Shocking a well

lindacatherineApril 18, 2012

I bought a house with a private well and septic. House was a foreclosure and sat for two years. The water has a sulfur smell. I put in a new water heater, which helped for about a week. Now the odor is back. I called two different well companies: one wants to shock it for $300, the other wants to put in an oxygen system for $4,000. Yikes. For those who have shocked their wells, how did that work out for you. There is no trace of bacteria in the water, but high iron and manganese.

Thank you.

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couple of questions:

1. Is the smell only on the hot water or is it cold water also?

2. How do you know about the water chemistry? Did you have it tested by an independent lab?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 4:28PM
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The odor is more prominent in the hot water, but slightly in the cold. There was a water analysis done for bank financing approval. The was a new water pump installed, and now I read tha a well should be shocked after any such repairs -- which I'm pretty sure wasn't done in this case.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 4:32PM
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The well should be shocked to sanitize it, but that's probably not going to permanently fix your sulfur smell problem.

What I suspect is iron reducing bacteria. Was that specifically tested for?

You said "no bacteria"... but I don't know that they were looking for that when on a typical well test for closing.

I admit to being out of my depth on water treatment - there are several very good people on here who know this stuff well. I'm looking for them to jump-in. Alice...?

BTW: Here is a link on iron eating bacteria:

Here is a link that might be useful: lron reducing bacteria

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 9:22PM
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"What I suspect is iron reducing bacteria. Was that specifically tested for? "

If you do not look for the item you will not find it.

E-coli is what the standard test look for, along with identified chemical contaminants for the area.

Anything else is likely to be missed.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:55AM
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Repost this as "need help with water treatment" and you will likely get the people who can help you to respond.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:58AM
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Had mine shocked years ago. The well guy took the cover off the well and poured 2 gallons of bleach down the well. Asked me to turn each faucet on until I smelled bleach. Let it sit overnight and drained alot of water outside until it smelled no bleach.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:52PM
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Our situation is exactly the same- foreclosure, sat for over 2 years, private well, with a new pump installed just prior to closing. We have a sulfur smell and high iron. We were told that sulfur smell could be remedied by getting rid of the iron. So... just last week we had 4 different contractors out to try to figure out what we should do. I know, that's a lot, but they all had different things to say.

Only one suggested shocking the well before considering adding water treatment equipment. He described shocking as a slightly more involved process than what dave_mn did. After the chlorination he wanted to recirculate the water, and said the process would take 3-4 days total and we'd be unable to use the well during that time. He also stated that the risks included over-chlorination and possibly burning out the well pump if the well ran dry while he was shocking it. But our well casing is smaller than what is now standard, so I'm not sure if that was a factor. He was going to charge us $300.

The other three guys recommended various combinations of water softeners, iron filters, and other equipment, ranging from $2200 - $3500. All said that shocking the well would only get rid of bacteria, not iron. All four of them agreed that shocking was more of a short-term fix to get things back to a more "natural" state since the well had been unused for so long. The consensus seemed that we should run our water for an extended length of time to run out all the old accumulations before we put too much weight in the water sample results.

Keep us posted on what you decide. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 1:35PM
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