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What’s in Your Water?

water quality
Reading Time: 3 minutes

America’s Drinking Water
Despite the United States having one of the best supplies of drinking water in the world, the water that comes out of your faucet is never going to be pure H2O. Drinking water contains a multitude of minerals, impurities, microorganism and other contaminants, though ideally these are only present in trace amounts and do not necessarily impact your health in a negative way.

Florida State
Although most of the United States receives their drinking water from the surface of the earth, Florida has a large supply of ground water. According to the Florida Department of Health, ground water wells are responsible for over 92% of our drinking water. Drinking water includes the water with which we flush our toilets, wash our laundry, water our lawns, etc. Some of these wells have been contaminated by certain chemicals and bacteria that have managed to seep into the water supply. Contamination by chemicals is largely due to leaking gasoline storage tanks, pesticide applications, and landfills, while bacterial contaminations are as a result of poorly maintained septic systems, livestock areas, or poorly constructed wells.

The Department has made chemical fact sheets available that contain information on a variety of specific chemicals including risk of exposure, how such chemicals can affect your health, and what the standards are for such chemicals. The most common contaminants in Florida are bacteria, nitrates, and lead. Other chemicals such as ethylene dibromide (EDB), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and temik have also been found in isolated areas. Here is some information about the different contaminants you may find in your unfiltered water:

  • Lead: the contamination of water with lead has caused some problems in Florida and is typically as a result of using lead-based pipes or other lead-based components in your plumbing system. Lead is toxic to almost every organ and is especially dangerous to children as it can cause developmental issues, stunted growth, deafness, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and brain damage. It has additionally been linked to a variety of other health problems. For this reason, there should never be more than .015mg/L lead in drinking water. Testing should take place before and after any plumbing work as well as every three to five years thereafter.
  • Nitrates: nitrate is an essential component of all living things and occurs naturally in soil and water. However, nitrate can pose a health risk if levels are too high, especially to children under three months of age who could develop blue baby syndrome. High levels could be due to fertilizers, septic systems, animal and industrial wastes, etc. Levels should not exceed 10mg/L and should be tested every three to five years.
  • Bacteria: Diarrhea is commonly associated with drinking water that is contaminated with bacteria. Wells should be tested for coliform bacteria after any repairs, if the well was flooded or if nearby wells have been contaminated with bacteria. A change in the color, taste, or smell of your drinking water may indicate the presence of harmful bacteria.
  • Chemical contaminants: The largest source of groundwater contamination with chemicals is underground leaking petroleum storage tanks. For this reason, the Florida Legislature created the SUPER Act clean-up program.

Water Treatment
Only 80% of Florida’s residents receive their water from public water systems which are covered by the Federal Safe Drinking Act. The other 20% receive their water from limited-use public or private systems, where it is the responsibility of the private owners to ensure the safety of their water. Given the many potential contaminants in our drinking water, Art Plumbing, AC & Electric offers various water treatment systems to ensure that you and your family stays healthy, no matter where your drinking water is coming from.

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