Drinking water that contains sulfur, also called hydrogen sulfide, has no known health effects, according to the Purdue University School of Agriculture. While sulfur water is not harmful to consume, it does give off an unpleasant odor that smells similar to rotting eggs.
Hydrogen sulfide is generally found in lower concentrations than 10 milligrams per liter, but in some cases can reach up to 75 milligrams per liter. Ground water typically contains higher levels of hydrogen sulfide than surface water. Hydrogen sulfide, in its gaseous form, escapes quickly from surface water. Sulfur's unpleasant odor typically identifies it without the need for formal testing. However, a water sample may be needed to see if the water contains coliform bacteria.