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  • Advanced Watertek

Negative Impacts of H2S Contamination in Water

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

Water naturally contains small traces of many elements like Calcium, sodium, iron, or zinc, based on the source of water.

Some of the elements do us no harm while others are far from safe.

Some of the elements in water like Sulfide-rich water, or sulfur water, which contains hydrogen sulfide, is known for having a particularly unpleasant odor. It’s important to note that such contamination's negative effects, which include damage to metal parts, can occur at concentrations as low as 0.1 milligrams of hydrogen sulfide per liter of water (mg/l).

How does contamination of H2S occur in water?

There’s been an increase in incidents of H2S contamination of water.

But where is this excess hydrogen sulfide coming from?

3 Main Sources of H2S in Water are -


Hydrogen sulfide occurs because of sulfur and sulfate-reducing bacteria, which are naturally found in water. The bacteria reduce the sulfates and sulfur compounds into energy, and hydrogen sulfide gets formed as a by-product of the process.

Borewell Located Near Sewer Line

Hydrogen sulfide tends to occur in borewells that are located near septic systems or sewer lines. It is also found in or near oil and coal fields and sewage water recycling plants.

Hot Water Heaters

In some cases, a hot water heater can be the source of hydrogen sulfide odor. The magnesium corrosion control rod that is a part of several hot water heaters can chemically reduce naturally found sulfates into hydrogen sulfides.

What are the drawbacks of sulfur in water?

While minute levels of hydrogen sulfide don’t pose immediate health concerns in domestic drinking supplies, they do cause a major inconvenience, particularly to the consumer’s nose.

  • Water contaminated with sulfur gives a distinct and unpleasant “rotten egg” smell.

  • Moreover, sulfates can have a laxative effect on humans and young livestock.

  • Another side effect of hydrogen sulfide is the damage caused to plumbing metals.

  • It can corrode exposed metal parts made of brass, copper, steel, and iron in appliances like washing machines.

  • H2S can also darken silverware and utensils.

How to remove H2S from water?

Currently, the most common method used to remove H2S is a degasifier.

This has been a trusted and effective method in various industries including the Oil and Gas industry.

A degasifier does pose some limitations, given its bulky form and it does not treat all sulfate levels.

An alternative water treatment method with a lower footprint that is effective for all levels of sulfate removal would be welcomed.

At Advanced Watertek, we have been working onwards to find a viable, lasting, and cost-effective solution to treating water contaminated with hydrogen sulfide.

We designed a custom-engineered Sulphate removal system for our client in Bahrain to create a reliable treatment solution that is now running 24/7 and giving excellent results as per the client’s requirements.

Learn more about how our design engineers solved this complex problem by reading our case study on the project.

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