Understanding Hydrogen Sulfide Contamination Better

Hydrogen sulfide also referred to as H2S is a colorless gas and it comes with a typical smell of rotten eggs. There are many sources of H2S emissions and the most common ones are emissions caused by natural gas and oil during the period of extracting the oil and processing it. There are also natural sources of hydrogen sulfide contamination and it does occur because of geothermal fields. It also is caused because of bacterial decomposition of animal and human wastes and also is present in emissions that occur from sewage treatment facilities and also from landfills. There are also industrial sources like coke oven plants, Kraft paper mills and petrochemical plants that could cause the emission and concentration of H2S in water and another source.

Characteristics of Hydrogen Sulfide

H2S has an odor that is extremely foul and strong. At high levels of concentration, it could lead to tearing of the eyes and also could lead to headaches, vomiting or nausea. These are caused because of overstimulation of the body to a sense of smell. There is one more important feature of H2S that needs to be understood. Hydrogen sulfide can be detected even at very low levels. As far as a population of H2S in various elements is concerned, the threshold limit is between 0.03 to 0.05 ppm. However, some individuals are capable of detecting much lower levels of concentration. When the concentration limits exceed 50 ppm it could lead to eye irritation and when it exceeds 300 ppm it could lead to serious health impact. However, such high levels are restricted to an industrial accident and occupational accident situations. It could also lead to an increase in the risk of asthma though such findings are not fully backed by research papers.

Does It Impact Indoors?

H2S does not normally impact indoors. However, we must be aware of the possible H2S sources and it could be caused by the decomposition of some foodstuffs and a few other things. We also need to understand that H2S is added to natural gas to aid gas leak detection. When you come across such an H2S concentration in the indoors, the local authorities and gas companies must be notified and they should be asked to investigate the reason for such a gas leak.

How To Remove H2S Pollution?

There are many ways by which hydrogen sulfide can be removed in many ways. They include the use of carbon filtration methods, ion exchange, shock chlorination, oxidation, and manganese greensand filtration amongst other forms. When the above methods are used, the hydrogen sulfide gets absorbed onto the surface of the various carbon particles. It can also be hydrogen sulfide removed by spraying by a mix of sodium carbonate with water. You could also use other means such as the use of chlorine in large quantities and this also is referred to as shock chlorination treatment.

At the end of the day, there is no doubt that there is an urgent need for taking steps to overcome the situation. We also need to mention that the odor is so foul that when it gets contaminated with water it leads to the water being unfit for drinking.

What Is Hydrogen Sulfide And How To Remove It

Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) is a gas that is dissolved and is known for its pungent and unpleasant smell. It gives out the stench of a rotten egg and has a very foul taste. Apart from being a health hazard (when present in high quantities), H2S can also lead to corrosion of piping systems. It creates an unpleasant odor in the house and also can turn your fixtures and water black in color. High-quality sterling silver can turn into black almost instantaneously when it comes in contact with Hydrogen Sulfide. H2S is highly pungent and can cause an odor problem even at very low concentration levels as low as 0.05 mg/l (ppm). It is therefore important to remove it from water and other sources. It gets generated in many industries and therefore oil-refineries and other such units have well-established ways and means to remove H2S from biogas, oil and other end-products.

Hydrogen Sulfide In Well Water

H2S occurs quite often in well water and it caused because of the presence of sulfate-reducing bacteria. It also could be present in stored water systems. Bacteria are the most common cause for the presence of hydrogen sulfide scavengers. Therefore, treatment should be focused on eliminating and controlling bacteria. This should be the first line of approach. Shock chlorination is considered to be the standard treatment for controlling sulfate-reducing bacteria and iron bacteria.

Water Heaters And H2S Problem

There could be situations where H2S may be present only in the hot water that is stored and used in households. This happens because of a biological reaction between sulfates in the water, the presence, and multiplication of sulfate-reducing bacteria or the presence of organic matter in the water. Identifying the source of the problem is important before coming out with the treatment approach. If the problem is caused by sulfate-reducing bacteria which thrive on hot water, you must disinfect the water heater using chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Be sure that the drain is not the source of hydrogen sulfide and the smell associated with it.

How To Solve The Problem

Disinfection is the first step and the water heater must be thoroughly flushed and made completely free from all types of sediments. This can be done quite easily with the help of a large diameter garden hose that has a connecting flush valve at the bottom of the water heater. The water heater must be flushed with the right pressure for around 15 to 30 minutes. This will help remove all sediments. The inlet valve should then be closed and you must then add around 3 to 4 large bottles of hydrogen peroxide. This will help remove the hydrogen sulfide concentration completely. 

Other Traditional Methods

Other traditional methods can also be used. Chlorination along with activated carbon filter is a simple but effective method. H2S is oxidized because of the presence of chlorine and the insoluble sulfide particles are taken away because of the activated carbon filter. The filter also comes in handy for removing any residual chlorine that remains after oxidation of the hydrogen sulfide.

Hence if you look around there are professional as well as natural ways that could help in removing hydrogen sulfide from water and other sources.

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