Tap water in Florida varies widely depending on where you are in the state:
- If you’re in Miramar, you could be drinking 77 different contaminants.
- Boca Raton has one-fifth of that amount at 15 contaminants.
- Both cities have some level of lead in their water supply.
In this article, we’ll talk about where tap water comes from, common contaminants, and provide resources about specific Florida cities.
Want to jump ahead to water quality information? Go to the Florida Water Quality page to look up a specific city.
Florida Tap Water Sources
Florida draws its drinking water from various sources, including:
- Groundwater: The majority of Florida’s tap water comes from underground aquifers, which are natural underground reservoirs that store and supply water. The Floridan Aquifer, one of the largest in the world, is a significant source of groundwater for the state.
- Surface Water: Surface water sources such as lakes, rivers, and reservoirs also contribute to Florida’s tap water supply. The state has an extensive network of surface water bodies that are carefully monitored and managed.
Common Contaminants in Florida Tap Water
While Florida’s tap water generally meets regulatory standards*, it’s important to be aware of potential contaminants that can be present.
Some common contaminants found in drinking water include:
- Microorganisms: Bacteria, viruses, and parasites can find their way into water sources, posing health risks if not properly treated.
- Disinfection Byproducts: The use of chlorine or other disinfectants in water treatment processes can lead to the formation of disinfection byproducts (DBPs). These byproducts may include trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs), which are regulated to ensure safe levels.
- Agricultural Runoff: Florida’s agricultural industry is significant, and runoff from farms can introduce fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals into water sources, potentially impacting water quality.
- Industrial Effluents: Industrial activities can release contaminants into the environment, which may find their way into water sources through runoff or improper waste disposal.
*Meeting “regulatory standards” does not mean the water is safe.
Water Quality Monitoring and Treatment
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and local water utilities are responsible for monitoring and treating tap water to ensure its safety.
These entities regularly conduct tests to detect contaminants and maintain compliance with federal and state standards.
Water treatment processes employed in Florida may include:
- Coagulation and Flocculation: Chemicals are added to water to remove impurities by causing particles to clump together.
- Sedimentation: The clumped particles settle to the bottom of a tank, allowing clean water to be separated.
- Filtration: Water passes through filters, such as sand or activated carbon, to further remove remaining impurities.
- Disinfection: Chlorine or other disinfectants are added to kill bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.
Is Florida Tap Water Safe to Drink?
Based on our research and sources, there are some concerns about the quality of Florida tap water.
As mentioned, Miramar, Florida has 77 known contaminants in its water. Many of these may cause health problems.
- Haloacetic acids are a potential cause of cancer, for example.
While tap water in Florida is officially considered safe to drink, you can take additional steps to ensure the water you consume is of the highest quality:
- Use Water Filters: Consider using a point-of-use water filter certified to remove specific contaminants or improve taste and odor.
- See our recommendations on Water Filters.
- Regular Maintenance: Regularly clean and maintain household plumbing fixtures and filters to prevent buildup and ensure optimal water flow.
- Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with water quality reports provided by your local water utility company. They often share information on water sources, testing results, and any potential concerns.
Understanding tap water in Florida is crucial for maintaining good health.
With its diverse water sources and comprehensive treatment processes, Florida strives to provide clean and safe tap water to its residents.
To stay informed, we recommend looking up your city on our Florida Water Quality page.