Florida, affectionately known as the Sunshine State is one of the biggest vacation spots in the US, bringing millions of tourists each year to its miles and miles of sandy beaches and world-renowned parks and amusement centers.
When it comes to the miles of sandy beaches, things became concerning in recent years when two seperate ecological disasters wreaked havoc on Florida’s crystal blue waters. The first emergency involved a persistently harmful algae, known as red tide, which drifted along Florida’s Gulf Coast, killing fish, manatee and turtles along the way. The second occurred when toxic blue-green algae blooms began popping up in Florida’s ocean, rivers and lakes. These eco-disasters commanded the Nation’s attention toward Florida’s waterways and what we all discovered was that the freshwater algae blooms were caused by an overabundance of pollutants like fertilizer.
Not only are Florida’s beaches and oceans getting an unhealthy level of pollutants, these contaminants are also finding their way into the state’s drinking water supply.
Why has Florida’s water become so polluted? Some of it is just the weather. A reason for Florida’s polluted water is that hurricanes and coastal storms in the state cause flooding that seeps into the water supply, deluging tap water with runoff impurities.
Certain contaminants reign supreme in Florida’s water supply. Some parts of the state have even been found to have high counts of coliform bacteria, which comes from human or animal feces. Like many other parts of the country, Florida also has issues with lead getting into the tap at schools and in homes. Nearly 50,000 Floridians were exposed to unhealthy levels of lead from 2012 to 2015, most likely caused by lead leaching from old pipes. Infact the EPA estimates that the state needs more than $15 billion to fix its aging drinking water infrastructure. Unfortunately, the state isn’t seen as a help when it comes to sorting these issues out. Floridians have accused the state of dragging its feet when it comes to remediating known-groundwater contamination sites and of identifying another 22 sites that could be contaminated. The contaminated sites were once firefighting training facilities that used a toxic fire retardant foam containing PFAS, which are linked to cancers.
And that’s not all - in 2019, the EPA said that more than 1,500 of Florida’s municipal water systems had violated quality standards set for drinking water. In other words, Florida’s tap water is some of the worst in the US - and since Florida’s municipal water systems have an old, aging infrastructure that the EPA estimates will take $15 billion to fix, investing in an at-home water filtration system may be the best idea for Floridians. But before we get into the water filtration option, let's first discuss how Florida became one of the worst places for tap water in the US.
How did this happen?
There are a few different factors that combine to create the perfect storm that makes a state’s water quality substandard.
- Deteriorating infrastructure - The first reason deals with the infrastructure of the municipality supplying the water. In a perfect situation, public water pipes would remain in tip-top condition but in the real world, they don’t. Here’s a common example seen in deteriorating pipes: If a water pipe becomes old and starts to leak it can create a vacuum-like situation pulling untreated water in with treated water. When you turn on your faucet, your water would be both treated and untreated.
- Deteriorating infrastructure (part 2) - Another problem with old pipes is that they can seep copper, lead and additional heavy metal impurities - inviting a dangerous and unhealthy cocktail of contaminants into your drinking cup.
- Hazardous runoff - Hazardous tap water is also caused by runoff from farms and manufacturing plants, like car-making plants and coal mining plants. Runoff seeps into our water bodies and then gets into our water supply.
- Adding chlorine - Municipalities often add chlorine to the water supply in order to improve the taste or smell of the water; but it’s not safe.
How can I find out if my home has bad tap water in Florida?
Ask your provider.
The first thing you should do is call or email your local water provider and ask them to give you a copy of the most up-to-date water quality report they have. This report will detail the exact tests done to the water in your area with the dates the tests were performed and the results of the tests. The test results will give you insight into what contaminants may have been detected in your water. After that you can decide to have further testing done or you could move forward satisfied with what the report says - either way now you have information about the likely contaminants in your water.
Send samples for testing.
The most thorough testing will occur when you send out a sample of your tap water - this will also give you the most accurate results. You should always send your sample to a certified water-testing lab because they hire experts who will know what to look for. As an example: some chemical contaminants are hard-to-detect and can be overlooked by novice testers. Professional water labs will check for bacteria, chlorine, lead and pesticides as well as any specific contaminants you request.
Test your water at home.
You can also do it yourself and if that’s something you enjoy, there are water testing kits that can be purchased to make that happen. Professional lab testing is the most accurate and thorough way to test water - but with that said, at-home water testing kits can provide you with crucial information on your drinking water.
You can buy a kit online or in your local hardware store. The test strip kit will give you instructions on how to perform a test at home. Here’s an important tip: when testing your water at home, yourself, do it twice. Testing your water two times will ensure that your results are accurate. If you find that impurities are present, consider investing in a good water filtration device. A good water filtration system will help you to eliminate many contaminants and bring your drinking water to its most healthy and pure state. Finding a good, reliable water filtration system may be a daunting task - so let’s talk about the best system available to you.
Invest in The Water Machine.
The Water Machine is the world's first all-glass, gravity-fed countertop water filter. It's design is both functional and stylish, making The Water Machine an eye-pleasing focal point in your kitchen - or wherever you decide to put it. The Water Machine features a sleek hammered-glass design and can filter up to 6,000 gallons of water over a 10-year span (if you consume a gallon-and-a-half of water a day). Water filtered through The Water Machine is crisp and clean without a metallic or plastic aftertaste; it is some of the most delicious and refreshing water you'll ever enjoy. Plus our all-glass design helps reduce plastic waste in the environment. In fact, The Water Machine is committed to environmental causes, with a portion of all of our sales going toward clean water organizations including Water.org, who has given 36-million people worldwide access to clean, uncontaminated water; and Charitywater.org, whose goal is to bring clean drinking water to everyone on the planet. Please visit their websites to see more of the amazing work these organizations do.
The Water Machine eliminates the following contaminants: Bacteria like E. coli, Chlorine, Viruses, Chloramines, Parasites, Fluoride, Heavy Metals, Trihalomethane (THMs), Pharmaceuticals, Petroleum Contaminants, Bisphenol-A (BPA), Radiologicals, Perfluorochemicals (PFOAS), and Herbicides & Pesticides.