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Water, Water Everywhere in Florida, But is it Safe to Drink?

Posted on September 22, 2017

Florida is surrounded by water and generally there are no concerns about a shortage, but what about clean drinking water?

We get a closer look into this precious resource through the work of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington, D.C. — based research and advocacy group.

EWG has created a Tap Water Database that has some pretty scary statistics about what is in our water.

Dial into the database and put in your zip code and EWG provides a detailed analysis for 500 contaminants, their levels and likely sources based on tests conducted from 2010 to 2015.

Here are some of the findings.

Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA Major Grid), serves nearly 704,000 people and shows five contaminants detected above the health guidelines including — chlorate, radiological contaminants, strontium, total trihalomethanes and hormones.

Chlorate is a byproduct of disinfection and can impair the thyroid.

Trihalomethanes form during water treatment with chlorine and disinfections and are a cancer-causing contaminant.

Hormones come from human and animal wastewater since conventional water treatment does not filter out hormones.

Jacksonville Beach WTP serves 23,279 people and had two chemicals above health guidelines – strontium and total trihalomethanes. Four other contaminants were detected – chlorate, chromium, chromium total and haloacetic acids.

Atlantic Beach Water System serves more than 26,000 people. There were three contaminants detected above health guidelines – radiological contaminants, Strontium, and total trihalomethanes.

Strontium levels were well above the national and state guidelines for what is legally permissible in water. Radioactive strontium-90 can cause bone cancer and leukemia.

Sources cited include agriculture, industry and treatment byproducts.

Between January and March of 2017, this utility was in violation of a requirement of the Safe Drinking Water Act to issue an annual consumer report.

Additionally, the database contains more than 160 unregulated contaminants found in drinking water which include invisible solvents for which there are no federal standards.

It should not be surprising that there are differences between the richest and poorest communities.

In East Los Angeles, 14 pollutants tested above the health guidelines. Compare that to a wealthier section of Long Island where only one contaminant was detected.

Few things are more essential than clean water.

To offset your concern about ingesting these contaminants, the EWG database includes a variety of filter suggestions from the most cost effective to the most effective to rid your drinking water of specific contaminants.