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Rotten egg smelling water?

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Jeff Horton

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Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Did an inspection on a home on city water in town today. Vacant and probably been that way a while. It's a USDA loan so I was doing an inspection also. I turned on the sink, flushed the toilet and turned on the shower and started to notice this really foul smell. I wasn't sure what it was honestly but it stunk.

I went the 2nd bath and repeated the procedure and smelled it again. When I ran the kitchen sink I smelled the same thing so no doubt it was the water or something in the P-traps in the drain lines.

Never ran into this before and not sure what to make of it. House is 30+ years old and plumbed with galvanized pipe. Noticed some rust in the water when I turned it on. But that shouldn't cause that smell. I am leaning toward something in traps. Anyone have an ideas? The oder was very strong too.
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

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Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
Sulfur water???

Used to pump that stinky stuff from a well at the campsite when we went dirt bike riding in West Virginia eons ago. Worst part was...when you washed with it, you smelled like it too......Made for a really foul smelling tent at night :lol: :lol:


Ben
 

Nancy in Friday Harbor

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Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Washington
Jeff,

I'm certainly not an expert here but......

If the water has a high sulfer content to begin with, the longer it stands in the pipes and hot water tank, the nastier it smells.

I bought a house a couple of years ago that had been vacant for about a year. Turned on the water........and thought I'd NEVER be able to live there on account of the rotten eggs (sulfer) smell of the water. It cleared up in a few days (WHEW!!) and I lived there happily for several years.

Your's is probably is a similar situation. On the other hand......I might condition the value on the smell disappearing. 8O
 

Bobby Bucks

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Jan 27, 2002
Professional Status
Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
North Dakota
Jeff it sounds (or smells) like sulfer which is not uncommon for shallow wells, but you said it's city water right?....does the city water suppy come from a lake, river, shallow well or deep well?......could they possibly have occasional problems with sulfer odor in the water? You might get a lot of free info from a telephone call to the water company....the lines might simply need flushing.
 

jtrotta

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Jeff

Sulfer & Iron minerals generally give off what your describing; but the stumper is - "City water" which is usually treated at a plant site, and then pumped to the area - hmmmmmm - try a phone call to the local water company; ask when the last time the firehydrants were flushed; ask if they had any other reported similar call ins - last but not least, chek yer undies :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: 8O :lol: :lol: - could it be U :lol: :lol:

Ben, yer campsite was probably "Well Water" - untreated :D

8)
 

Jeff Horton

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Didn't think about sulfer water, been a long time since I smelled that but know exactly what everone is speaking of. It's not really a sulfer smell and yes it is city water. I don't kinow of any wells around this area that ever had sulfur water.

Calling the water board is a good (and obvious) answer. Will do that tommorow. I don't know what their water supply is but probably pump it out of the lake (Tennesse River) like my town does. But I have NEVER smelled anything like that out of city water.

Thanks guys!
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Jeff, a near by town had an interesting bacteria infestation in their reserve lake. The newspaper article said it was rare that this type of bacteria was prevalent this far south, but that once discovered it was easily treated. Water processing kills all the little buggers, but the smell is very similar to the sulfur smell. They swore the water was safe, treated the lake, and the smell went away after a week or so. But I still won't drink the water at the fountains in the court house. Bottled water from my own source thank you. If you are concerned, call for an inspection, a buyer would probably be concerned too.

If I can find the article, I will foward it to you. But papers stack up too quick, so I don't keep them around long.
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
Trotta

I was just being nice to the West Virginians and their national park sanitation planning.

My personal theory was the well was too close to the outhouse..about 25' away......Credit that to my FHA training....I didn't tell the brother-in-laws though. :lol: :lol: Hey, everything I drank came out of a can that weekend....................

Ben
 

G-man

Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Ohio
Another possible explanation could be the sewer line running from the house. If it is clogged or slow running, this might cause a really nasty oder. 8O This can be especially nasty if the home has an interior drainage tile around the home. I know from personal experience that sewage can back up throughout this tile over many years. Until the home sits for awhile then water is used, the oder is fairly well masked by the constant flow of water. It cost about $250 to have my drain tile steam cleaned and de-oderized. Ahh, the joys of new home ownership :evil:
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
There's a good chance that it was sewer gas pushed back up the pipe when you turned on the water. This can happen if the vents aren't right and the traps are empty.

Roger
 
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