Updating 60+yr old house, which has a 300 ft well , it has bad smelling water. How to fix cheapest & best way. This house was built by my stepfather, he said they dug til he say white sand . I don't know where to start. Test water before pipes and after. There's got to be bacteria, fungus , somewhere. It stops smelling if ran about 10 minutes or so. Its so strong tho, it makes me scared to drink much less using it period is iffy to me! Thinking new pipes were the reason, put in New & still smells just as bad. Bathroom Also has stone shower that wasn't sealed or anything to keep mold or mildew at bay. Do I need to replace it all or is there a way to save it? Its the newest of the updated things but could be 5- 10 years since its been exposed to the same water from well. Nothing major there tho I removed silicone around edge of tub & scrubbed majorily, but am asking before I tear it out to be safe. Also can the water have any harmful reactions to humans or animals if they've used this water for prolonged years? ~ Tonya

  • Sealing the stone in the shower won't do much (or anything) to prevent mold. You need to vent the humid air out of the space (open a window or install an extractor fan).
    – brhans
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 14:20

2 Answers 2


You said the water smells bad unless run for 10 minutes this points to air in your pressure tank. With a failed bladder in an old tank air contacts the water in the tank and it develops a bad taste/smell. If I wanted to sanitize a well that deep I would pour several gallons of bleach into the well and let it sit for at least several hours then pump the well until the bleach smell is gone. As far as the stone shower I would not be concerned as much, if you want to sanitize that I would use a 3% hydrogen peroxide and water, spray the stone work then rince. Since your smell disipears after several minutes check your pressure tank as it may be the source of the bad smell.

  • Actually you dump bleach in the well while recirculating water down the well with a hose, and run until you smell beach at the hose. Then run water at every faucet until you smell bleach, THEN wait several hours or overnight, then flush it out. You have to disinfect the whole pump/piping system, not just the well itself. And a few days of regular use later, you pull a sample and send it to a certified testing laboratory. [Having killed any temporary infestations in the pipes, you need to see what's in the water itself.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 14:55
  • You go your route I will do it the way. my well testing guy showed me this method. the issue is in the well and pressure tank that is eliminated with flow. Putting a high concentration of bleach in the pressure tank will shorten the bladder life.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 15:15
  • 1
    The house I grew up in developed smelly well water over a couple of years. It was a failed bladder in the tank, as you said. We cut the old tank open, and OMG!! I can't describe how foul it was! One of the worse things I have seen, given that we had been drinking the water...
    – bitsmack
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 18:03
  • Replacing the tank fixed it, though. We never had to disinfect the well or the plumbing.
    – bitsmack
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 18:04

If the system does not already have purification in place, Installing a Point-of-Use Water Filter or a Whole-House-Filter is probably best.

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