Why Does My Water Smell Like Sewage And Other Odors

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Water is a wellness essential in the same capacity as a wholesome diet, fitness regimen, adequate sleep; it even falls right up there with the breaths we take. The body mostly comprises water, meaning we need to replenish our system with adequate quantities each day.

The most cost-effective way to do so is via the household tap providing fresh, clear, clean water at our disposal as long as it’s filtered sufficiently. A problem arises if you turn on the faucet and an offensive sewer odor flows from the line.

It causes not only challenges with consumption, but also attempting to shower or bathe, clean dishes, or wash laundry. The smell might not necessarily be comparable to a sewage odor. There are numerous comparisons you can associate with the odor coming from the tap. Some you might experience:


  • Fish-like
  • Sulfur or rotten eggs
  • Musty
  • Metal
  • Sewage

While you’ll find numerous smells, there are also different causes and a few ways to resolve the issues of offensive water. Let’s check what happens when sewage takes over your household water supply.

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels

Why Does My Water Smell Like Sewage And Other Odors

Water can take on many different offensive odors, and you’ll find numerous reasons for the smells and ways to resolve the issues. One that homeowners find incredibly foul is when water smells like sewage, having a negative effect on drinking from the tap and using the water for any other purposes. Here is a description of the foul odor, reasons it can occur, and how to stop it.

If You Experience The Sewage Smell –

Problem: A sewage smell can be reminiscent of waste, dirt, grime combined to create a less-than-appealing aroma almost like that of a waste bin that’s saturated in rainwater. But the water supply in your household shouldn’t have a backup like that of a city sewage supply.

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That smell you sense can result from a few issues like food combined with soap left in the drain to create bacteria. The scent you experience is, in fact, gas from these bits left in the drain originating in this space finding its way to the tap causing your water to take on that offensive odor.

There is also the possibility that your heater temperature has dipped to a temperature that is too cool. Perhaps you were gone for some time and had it shut down so the pipes would be safe from bursting. An odor can develop from bacteria that were able to harvest while the temperatures were at their lowest point. These bacteria won’t be harmful to you, but the offensive aroma is off-putting.


Hydrogen sulfide can also enter into the water main, and that gas is harmful to you creating delirium, nausea, headaches, and convulsions.


Similar old taps above weathered public sink in building

Solution: You should take a cup of water from the tap into a separate room and then smell the liquid to see if there is still an odor. If it smells normal, the aroma is coming from an accumulation in the drain of bacteria. That would require baking soda (¼ cup) poured into the drain followed by white vinegar (also ¼ cup) to sit for 10 minutes, after which you will pour boiling water into the drain to disinfect the pipes and remove the offense.

If that doesn’t resolve the problem with smells still apparent when you walk away from the sink, turn the water heater temperature up for a 24-hour period with frequent periods of running hot water through the taps to help flush the pipes.

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When you find that unsuccessful, it’s time to call a local lab for testing the water supply for impurities and possibly hydrogen sulfide. In addition, there are water filtration systems available for virtually any impurities responsible for creating nasty smells in the water supply.

When you don’t find an adequate solution through your varied efforts and after having the water tested by the local lab, it’s advantageous to contact a water filter specialist to assess the situation. The experts can introduce you to options that work to eliminate harmful contaminants with the potential for health hazards like hydrogen sulfide if that turns out to be the culprit behind your sewage odor.

It’s unsafe to indulge in water that offers a foul smell or an unpleasant aftertaste until you know for sure what’s causing the problem. Hydrogen sulfide has nasty health consequences and should be ruled out as soon as you notice something off with the supply.

Final Thought

Homeowners who encounter sewage smells wafting throughout the house whenever the tap turns on for the water supply have a few different issues they can relate to.

At the first indication of a smell, the problem needs addressing due to the potential for health risks. Bacteria in the drain or the water heater aren’t harmful, but these still have to be dealt with timely. Hydrogen sulfide is an issue that can create substantial hazards to health, including delirium, convulsion, nausea, and headache.

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If this gas enters the water system, it needs handling professionally. A local lab will need to test the supply to confirm that contaminants plus professional water filter suppliers can offer solutions to eliminate the hazard from entering the household supply.

A number of water filters are on the market, each with different purposes to suit varied needs. In contacting the experts to assess a specific situation with lab testing confirming potential impurities, the specialist can make recommendations as to which filtration system would sufficiently eliminate the issue at hand.

Bacteria in the sink drain or the water heater causing foul aromas can resolve with DIY fixes. For the sink, simple household baking soda and white vinegar in the drain followed by boiling water, as mentioned previously, will eliminate the smell and disinfect the line.

The water heater should be turned up with hot water flushing the lines intermittently until disinfected. You’ll find with each odor you come across, whether it’s fishy, rotten eggs, must, metal, or sewage, there’s a DIY or a filter that will take care of the problem so you can once again take in your recommended daily allowance of fresh, clear, clean water.