Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in Florida?
If you recently moved to Florida and have been drinking tap water, you may be wondering if Florida tap water is safe to drink. Perhaps your tap water has an odor and taste that isn’t exactly pleasant. Long-term Florida residents have probably noticed that the smell and taste of tap water vary throughout the state. For example, you may have noticed that the tap water in your office tastes slightly different from the tap water in your home, and you are concerned about the safety of drinking it.
Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in Florida?
The answer to that question is a qualified yes. Under normal conditions, most public water systems in the State of Florida are regulated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and must meet their strict regulations for water quality and safety. Seven counties, though, are regulated by the Florida Department of Health (DOH), a sister agency. To complicate matters even more, extremely small Florida water systems known as Community Public Drinking Water Systems are regulated under a different set of rules and may not be required to meet the same DEP and DOH standards as larger systems.
Why Does My Highly Regulated Tap Water Taste Bad?
There are two reasons why your highly regulated tap water may not smell or taste the way you think it should. First, DEP regulations specify the maximum amount of minerals, metals, and contaminants allowed in tap water. That doesn’t mean that the tap water is free of those things. It just means that their concentrations are below DEP maximum levels. Second, DEP is mostly concerned about the safety of tap water and not the smell or taste of it. Some substances found in tap water are not highly regulated because they are not considered to be a safety hazard. However, those substances may still alter the smell and taste of your tap water.
What Is the Source of Florida Tap Water?
Most of Florida’s tap water comes from groundwater. The water is pumped out of the state’s aquifer through the use of deep wells. An aquifer is an underground layer of permeable rock, such as limestone, through which water can flow. Florida’s aquifer consists of three layers, and tap water is usually pumped out of the deepest layer. The rock in that layer acts as a natural filter and filters out sediment and larger-sized particulates. However, it does not filter out dissolved substances or extremely small particulates.
Can Florida’s Groundwater Become Contaminated?
Yes, Florida’s groundwater can become contaminated, which means that Florida’s tap water can also become contaminated. Sources of contamination include such things as fertilizer runoff, golf course irrigation, construction, and mining. Dry cleaning solvents and leaking underground storage tanks also contribute to groundwater contamination. From time to time, a sewer line will break, which causes raw sewage to flow into surface water.
When there is a chance that tap water has been contaminated, public utility systems are required to issue a “boil water” notice. That means that your water is not safe to drink unless you boil it. Boil water notices are also given when a major water line breaks because the water from a broken water line is in direct contact with the soil. Even when things are working the way they should, your tap water will contain a certain number of contaminants that escape the natural filtering systems.
Why Does My Tap Water Taste and Smell Like Bleach?
Not only can tap water contain minerals, metals, and contaminants, but it also can contain bacteria capable of making people sick with diseases like Salmonella. To prevent that from happening, regulated Florida public utility systems inject chlorine or chloramine into their water, usually at wellheads. The chlorine or chloramine is what gives your water its bleach smell and taste. The amount of chlorine and chloramine used is small and is not believed to cause any adverse health effects. However, a high concentration of it can negatively affect your water quality.
How Can I Improve the Quality of My Tap Water?
The best way to improve the quality of your tap water is to install a whole house water filter system. Such a system relies on carbon filtration to eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level of sediment and silt as well as chlorine and chloramine. You will immediately notice how much better your water tastes with a whole house filter. Even your coffee, tea, and other drinks made with tap water will taste better. Over time, you will also discover that your hair and skin are softer than they were before you installed the whole house filter.
UV Water Filtration Systems
You may also want to invest in a UV water filtration system if you want to have the safest water possible. UV water filtration systems typically do not operate as stand-alone systems but are sold as an option to whole house filter systems. Ultraviolet (UV) rays have the ability to disinfect water and kill microbial parasites that are able to survive chlorine treatment. UV water filtration is also able to disinfect water without chemicals and leaves no taste, odor, or residue.
Benefits of Whole House Water Filtration Systems
Whole house filter systems give you cleaner, fresher tasting water by filtering out chlorine, chloramine, and many more contaminants. Even your coffee and tea will taste better when made with filtered water. Your water will also be safer to drink due to the removal of sediment, silt, and debris. Additionally, the removal of harsh chemicals from your shower and bath water will make your hair and skin feel softer.
Salt-Free Water Softeners
Water that contains a high concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium is known as hard water. If you have ever taken a shower in hard water, you may have discovered that your soap didn’t want to lather up but produced soap scum. Hard water will also cause mineral deposits to build up on shower heads and in tea kettles and coffee pots. Hard water is also known to damage water heaters. However, hard water can be turned into soft water by using a water softener.
In the past, most water softeners relied on salt to soften water. A salt water softening system uses electrically charged ions to remove the mineral particles, thereby softening the water. Salt-Free Water Softeners operate on a completely different principle that does not require salt.
Benefits of Salt-Free Water Softeners
Water softeners that use salt remove beneficial minerals from the water, such as calcium and magnesium. However, those beneficial minerals are vital for building strong bones and teeth. A salt-free water softening system, though, has the ability to condition the water without removing beneficial minerals. Salt-Free Softeners eliminate hard water scale internally in your plumbing without the use of salt and are safe for pets, lawns, and gardens. Water that has been conditioned in a salt-free system is also more environmentally friendly.
You may be unhappy with the quality of your tap water and are wondering if it is safe to drink. Perhaps it has a strong chemical odor or smells of bleach. You also may have noticed that your hard water is damaging your plumbing and appliances. If you are faced with any of those circumstances, contact us today, and we will be happy to show you how our whole house water filtering systems and salt-free water softeners can greatly improve the quality of your tap water.