvania are relatively harmless, yet all of them are terrible. You can contact American Clearwater for an easy and quick solution, and we will provide you with the ideal water treatment solution so you can enjoy appealing and pleasant water all year long.