Clean Tap WaterDo yourself a favor now and check your tap water. Try to see if it smells of rotten eggs. If it doesn’t, you’re lucky. If it does, not so much. What it means is that your tap water is contaminated with sulfur, a pollutant that does a lot more than smell bad. Try looking it up on sites like and you’ll realize why.

Quick Facts About Sulfur

Sulfur is what makes you tear up while you chop onions. It’s also responsible for that strong smell. In water, it’s characterized by the smell of rotten eggs. Know that the presence of sulfur alone is not dangerous. But it also heralds the fact that the water might be highly polluted.

Why sulfur, of all things? Bacteria produce it live in oxygen-deficient places like deep wells and plumbing systems. In there, they eat decaying organic matter. Hydrogen sulfide gas is subsequently produced as a result. This gets trapped inside the pipes over time.

Possible Health Effects

First off, know that sulfur plays a role in human nutrition. Eggs, fish, and poultry contain good amounts of sulfur. If you want good hair, skin, and nails, you’re to ingest foods with a good amount of sulfur content. But the problem lies in taking too much, like everything else. Diarrhea and dehydration are the biggest threats to human health of too much sulfur consumption.

There are two different compounds involved in this: sulfate and hydrogen sulfide. The former is known to cause dehydration because of a laxative effect. But the good thing is, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria don’t harm humans at all. As for the latter, it’s flammable and poisonous. High concentrations of hydrogen sulfide are known to cause nausea and illness. It may even cause death.

How To Treat Sulfur-Laced Water

Numerous treatment options exist. The sulfur can be oxidized using aeration, chlorination, and ozone, to name a few. Aeration works by using oxygen to react to the hydrogen sulfate. An odorless, dissolved sulfate is the result. Carbon filtration, on the other hand, makes use of an activated carbon filter. Lastly, there’s what’s known as “shock chlorination”—it reduces the amount of sulfur-producing bacteria.