# Ringstadt: Getting sulphur into my water

You sure lad? For some of you folks normal beer is already an acquired taste, but this... this beer definitely is. You understand that this stuff is brewed with water from the devil's choke? You know, that vile spring right behind the abbey?

Last words Hans M'wambe, Private 1st Class, recalls before getting booted out of the Lifted Spirits Pub for distributing the contents of his stomach all over the Bartender.

This question is a spin-off to this question about the topography in the below map. Please refer to it for general questions or observations about the map & area.

This spin-off is about the peat bog in the I3 to J5 area (the square denoted by these corners), and the spring at I5; regarding the process 'enriching' the spring-water with sulphur up to a degree where it needs to be filtered to be consumable.

Process:

From reading this article on sulphur in peat bogs and other lay-man's research, I understand that peat bogs are areas where sulphur is filtered from the surroundings and deposited.

I imagine that precipitation collects from the hills around and drains into the bog, from which it sips into lower strata where it meets rock and gets eventually pushed out of the cliff-side in I5.

My hopes are, that the water, when seeping through the bog, can be 'enriched' with sulphur by some sort of process, but I do not understand enough about biology to know of any such process - or if this is even impossible.

Legend:
brown               ->  topological lines, 10 meters each
blue -line-         ->  streams, rivers
light-blue -solid-  ->  bodies of water
turquoise           ->  peat bog
olive               ->  reed marshes

Each grid-cell is 400m by 400m.


Q: Can my peat-bog-spring-idea result in water enriched with sulphur to a degree that it needs to be filtered?

• What circumstances are necessary for this to happen?
• If this cannot work, what alternative process could provide the desired result?

In addition it would be amazing if an answer could delve into the science:

• How does the process of 'enriching' the water work?
• What compounds are involved?
• Sulfurous springs are a dime a dozen. Really, they are very very common. Just declare that the spring is sulfurous and be done with it. – AlexP Aug 24 '18 at 15:40
• I don't really understand what you mean by 'enriching,' but I'm pretty sure that @AlexP's answer is the right one here. – kingledion Aug 24 '18 at 15:44
• @kingledion that's why it was on the sandbox for quite some time^^ anyway. I'm going sort-of by the merriam-webster definition: to make rich or richer especially by the addition or increase of some desirable quality - so basically, adding sulphur to it – dot_Sp0T Aug 24 '18 at 15:49

A lot of people tend to misunderstand how common sulfur compounds actually is in water. They're actually used as preservative in wines, though sommeliers say it affects the taste.

There are a couple common sources of sulfur. One is from minerals, and there are a LOT of possible inorganic compounds including iron sulfide, calcium sulfate, and many more. These are often deposited into bodies of water through erosion, dissolving and depositing in the water over thousands of years.

However, most people notice sulfur in only one form: Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), the pungent gas that we associate with rotten eggs.

H2S is usually created by what we call Sulfur Reducing Bacteria. Basically, the bacteria exploit the chemical energy gradient in sulfate compounds and perform a reduction reaction to perform biochemical duties. They need the aforementioned sulfur compounds dissolved in the water to work however.

Honestly, H2S isn't actually that poisonous, but it's smell is SO bad, that most humans wouldn't be able to stomach it anywhere of a harmful level.

So at this point, you would need to filter the water, which can be done using an Activated Carbon filter.

• Do I understand correctly that you are saying that the proposed process is not workable? And you partially detailing an alternative process where the water seeping away in the bog is instead enriched with sulfates in the underlying strata, before leaving the rock again? – dot_Sp0T Aug 24 '18 at 17:04
• No, I was giving the mechanism by which the sulfur enters the water. It erodes into the water and collects in the swamp, where the bacteria produce H2S, resulting in a foul water source. I'm not much of an expert on water cycles, but if you've got the bacteria and the sulfates in a lukewarm/warm body of water, you'll get foul water. I think your process should work. – jedmeyer Aug 24 '18 at 18:02

There are a number of compounds that would lead to a need to filter water coming out of that bog. The one is sulfur which you have a handle on which would need a charcoal filter since the primary compound is dissolved hydrogen sulfide which is highly water soluble. The main sulfur source (and the main source of any dissolved contaminants) is going to be the chemical action of the bog water on the underlying rocks. If the northern hills are still going to be largely metamorphic and igneous rocks as previously discussed then there will be a lot of poorly mineralised sulfur and metals which will be easily dissolved from the rocks to contaminate the waters flowing therefrom.

The other issue is dissolved metals, in particular iron but also a number of others like zinc, vanadium, and molybdenum. To filter this material you need to first aerate the water, this can be done as easily as running it over gravel to agitate it slightly. The metals will form insoluble oxides that can be filtered out using sand. This process will also neutralise the pH of the water making it somewhat more palatable, and less toxic.

Given the previous conversation we had on the structure of the southern hills, if the proposed Shale layer is a "black shale" it can also be high in sulfur and any of the springs who's water has interacted with it could also be high in sulfur. Shale varies greatly in composition so you can do a lot with the the water chemistry if it suits you.