Is Florida Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Is Florida Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Where Does Florida Tap Water Come From?

Whether you’re new to Florida or a long-time resident, you might be wondering if Florida tap water is safe to drink. Did you know that certain places below your feet have fresh groundwater that you can actually drink? In fact, about 90% of the state’s drinking water comes from underground water supplied by aquifers.

What Is an Aquifer?

An aquifer is really just a big permeable rock that lies underground. The rock is made from porous limestone and has a large amount of freshwater in it and going through it. This water can be extracted by using a water well. Unfortunately, in Florida, aquifer water is extremely susceptible to contamination because Florida aquifers have an unique water flow system. According to the Southern Regional Water Program, it has a “thin soil layer, high water table, porous limestone and large quantities of rainfall coupled with rapid population growth, result in a groundwater resource extremely vulnerable to contamination.”

So, Is Florida Tap Water Safe to Drink?

For the most part, yes. Unless you get a boil-water advisory, Florida tap water is safe to drink. According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the water is safe to drink but there’s always a possibility that it can be contaminated.

4 Signs Your Tap Water Might Be Bad to Drink

If you’re skeptical about drinking Florida tap water from your sink, you can use these 4 tips adapted from Business Insider to see if it’s dangerous for consumption. Luckily, you don’t need any special equipment. Your senses will do.

1. Taste

A metallic taste could mean that there’s an excess of iron or copper in your tap water. The metal taste can come from rusty pipes like iron, manganese, zinc, copper, and lead that goes into local water supplies.

2. Smell

  • Bleach: Bleach is added to water nationwide in order to kill germs, pathogens and other harmful substances. However, an excess amount of bleach can result in harmful byproducts, such as trihalomethanes (THMs) that has been linked to kidney issues and increased cancer risk.
  • Rotten eggs: Have you ever smelled water that reminded you of rotten eggs or sewage water? If your tap water smells like this, then it could contain hydrogen sulfide. It occurs naturally in groundwater, but when it’s exposed to certain bacteria, it turns into sulfate. Sulfate can cause dehydration or diarrhea.
  • Fishy: If your tap water smells a bit fishy, there could be an excess of barium. This could result in increased blood pressure, muscle weakness, or kidney/liver/heart damage.

3. Touch

If you wash your hands with soap and water and your hands feel a bit slimy afterwards, this could be a sign of “hard” water. Hard water is usually a buildup of calcium or magnesium but could also be a sign of other metals, such as aluminium, manganese, and lead.

4. Color

An obvious for-sure sign that your water is contaminated is discoloration. If you see yellow, orange or brown in your tap water, do not drink it! It could be anything from excess metals, rust, or bacteria that has grown in the water. Likewise, if your water comes out with some green or blue specks, this means it has copper caused by corroded pipes. High doses of copper can result in health problems like anemia and liver and kidney damage.

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Karina Philaphandeth