why does sulfur smell like rotten eggs


Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs And How Did It Get There? If you notice this smell in your drinking water, it probably contains hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. Hydrogen sulfide gas produces a strong and unpleasant Бrotten eggБ or БsulfurБ odor and taste. In some cases, the odor may be present only when the water is first turned on or when hot water is run. Heat forces the gas into the air which may cause the odor to be especially offensive in a shower. Sources of this gas include: Decay of organic matter or chemical reactions with sulfur-containing minerals in soil and rock. Sulfate-reducing bacteria which convert naturally occurring sulfate and other sulfur compounds to hydrogen sulfide gas. Providing a warm environment for sulfate-reducing bacteria to live. The magnesium anode supplies electrons that sustain the reaction of sulfate to hydrogen sulfide gas. Is Sulfur Harmful? Sulfur, sulfates and hydrogen sulfates are not generally considered harmful because the taste and odor is so unpleasant at such low levels that the taste and smell would prohibit most people from drinking it well before it reached harmful levels. It is mainly considered a nuisance primarily because of the smell and taste however it can also be corrosive to metals such as iron, steel, copper and brass. It tarnishes silver and can discolors copper and brass utensils. Hydrogen sulfide can cause yellow or black stains on kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Coffee or tea may be discolored and the appearance and taste of cooked foods can be tainted at times. Ways To Get Sulfur And The Smell Of Rotten Eggs Out Of Drinking Water: Chlorination or Chlorine Injection Chlorine will quickly react with hydrogen sulfide to form a tasteless, odorless, yellow particle.


A small amount of chlorine, even household laundry bleach, can be added to any water system to remove hydrogen sulfide. The yellow sulfur particles that remain form a yellow film on clothing and fixtures. A sand or aggregate filter can remove the yellow particles. Aeration Oxygen in the air will react with hydrogen sulfide to form an odorless, dissolved form of sulfur called sulfate. Some yellow sulfur particles may also form after the water is aerated. In an aeration system, compressed air can be injected into the water system but must then be removed from the water. Carbon Filters Very small amounts of hydrogen sulfide can be removed from water with activated carbon filters. The hydrogen sulfide is adsorbed onto the surface of the carbon particles. Periodically, the activated carbon filter must be replaced depending on the amount of hydrogen sulfide in the water. Moderate to high levels of hydrogen sulfide in water will require very frequent filter replacement. in your drinking water,
to discuss your options. Ever smelled rotten eggs when you racked your wine? We sure hope not, but if you have, your wine has been bitten by the dreaded hydrogen sulfide bug. No one wants to drink wine that smells like rotten eggs, so is there anything you can do to save the wine? You bet. Better yet, we\’ll offer some tips that should help you avoid the problem in the first place. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) usually forms at the end of fermentation, but most home winemakers won\’t notice a smelly problem until the first racking. If you do smell rotten eggs, the quicker you can act, you\’ll increase the chances of saving your wine.

If you tarry too long before treating the wine, hydrogen sulfide will react with other carbon compounds in the wine to create mercaptans, and later into disulfides. These boogers are extremely difficult to remove from your wine once formed, so the faster you can detect and treat your wine for hydrogen sulfide, the better! Too much sulfites, usually the result of grapes being dusted with too much sulfur during the growing season Lack of proper nutrients (nitrogen, yeast hulls) during fermentation Yeast combining with various forms of sulfur (some folks swear that Red Star Montrachet yeast is notorious for causing H2S, but we\’ve never experienced this ourselves) Bacterial contamination That being said, here are the things you can do to prevent H2S contamination: Add proper amounts of sulfites If making wine from scratch (not from a kit), add a proper amount of yeast nutrient prior to pitching yeast (Fermax, DAP, etc. ) Use proper yeast for the wine you\’re making, and make sure it has not passed the expiration date or gotten too hot in storage. Maintain sanitary conditions If the cat\’s out of the bag and you\’ve already got a rotten egg smell, you could do what the big wineries do and add the correct (teensy-weensy) amount of copper sulfate to your wine. but we don\’t recommend you do that, unless it\’s a last resort. The reason? Copper sulfate is poisonous! grapestompers recommends a gentler, phased approach to solving this problem – if H2S is caught quickly enough, you may be able to solve the problem with chemicals you already have on hand. First, measure the amount of sulfites If deficient, treat wine to 50 PPM Rack and splash – rack your wine two or three times, being sure to splash it around a lot as the wine goes from vessel to vessel.

The aeration (introduction of oxygen) will help counteract the H2S. Put the airlock back on and wait a couple of hours or overnight. If it still smells like rotten eggs, keep going. Get a piece of copper (i. e. copper flashing) from a home supply store. Pour the wine over the copper so that it runs over the surface of the metal into a receiving vessel. Fine or filter the wine. By now, the sulfur smell should at least be greatly diminished. If you can still detect a smell (we\’ve heard that humans can detect H2S in quantities as low as 2 parts per billion), you might try to use an egg white or a gelatin fining agent and fine your wine. Add normal amounts recommended by the manufacturer. Filter wine through a tight filter. When all else fails you can use copper sulfate on your wine. A 0. 1% solution added at about 0. 5 ml per gallon, will give you about 0. 3 PPM copper sulfate in your wine. BE CAREFUL. Remember, this stuff is poisonous. DO NOT EXCEED 0. 5 PPM of copper. Fine your wine with a bentonite or Sparkolloid fining agent. This will remove all the copper sulfate. Filter wine if necessary to remove fining agent. A rotten egg smell doesn\’t necessarily mean you throw away your batch of wine. it simply means your wine has a hydrogen sulfide problem. It\’s easily treated if caught in the early stages, but you can bring in the heavy stuff if need be. Of course, it\’s much better to prevent H2S from forming in the first place, by ensuring proper winemaking techniques and sanitation. [ Back to grapestompers

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