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Question DetailsAsked on 5/7/2013

information about pelican water systems. How effective are they in removing sulfur smell from the water.

we are thinking about installing this water system in our home to help remove sulfur smell in the water. How effective are they?

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Other than some chemical solvents, sulfur is one of the toughest things to get out of water.

The standard Pelican Water system is a filtration system only - it does not chemically treat the water or remove the dissolved minerals like iron and sulfur. If you use the enhanced sand filtration package for iron removal, some of the sulfur and associated bacteria (which are what cause the staining and clogging) will be picked up in that system, but that is not what it is designed to do, will make it clog quicker, and the dissolved sulfur in the water will pass right through. They do advertise a supplemental sulfur removal system that works by clorination, which is the normal treatment system for sulfur (does not remove the sulfur, but kills the bacteria which cause most of the smell and staining).

Unfortunately, if you have a serious sulfur or iron problem, you really need a full-house full-sized treatment system specifically designed to handle both water hardness (the dissolved minerals, which the Pelican system does NOT remove), and the dissolved sulfur. I would expect the small Pelican iron and sulfur removal units will clog up with the iron and sulfur blooming bacteria in no time.

Even in full-sized (25-45 gallon tanks) multi-stage system requires automated hyper-clorination and back-flushing daily or weekly in this situation, and complete removal and recharge of the filter/treatment media every 1-3 months in this environment. If you are looking for better drinking water the Pelican system might help some but is very unlikely to eliminate the smell. I would suggest just spending your money (and a lot less of it) on buying a bottled water dispenser and bottled water (the ones like Arrowhead water provides - 5 gallon bottles that sit upside down on a dispenser or cooler/dispenser).

If you want to protect your pipes from buildup and corrosion as well, and have pleasant bathing, hand washing, tooth brushing, and ice dispenser water then I would recommend a full-sized full-house system such as Culligan (although they are in the process of going bankrupt again) or similar local services.

If you have really noticeable sulfur smell, then you need a full water conditioning system to treat the water for hardness, iron, etc - then a final Reverse Osmosis unit to remove the sulfur. RO by itself will remove the sulfur pretty good, but unfortunately it will clog almost immediately if the water is not pretreated to remove hardness and iron and adjust the pH (acidity). You almost always have iron and pH balance problems when you have sulfur smell unless you are in a sulfur dome or oilfield area where the sulfur is coming from raw native sulfur (normally only along the Gulf coast area in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama) or in an oilfield or coal-tar environment where petroleum products are in the water.

To remove the sulfur properly I think what you are going to need is a clorination / filter media or sand filtration / calcium sulfur trap / softening / reverse osmosis 5-stage unit, which will cost maybe $3-6,000 to install, plus $1500-3000/ year for service and chemical replacement.

This is why most people in high sulfur areas either just buy bottled water (sometimes even (in rural areas where it is allowed) to the point of having a separate 1500-5000 gallon holding tank and pump system for treated water delivered weekly for the entire house), or pay tens of thousands of $ to have their well grouted off and deepened to try to find fresher water.

I would talk to as many iof my neighbors as I could about what they have done (and ask to taste and smell the water coming out of their faucet), talk to your local health department (and water utility if you are on public water) about common treatment options in your area, and maybe even go to your paper to see if they have done a major article in the past on the local conditons. You can also talk to well drillers (if you are on a well) about well chlorine treatments, and of course talk to local plumbers and water treatment services about what they say they can do (though of course taking all with a grain of salt).

Good luck - I once lived in an oilfield town where the tap water smelled like a sewer and the bathtub had to be skimmed after filling due to naturally occurring sulfur bacteria and petroleum products.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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