Water Quality/Water stinks


QUESTION: We have been living in our house for 3 years and when my husband forgets to change the filters on time the water stinks and taste bad. It has been 3 weeks since my husband changed the filters and the water still has a slight odor to it and still taste funny. He actually changed the filters twice just in case. We have never had a well before and not sure what to do. Please help and thank you for your time,


Denise Sluder

ANSWER: Hello Denise,
I need a little information first.  What kind of filters are you using?  I need the exact type - brand, name, etc.  What does it smell like?  Does it have a rotten egg or sulfur type smell or is it more of a rotting compost kind of odor?  Or something else.  Have you had any kind of analysis done on your water?  If so please let me know what it said.  What do the filters look like when you change them?  What color is the sludge in them?
Give me the answers to these questions Denise and we'll see if we can figure this out.
PS:  I live in NC too so I know, firsthand, about some of the well water here.  I live in the Lewisville/Yadkinville area.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your quick response. The filters are Whirlpool Standard whole house screen wound filter plus a Whirlpool whole house carbon filter.

Sulfur/rotten eggs.

No analysis.

The filters are orangeish brown.

Sludge is orangeish brown as well.

I did not know there was a Yadkinville, I had to look it up. Kinda of a cool name. Thank you so much for your time Steve, I truly appreciate it and so does at least two of my five senses.


Hi Denise,
You probably have sulfur in your water - it's pretty common in North Carolina.  What happens in wells, particularly wells that aren't real deep, is that sulfur bacteria arrive and start to feed off the sulfur in the water. While sulfur bacteria will not hurt you they are a real nuisance as you have found out.  What I would recommend that you do is to disinfect your well.  You can use common household bleach for this process - it's not that difficult.  You will notice that the instructions says not to use the "scented" bleaches.  Be sure to heed this advice!!  You don't want to use that Lemon Scented stuff or any of the other scented products.  Here is a really good website that outlines the process for disinfection.  If you have any questions let me know.

Good luck,

Hi Denise,
Thanks for the kind words.  Here is another site for your information:


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Steve Young


I will answer questions on residential water treatment, i.e. use of softeners, filters, reverse osmosis systems, disinfection, iron and/or sediment removal and other issues facing the homeowner. I have worked extensively with well water systems.


I have worked in the water treatment area for many years as a consultant and as a professional environmental engineer in the private industry sector. I have designed reverse osmosis, deionization, and water softening systems. I have also done work in water quality and stream and river remediation as it relates to the Clean Water Act.

I am currently serving as an Expert for Home Improvement, Travel (New Mexico) and Travel (North Carolina);

BS Environmental Eng.

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