If you are traveling to Florida or have been living there for some time, wondering whether the water there is safe to drink is a valid concern.
Is the water in Florida safe? Yes, it is. Like the other states, the government of Florida abides by the government guidelines to provide quality drinking water.
But, we can’t say that Florida has the best water quality. There are some contaminants that are way above the set guidelines. In this article, we will talk about Florida water, so get ready to know about it.
Is florida tap water safe to drink?
Yes, it is. Though some contaminants are found in the tap water of Florida, they are lesser than the(Maximum Contaminant Levels) as set by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, not everyone is happy with the MCL prescribed by the EPA and feels that the bar should be set higher.
Such discrepancies have led to different environmental parties having different takes- while the EPA considers the water safe, the EWG does not.
What’s the source of the water?
The lion’s share of the water in Florida comes from aquifers. Aquifers are mostly huge underground rocks made from porous limestone that hold a large amount of freshwater. This water is pumped up to the surface for consumption. Unfortunately, this freshwater source is highly prone to contamination.
To quote the Southern Regional Water Program in Florida, “unique hydrogeologic features of a thin soil layer, high water table, porous limestone and large quantities of rainfall coupled with rapid population growth, result in a groundwater resource extremely vulnerable to contamination.”
In other words, chemicals and contaminants from numerous sources can pact the water quality. Primarily aquifer water includes:
- Dry cleaning solution.
- Leaking gasoline storage.
The minerals and metallic compounds-rich water of Florida’s aquifers is extracted and treated to remove the contaminants. Florida water: Contaminants over the guidelines.
The groundwater in Florida has the following contaminants in huge concentrations:
As per the Environmental Working Group (EWG), arsenic is a widespread toxic pollutant. However, it’s also naturally occurring and is found in rocks. It’s only harmful when the concentration levels are high.
According to the EPA, arsenic gets into our water supply through rock erosion. Since most of the water in Florida comes from aquifers, arsenic can get in the water from the surrounding rocks. However, since the water is treated, the concentration of arsenic in the tap water of Florida is not so high.
💧Copper and Lead
These two minerals pose another problem and are commonly found in the pipes of many homes in Florida.
As per the EPA, the primary source of these minerals in Florida’s water is the corrosion of the household plumbing system coupled with natural deposits. However, copper and lead in the original water supply are removed through water treatment.
But unfortunately, once the water leads out of the treatment plants, it picks up these contaminants again on the way, especially since copper and lead are heavily present in the plumbing system.
THHMs are volatile and toxic chemicals that are created as a by-product of water’s disinfection with chlorine. To that end, Chloroform is the most widespread TTHM found in water.
The water in Florida has a higher-than-prescribed concentration of Trihalomethanes (THHMs). Nearly 20 million residents consume water with a high concentration of THHMs. The utilities cannot remove this specific contaminant per the EWG’s recommendation.
TTHM has a negative impact on health and can lead to problems with the reproductive system and even cancer. Besides these contaminants, the water in Florida also contains a high concentration of HAA5, Chromium, Radium, Chlorate, Nitrate, Uranium, and PFOS.
💧Water tasting funny
The concentration levels of contaminants in the water vary from one place to another. Even when the water is not contaminated, and there is no boil notice from the authorities, many people have observed that their water still tastes different.
Though it’s difficult to describe the taste as relative, if the water tastes out of the ordinary, it’s primarily due to the presence of contaminants. Thankfully, contaminants that affect the taste of the water are not toxic, so the local authorities don’t monitor them.
The most common waste taste complaints are:
- Bitter/salty water: Water becomes salty and, at times, bitter due to the high concentration of magnesium, calcium, sodium, hydrogen carbonate, sulfate, nitrate anions, and potassium found in the waters of Florida.
- Bleachy water: If the water tastes bleach it’s primarily due to the presence of chloramine used to clean water
- Metallic water: Water tastes metallic if there is a high concentration of copper, zinc, manganese, and iron.
You May Find Useful: Best Water Test Kits
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Why does the tap water taste bad?
As mentioned earlier, numerous contaminants in Florida’s tap water add to its poor smell and taste.
The most common complaints about the water are its rotten egg smell and salty taste. The presence of contaminants like sulfur, iron, manganese, chloramine, and chlorine adds to the bad taste and smell.
2. Why is the tap water in Florida yellow?
The tap water of South Florida is yellow.
The tap water source in South Florida is from the shallow Biscayne Aquifer. This aquifer has tannins that give a yellow tinge to the water. However, the tannins originate from organic sources like bark, pine needle, and leaves.
The public water treatment plant removes most of the organic material. However, some amount of organic tannins do survive and turn the treated water yellow.
A significant part of the water in Florida comes from a different aquifer Floradian. This aquifer is deeper and underground and does not contain such tannins.
3. Is Fluoride present in the Florida tap water?
Most of the tap water in Florida is fluoridated, reaching 77% of the population in Florida. However, Fluoride is added to the water by the community and public water system in Florida to improve the dental health of the population.
4. Should you drink bottled water in Florida?
Unlike the local drinking water available in Florida, bottled water tastes much better. Additionally, bottled water reduces health risks to a great extent. Even though there are a few benefits of bottled water, they are an environmental threat and thus must be avoided.
Thus it’s better to drink the local water in Florida after removing the contaminants using a solid filtration system. Thus, buying home filters is recommended, and not opt for bottled water.
Now you know all about the problem with the local water in Florida. However, the government and local authorities monitor the water quality to a great extent. You can take it a notch up by adding a home water purifier if you live in Florida.