Citizen Support Center

Main Menu Make a Request Ask a Question My Requests Logout

Frequently Asked Questions

Mobile App

Find Answers - Answer Detail Page

Public Works

Why does my hot water smell like sulfur or rotten eggs?

This is the source of many calls to the Water Division. The smell is a result of small levels of hydrogen sulfide, which are naturally present in our ground water, reacting to the anode rod located inside your water heater. While the smell can be very unpleasant, this does not affect the safety of the water.  This can occur on occasion as the source water to your home may change seasonally based on overall demand.  There are five separate water treatment facilities feeding one large distribution system.  Occasionally, the water facility that normally provides your water may change based on system demand or facility repairs.  This can alter the hydrogen sulfide levels at your home.  The smell can also occur when a new water heater is installed (it's usually noticed 1 - 4 months after installation).  To remedy the problem, a building owner can either flush the water heater or change out the anode rod to another material.  Please refer to your heater's manual for proper instructions concerning these suggestions.  Often, the water heater manual will also address this problem and will provide possible solutions.


Public Works

Was this helpful?


City of Crystal Lake ~ 100 W. Woodstock Street ~ Crystal Lake ~ IL 60014 ~ Phone: (815) 459-2020 ~ Hours: 8-5 M-F