It might be unnerving to encounter water that smells like rotten eggs, which leads to the common concern among homeowners, “Is rotten egg-smelling water harmful?” Hydrogen sulfide gas, a substance that can naturally present in groundwater or come from multiple sources inside the plumbing system, is frequently linked to this characteristic odor.

The reasons of water that has a rotten egg odor, potential hazards, and solutions to the problem are all covered in this article.

What Causes Water to Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Hydrogen sulfide gas is chiefly responsible for the rotten egg stench that permeates water. A colorless gas known as hydrogen sulfide has a distinctive smell that is similar to that of rotting eggs. When you turn on the faucet, an unpleasant odor can result from it dissolving in water. H2S in water may come from a number of sources, including the following:

is rotten egg smelling water harmful

Natural Occurrence: Sulfur-bearing minerals may exist naturally in various groundwater sources. Hydrogen sulfide, which gives off the rotten egg stench, can be picked up by water when it percolates through soil and rocks.

Anaerobic Bacteria: Some anaerobic bacterial species may survive in situations with little to no oxygen, such as deep wells or plumbing systems with silt buildup. As a metabolic byproduct, these bacteria have the ability to create hydrogen sulfide gas, which causes the disagreeable stench in the water.

A water heater’s anode rod occasionally reacts with sulfur compounds in the water to produce hydrogen sulfide gas. As a result, the hot water may smell like rotten eggs.

Is Water With a Rotten Egg Smell Dangerous?

Water that smells like rotten eggs does not always contain dangerous amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas. In fact, at low quantities, hydrogen sulfide is not typically thought to be harmful. Hydrogen sulfide can be annoying even at low concentrations because of its foul smell, which can degrade the flavor and general quality of the water.

High amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas can be toxic to breathe in and may result in headaches, nausea, dizziness, eye irritation, and other health problems. However, especially in well-ventilated environments, the quantities commonly seen in water with a rotten egg odor are not recognized to cause major health hazards. It’s advised to stop using water that smells like rotten eggs if you encounter any negative side effects and to get professional help to find and fix the problem.

How to Handle Water With a Rotten Egg Smell:

Determine the Source: To find out if your water has a rotten egg odor, check to see if it is present in both the hot and cold water. If the scent is solely in the hot water, your water heater can be the source of the problem. On the other hand, a scent in both hot and cold water can be a sign of a plumbing or groundwater problem.

System Flushing: By flushing the plumbing system, accumulated hydrogen sulfide gas and silt can be removed. A few minutes of running water can assist to clean the lines and get rid of the odor.

Installing a water treatment system might be necessary if the rotten egg smell keeps coming back. Hydrogen sulfide may be effectively removed and water quality can be improved using a number of water treatment techniques, including aeration, activated carbon filtration, and chlorination.


Even while the rotten egg smell in water can be unpleasant, low concentrations usually don’t do any harm. Hydrogen sulfide gas can be present in water due to environmental factors, anaerobic bacteria, or reactions within the plumbing system.

High levels of hydrogen sulfide gas can be dangerous to breathe, but the amounts commonly present in water that smells like rotten eggs are not thought to be dangerous.

Find the smell’s source first, then think about flushing the plumbing system as a possible solution. Hydrogen sulfide can be successfully removed by water treatment systems to raise the quality of the water if the odor is persistent.

You can make sure that your water stays safe, enjoyable, and free of the irritating rotten egg smell by taking the proper steps and requesting professional assistance when necessary.