Florida’s Water Quality 2021 – What’s the Top Water Problems in Major Cities of FL

Florida is a state that is surrounded by water. While most of that water is not suitable for use, the water just underneath the surface is.

Florida rests on a freshwater aquifer that supplies springs, streams, and rivers. As such, much of the water used by Florida residents is sourced from the surface water these rivers provide.

Floridians rarely experience drought-like conditions as there are prevalent opportunities for rain and sometimes it comes in mass (tropical storms and hurricanes).

As most of the water supply is from surface and groundwater, Floridians experience hard water frequently. Hard water is not dangerous to drink but it can cause issues like dry skin, scratchy clothes after laundering, and some problems with appliances using the water.

Common Water Problems by City

Most Florida cities avoid challenges with the water supply but most experience hard water symptoms. As much of the water is pumped from aquifers that run through limestone, many of the Florida water issues are similar to those experienced by those who get their water from wells.

City

Water Source

Common Problems

Typical Symptoms

Jacksonville

Floridan Aquifer

High in Chlorine

 

High in Minerals

Dry Skin

 

Itchy Scalp

Miami

Biscayne Aquifer

High in Organics

 

High in Calcium

 

High in Magnesium

Hard Water

 

Bad Taste

 

Tampa

Hillsborough River

 

Aquifer Sources

 

Desalination Process

Multiple Contaminants

 

High in Chlorine

 

High in Ammonia

Bad Taste

 

Hard Water

 

Orlando

Floridan Aquifer

High in Minerals

 

High in Chlorine

Dry Skin

 

Bad Taste

Jacksonville

Jacksonville sources its water from the Floridan Aquifer. It uses well fields to pump the water from the aquifer to the water treatment facility. Here, chlorine is added before sending it off to customers around Jacksonville.

Jacksonville features hard water, much like most cities using groundwater sources. The build up of minerals can cause dry skin and an itchy scalp. Hard water can also reduce the efficiency of appliances that use the water.

Miami

The city of Miami and its surrounding areas primarily source water from the Biscayne Aquifer. This aquifer sits quite close to the surface, causing unique issues for the water supply.

The lack of distance from the surface allows contaminants to easily seep from above. This infiltration can lead to lower water quality and bad taste. The water department in Miami aims to counteract this by adding chlorine (which is why some Miamians think the water tastes like pool water).

The Biscayne Aquifer features a higher level of organic material than deeper aquifers. This can also impact the taste of the water. Those drinking or using Miami water may also notice coloration, caused by the groundwater traveling over a variety of surface environments.

Tampa

Most of Tampa’s water comes from the Hillsborough River. As such, many contaminants have the opportunity to enter the supply. Animal waste, fertilizers, and even nuclear waste have been found in this river.

To treat the excessive number of potential contaminants, Tampa uses chlorine and ammonia. Residents often complain that the water smells like these products and have difficult drinking it.

Tampa suffers from hard water as dissolved minerals dominate the supply. This can cause dry skin and wreak havoc on laundry.

Orlando

The land of Mickey Mouse and myriad other adventure opportunities sources its water from the Floridan Aquifer. Water falls from rain and seeps through the sand rock layers above the aquifer.

This natural filtration process eliminates many contaminants but can result in excessive mineral absorption. These minerals create hard water. Hard water notoriously dries skin and results in stiff laundry.

Some of the rainwater passes through marshland as it works its way into the aquifer. This can result in a discoloration but has no impact on safety or taste. Any “bad taste” is a result of the chlorine used to disinfect the water.