Hydrogen sulphide is a gas present in some waters. There a very distinctive offensive "rotten egg" odour. Hydrogen sulphide gas can occur naturally in some groundwater. It is formed from decomposing underground deposits of organic matter such as decaying plant material. Hydrogen sulphide is more common to well water than to surface water supplies. Hydrogen Sulphide levels can be detected at levels as low as 0.5 mg/L.

Hydrogen sulphide can also be formed by sulphur bacteria that may occur naturally in water. The sulphur bacteria do not cause disease, these bacteria’s use the sulphur in decaying plants, rocks, or soil as their food or energy source and as a by-product produce hydrogen sulphide. Sulphur bacteria can be difficult to remove and usually requires chemical treatment.

Signs of Hydrogen Sulphide

  • Obnoxious foul-smelling water. (rotten egg smell)
  • Corrosive& may tarnish metals (silver, copper).
  • Damaged hot water tanks and copper pipes.
  • Bad tasting water
  • Greyish black water at high levels.
  • Noticeable black sediment at high levels.

Health effects

Hydrogen Sulphide in most cases is a nuisance in household water but at high levels, Hydrogen Sulphide is flammable and poisonous. 


Hydrogen Sulphide can be treated using several treatment methods.

Low-medium levels can be treated using an air injection system.

Chemical treatment is recommended for medium to high concentrations of hydrogen sulphide. In such cases, a chemical feed system is recommended.   

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