recently we received a request from ‘Nick’ regarding hydrogen sulfide and methane in his well water. Nick asked, “My 316′ water well has started producing gas along with water. My guess is that it is either methane or hydrogen sulfide. I have purchased your HS test online and wonder if you test for methane.

Hydrogen Sulfide Test Kit
Hydrogen Sulfide Test Kit
for Well & Drinking Water

Good morning, Nick, and thank you for contacting us about your well water situation. First off, we would like to know why you suspect ‘contamination by gas’ in your well water? Do you smell a particular scent or detect an unusual taste?

Hydrogen sulfide gas (in very low concentrations) gives off a distinct sulfur or ‘rotten egg’ smell.

Methane, on the other hand, has no natural scent or smell to it. The smell associated with methane often resembles that of hydrogen sulfide gas because utility companies and commercial distributors of methane often mix trace amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas with the methane to aid in leak detection.

As far as testing for methane goes, the gas typically volatilizes very quickly at ambient (room) temperature and therefore testing for it in drinking water becomes extremely difficult.

Facts about Methane: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/chemfs/fs/Methane.htm

Something else to consider: If you detect a sulfur smell ONLY when running hot water, you may have a problem with your hot water heater.

Location, location, location…

The real estate market has touted that phrase for years as one of the most important factors in determining the value of property.

With that in mind, when it comes to well water quality, the ‘value’ (quality) of well water depends greatly on the placement of the well.

We see that you hail from Texas. By any chance do you live in an area where natural gas harvesting takes place or has taken place recently? If so, or if you live in close proximity to industrial parks or other potential sources of chemicals that could leak into the ground, basic at-home water test kits will more than likely not cover all the bases and you may want to consider laboratory testing

Regarding testing options, you can either contact a local water testing laboratory (your local board of health should have a list of qualified laboratories in your area) and have them perform analyses on your water or you may want to consider using mail-in use water testing services like National Testing Laboratories.

Moral of the story?

While pretty much everyone knows we suggest a regular regimen of well water testing (at the very least annually for things like coliform bacteria, nitrates, nitrites, arsenic, heavy metals, etc.), we ALSO think it of paramount importance that people do NOT procrastinate when it comes to testing their water if/when they suspect a problem.

Taking the time to perform the testing required to effectively and efficiently diagnose a water quality problem always makes sense! Remember: It’s your water, your health, and ultimately… your LIFE!

Watercheck Well Water Test Package
Watercheck Well Water Test Package

Watercheck Tannins Test Kit
Watercheck Tannins Test Kit

Watercheck Deluxe Water Test Package
Watercheck Deluxe Water Test Package


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