Sulfate as SO4

Sulfate as SO4- mg/L



≤ 500


Advice the use of a 5 stage reverse osmosis system with iron removal application.
The is a nuisance experience. No major health thread.


≤ 250

Advice the use of a 5 stage reverse osmosis system with iron removal application.
The is a nuisance experience. No major health thread.

Sulfates in water.

  • Sulfates occur naturally in numerous minerals, like barite, epsomite and gypsum.
  • These dissolved minerals contribute to the mineral content of many drinking-waters.

Health Issues of Sulfates.

  • Sulfate may have a laxative effect that can lead to dehydration and is of special concern for infants.
  • With time, people and young livestock will become acclimated to the sulfate and the symptoms disappear.
  • Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria pose no known human health risk. 
  • The Maximum contaminate level is 250 mg/L.

Hydrogen Sulfide.

  • Hydrogen sulfide is flammable and poisonous.
  • Usually it is not a health risk at concentrations present in household water, except in very high concentrations.
  • While such concentrations are rare, hydrogen sulfide's presence in drinking water when released in confined areas has been known to cause nausea, illness and, in extreme cases, death.
  • Water with hydrogen sulfide alone does not cause disease.
  • In rare cases, however, hydrogen sulfide odor may be from sewage pollution which can contain disease-producing contaminants.  
  • Therefore, testing for bacterial contamination and Sulfate Reducing Bacteria is highly recommended.

Treatment of Sulfates.

  • For treating small quantities of water for drinking and cooking purposes. 
  • The removal methods may be distillation or reverse osmosis.
  • The most common method of treating large quantities of water is ion exchange.
  • This process works similar to a water softener.
  • Ion-exchange resin, contained inside the unit, adsorbs sulfate.
  • When the resin is loaded to full capacity with sulfate, treatment ceases.
  • The resin then must be "regenerated" with a salt (sodium chloride) brine solution before further treatment can occur.

Uses of Sulfates.

  • Sulfates products are used in the production of fertilizers, chemicals, dyes, glass, paper, soaps, textiles, fungicides, insecticides, astringents and emetics.
  • They are also used in the mining, wood pulp, metal and plating industries, in sewage treatment and in leather processing  Aluminium sulfate (alum) is used as a sedimentation agent in the treatment of drinking-water.
  • Copper sulfate has been used for the control of algae in raw and public water supplies.

Nuisance Problems of Sulfates.

  • Sulfates and hydrogen sulfide are both common nuisance contaminants.
  • Although neither is usually a significant health hazard, sulfates can have a temporary laxative effect on humans and young livestock.
  • Sulfates also may clog plumbing and stain clothing. 
  • Hydrogen sulfide produces an offensive "rotten egg" odor and taste in the water, especially when the water is heated. 
  • If the odor is stronger in the hot water, we recommend the following:


  1. Turn off the system and drain the tank. Note any anolomies, such as: the color and odor of the water, coatings, precipitates, or other solid materials.
  2. Allow the tank to refill, but raise the temperature setting of the tank to a level above 140 F.
  3. Allow the tank to stay at this level for at least 6 to 10 hours.
  4. Turn off the system and reduce system to the normal temperature setting.
  5. Drain any discolored water and then allow the tank to refill.
  6. If the odor goes away, it was most likely a bacteria growing in the tank that is causing the problem.

g. If the odor returns immediately, it is likely a chemical reaction between the water and the sacrifical anode used in the system.  It would be advisable to check the quality of the entering the tank.



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