While many people still blame sulfur for the rotten egg smell in water, sulfur alone does not create that terrible smell. Technically speaking, the sulfur combines with two hydrogen molecules to form H2S, a compound formally commonly known as hydrogen sulfide gas.
It does not take a large quantity of liberated hydrogen sulfide gas in a water supply to make the water unappealing because of its wretched, egg-like aroma and the smell typically intensifies as the water temperature rises and more H2S gas leaves the water.
Some would think that simply detecting the rank stench of H2S gas in drinking water would serve as all the information needed to select the correct water treatment system but, as with most other drinking water contaminants, the concentration of H2S gas in the water determines what method of removal will make the most sense.
Simple activated carbon filters usually do a decent job of removing smaller amounts of H2S gas. For higher concentrations of H2S gas, other, more complicated and expensive methods usually become necessary. In some of the methods chemicals convert the gas back into its elemental form (a powder) and then a filter strains out the precipitated sulfur.
Testing for hydrogen sulfide
We have already mentioned that hydrogen sulfide gas in water does not need to have all that high of a concentration to offend one’s nose so it stands to reason that a good test kit for hydrogen sulfide gas in water would have the ability to detect very low levels of the gas.
Thus far in our travels the kit that seemed to have the easiest instructions, easiest to read color chart, a decent amount of accuracy, and best overall value came from WaterWorks and goes by the name of Low Range Hydrogen Sulfide Check.
This highly affordable hydrogen sulfide test kit for drinking water detects hydrogen sulfide levels from 0 ppm to 2 ppm with the first color pad having a value of 0.3 ppm. Testing time: Under 3 minutes.
Removing hydrogen sulfide from drinking water
The task of removing hydrogen sulfide from drinking water can get accomplished in several ways, but for the average home or business owner using a whole house filter that contains specialized filtration media typically makes the most sense.
A company by the name of Crystal Quest manufactures several different whole house water filters capable of removing hydrogen sulfide and you can find information on how they work as well as the levels of hydrogen sulfide they remove on the FilterWater.Com web site.