by Gabe Ergler
Stinky water: What causes it and how to fix it
February 15, 2021
Bad smelling water

Stinky Water: What causes it and how to fix it

Not only is stinky water bad to experience, but when you have visitors, it can be downright embarrassing. And if you’re running a business, stinky water can present a, well… less than professional image.

Stinky water should be fixed. And the good news is, it can be!

What Causes Stinky Water

Before we jump straight to that, you need to understand why it’s happening, along with any health concerns. Depending on exactly what kind of stinky water you have will determine how you should fix it.

First, let’s look at why your water is stinky.

If your water smells like rotten eggs (the most common problem), that means it’s probably contaminated with hydrogen sulfide. This is a colorless gas that exists naturally in groundwater.

From a technical point of view, bacteria (also natural) found in groundwater looks at the sulfur like lunch. And the end result is what we call hydrogen sulfide.

But not everything that comes out of the ground is safe (arsenic comes to mind!). So, while stinky water is a big inconvenience… should you be worried?

The answer is: it depends.

At high concentrations, hydrogen sulfide can be both poisonous and flammable. Not a good combination. But often at the levels it shows up in your drinking water, it’s usually not high enough to cause any real harm (except, perhaps some embarrassment!).

But it’s also something that’s still being studied, and the adverse effects depend on factors like how much and for how long you’ve been exposed. People with other conditions, like Asthma for example, will be at greater risk.

Here’s a gauge to give you an idea:

At low concentrations, your eyes, nose, and throat may become irritated. This is sometimes hard to pinpoint because the effects can be delayed. At moderate levels, it’s more of the same, plus headaches, dizziness, nausea, and other respiratory issues. And finally, high concentrations can send you into shock, convulsions, and even stop you from breathing. These effects can be nearly immediate and extremely dangerous.

Enough of the bad news — what can you do to fix it?

There are actually quite a few solutions.

You can use activated carbon filtration systems, shock chlorination, or oxidation. Or you can get a manganese greensand filtration system, oxidizing filtration, or even ozone treatments. The success of these depend on factors like the levels of hydrogen sulfide present, or the amount of water being treated, as well as the levels of iron and manganese and pH, to name a few.

But, to be more specific, what’s the easiest fix?

Yes, that was our question too. We’ve been doing this for a long time. And while there are almost always multiple ways to solve a problem, there is usually one method (or maybe two) that works easier and faster than the rest.

That’s why we created the ICS-H system to treat your entire house.

It uses a natural formula to clean your water — one that’s healthy for the environment. But we didn’t like that so many filtration systems on the market require chemicals and waste many thousands of gallons of water. So we designed a system that doesn’t do any of that.

Plus, it’s small.

It’ll fit out of the way, and you’ll only need to spend a couple minutes each year changing the filter.


Visit our online store Visit our online store to learn more about our unique ICS-H system!

Interested in learning more about a variety of water related topics? Visit the Cascadian Water Blog.

And if you have questions along the way, we’re here to help (509-674-4000 or


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