Spotlight on Drinking Water Quality in the City of Orlando and the Florida Aquifer

© Orlando Local Guide
© Orlando Local Guide

Aging water systems can threaten water quality

Age is rarely kind to community infrastructure such as roads, bridges and sewer systems. Even relatively new water treatment facilities are struggling to keep up with population growth, tighter pollution restrictions and increased water runoff secondary to development. Cities and towns are struggling to provide healthy drinking water to residents and return treated and healthy water from sewage systems to the planet. Despite the best of intentions, we often fail at one or both of the processes and a primary reason is the age of most sewer systems.

Poor drinking water

Most Americans take the safety of their drinking water for granted. Water polluted with coliform – or fecal – bacteria seems like a problem that couldn’t happen in the United States. But that’s not the case. Drinking water supplies are potentially at risk for coliform bacteria contamination with every rainfall or snowstorm. The water run-off from these weather events can overwhelm a community water treatment facility’s capacity, in an event known as a “combined sewage overflow,” or CSO.

Chemicals in water

Other communities routinely provide tap water to their residents that contains chemicals known to be harmful to human health. Residents are rarely notified of their tap water quality unless they choose to have it tested by a private company. A study conducted by the Environmental Working Group ranked different municipalities’ tap water quality in a 100 city list of descending quality. Florida’s need to improve its water infrastructure was noted by the number of cities and counties on the list, such as:

  • Odessa at No. 20
  • Manatee County at No. 38
  • Miami at No. 46
  • Pinellas County at No. 57
  • Hillsborough County at No. 65
  • Tampa at No. 68
  • Orlando at No. 81
  • Cocoa at No. 86
  • Jacksonville at No. 91
  • Pensacola, last and worst on the list at No. 100

Specifically, the study noted that Orlando – home to half a million residents and a destination for millions – received a low rating due to the presence of 17 chemicals in tap water, seven of which could pose health hazards.

Hard water

There has long been a demand for Florida water softeners due to the high mineral content of most of its drinking water. While high mineral content isn’t a health risk, it can cause problems in homes, such as:

  • Mineral build-up in appliances, such as coffee makers or washing machines, that can reduce functionality
  • Stained laundry
  • Buildup in pipes that reduces water pressure
  • Stains on sinks and tubs, or around faucets
  • Increased consumption of detergents, due to hard water’s negative impact on lathering capability
  • Stained and spotty dishes

What to do about your water

Home filtration systems, simple pitcher-style water filters or simply switching to bottled water can eliminate many health concerns about tap water. And while you may be able to remove hard water stains in your home, a water softener can eliminate them from developing in the first place.

If you have doubts about the safety or purity of your water, you can buy a water testing kit to determine what’s in your water, or hire a professional to test your water and make recommendations about how to remedy problems.

Florida Aquifer Informational Video

About the Author

Grady Winston is an avid internet entrepreneur and copywriter from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.