Hi, I've been doing some detective work, and have read just about every post in this forum...

Here's our situation.

I do not have a water test, so I will get one. I've been told our water is "very hard". We bought our house last year around this time, at which point it had been vacant for over a year. We began extensive renovations in January, and moved in during the summer.

We had all the pipes replaced with plastic (PEX?), changed the pump (not submersible) and pressure tank, put in a hot water tank, added a water softener and two in-line GE Smart Water filters.

I don't remember the order in which these things were done, but when our contractor took the water sample to the regional health unit (collected when the old pump was still in use), it was too full of sediment to test. I believe this is why he added the GE filters. The first carbon filter cartridge he put in to the system was orange in no time, so he added a pleated paper one before the carbon filter hoping to prolong its use. About a month after we moved in, we started having that rotten egg smell. Some time after that I decided that carbon filters were too expensive to replace every month, and we now have two pleated filters.

Neighbours told us it was the anode rod. We removed the anode rod and poured in some hydrogen peroxide. The smell went away incredibly quickly, but only lasted long enough for me to have a bath. The next morning the hot water was still fine, but the cold still smelled. We knew then the culprit wasn't the anode.

From what I've read, it's possible we ought to shock chlorinate the well. However, I'm not convinced this is necessary since the tap that runs outside before it gets to the filter or softener has no smell. I'm really not into using chlorine anywhere.

My inexperienced conclusion is that there is some sulfur-loving bacteria living either in the filters or in the softener. When I open the filter casings, the inside of the casing and the filter are covered in black. It's not slimy exactly, but it smudges, and is pretty thick. At first we thought this was sediment being filtered out, and were aghast at how filthy our water was. However, as I understand now, it's possible this is the residue from the sulfur bacteria... is that correct?

Our water softener guy told us categorically there's no way that sulfur-reducing bacteria could live in the water softener since it has a salt backwash every several days which would get rid of the bacteria. I don't believe him, so I poured some hydrogen peroxide into the brine tank just in case. The smell is reduced, but I think mainly because the hot water tank has yet to become full of stinky water.

So, all this to ask: Should I scrap the pleated filters? Is it possible the bacteria have colonized the filters? Is it possible they have colonized the softener? Should I really be considering shocking the well? Is my only option to buy another expensive water treatment device?

AND, I'm also considering putting a string of EM ceramics into one of the filter casings. I've read very good things about that product, and I'm wondering if anyone here has experience with it?