What’s that Smell?: Running Water Edition

You step up to the sink to brush your teeth, turn on the water and all of the sudden you’re caught off guard by a smell similar to rotten eggs. Is that really coming from your faucet? What does that smell mean?

Believe it or not, areas in and around Lexington, Kentucky are known for high levels of sulphur in the water, which is often the cause of a rotten-egg smell. If the concept of sulphur in your water sounds terrifying, don’t panic - in many cases, the smell does not mean the water is unsanitary or unsafe. The odd egg scent can also be caused by the presence of a non-toxic, sulphate-reducing bacteria called Divibrio Sulfurcans. Most tap water is treated with chlorine that will kill the bacteria, but if your water doesn’t come from a municipal water system in the Lexington area or the plumbing fixture in question doesn’t get used frequently enough for the chlorine to dissipate, the bacteria may be able to grow. While it's not harmful or unsanitary, let’s be honest - no one really likes the smell of rotten eggs.

Before you make a conclusion about the unpleasant smell, run through this checklist:

  • Does the smell come from all the water faucets in your home? If so, the problem is most likely in the main water supply.

  • Does the smell only come out of certain faucets? If this is the case, the problem is probably in the fixtures themselves, or else in the pipes that lead to those specific faucets.

  • What happens if you run the water for a few minutes? Does the problem go away? If it does, it’s likely that the problem is somewhere inside your house’s plumbing system.

  • Is the odor persistent? Then the problem could be a combination of the plumbing system and the water source.

Unsure? Don’t worry, that’s what we’re here for. Give us a call anytime, and we’ll help you determine both the cause and solution of your oddly smelling water.