- Common Contaminants
At WaterLux, we have the home water filtration and water softener systems that Floridians can count on to vastly improve their water quality. There are many contaminants that work their way into our water supply. We have the water purification solution that neutralizes these common contaminants and many not-so-common ones.
Hard water refers to water with a high mineral content. Hard water is the result of water that has percolated through deposits of limestone and minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
The minerals contained in hard water settle out as surface deposits when the water evaporates, causing what is commonly known as “soap scum.” The deposits interfere with the ability of cleaning products and causes unsightly discoloration, commonly noticed in bathtubs and sinks.
Hard water scale in your home’s water heater and dishwasher can cause damage to the heating element, as well as clog pipes, fixtures, and shorten the lifespan of other water-based appliances.
Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) in water
Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) are found in most municipal water sources and even in well water, due to agricultural and lawn care runoff. Common VOCs include pesticides and herbicides, contaminants that the Biscayne Aquifer and Florida’s shallow wells are at particular risk for contamination by.
High levels of VOCs have been shown to cause organ damage in the reproductive system, liver, and kidneys.
Endocrine Disrupters are any chemicals that interfere with normal hormone function. These chemicals are ubiquitous for their role plastics, but also include common water contaminants such as Mercury and Arsenic.
From a 2010 congressional testimony on Endocrine Disruptors in drinking water: “Over the past fifty years, researchers observed increases in endocrine-sensitive health outcomes. Breast and prostatic cancer incidence increased between 1969 and 1986 ; there was a four-fold increase in ectopic pregnancies (development of the fertilized egg outside of the uterus) in the U.S. between 1970 and 1987 ; the incidence of cryptorchidism (undescended testicles) doubled in the U.K. between 1960 and the mid 1980s ; and there was an approximately 42% decrease in sperm count worldwide between 1940 and 1990 .”
While heavy metals, such as Mercury and Arsenic have federal safety limits, these numbers are often well above the established health guidelines, and many others are not yet regulated. These are also chemicals that often are not effectively filtered through traditional water treatment methods, making it necessary to supplement with in-home filtration to effectively limit your exposure.
Fluoride in drinking water
Fluoride is purposefully added to the water to help combat tooth decay and has become highly controversial, as the science supporting fluoride has been called into question. In recent years, fluoride has been linked to a number of ailments including thyroid disease, cancer, arthritis, and increased susceptibility to bone fractures. Meanwhile, consuming fluoridated water has not been shown to provide any protection against tooth decay.
Chlorine in water
Chlorine is added as part of the drinking water treatment process, as a disinfectant to reduce microorganisms. In general, drinking water supplies have been greatly improved by the addition of chlorine.
But many people on city water often find that the addition of chlorine in their water supply also produces an objectionable taste and odor that they find offensive.
Chlorine can also react with organic matter in water. This chemical reaction forms a group of chemicals known as chlorination by-products. The most common of these by-products are trihalomethanes (THMs).
Odor and Taste in water
Water supplies contain various minerals and elements as a result of natural processes and even post-treatment additions to the water supply. Whether natural or man-made, the elements that are added to your drinking water can sometimes result in an offensive odor or taste, frequently reported as a faint “rotten egg” odor or “swimming pool” smell and metallic taste.
While not necessarily harmful, these flavors can affect the flavor of food, your morning coffee, and maybe most noticeably, ice cubes.
It doesn’t take much time to realize that you have iron in your water supply.
Rust and black colored stains on sinks, toilets, and showers or a metallic taste and dingy laundry are clear signs that you have iron or manganese in your household’s water.
Iron and manganese sometimes occur in water together. Water that is clear when drawn but changes to a yellow or rusty color after standing is known as ferrous, or clear water, iron. This iron has not yet been exposed to oxygen and therefore has not “rusted” or oxidized.
Ferrous iron is totally dissolved in water, and is readily converted to ferric iron (red water iron) in the presence of any air or oxidizing material.
While not harmful, a high iron content in your water is certainly a nuisance, and can be costly as it stains clothing.
Are any of these in your water? To find out take advantage of our free, no obligation water test by CLICKING HERE. [link to water test contact form]
Contaminants in Southeast Florida City Water
Even if you’re on city water, there is plenty to be concerned about when it comes to water quality.
Water treatment plants take “raw” water from natural sources and treat it to create a potable, safe water source, using federal regulations to determine safe levels of common pollutants. However the legal federal limits and the established health guidelines for these contaminants vary greatly. In many cases the legal limit for a contaminant exceeds the level at which adverse health effects are recognized.
There are many substances that do not have a legal established limit at all, including:
- Disinfection byproducts
- Waterborne pathogens
- Biological toxins
And these substances are commonly found in alarming levels within even treated city water.
While the EPA maintains a Contaminant Candidate List that is reviewed every 5 years, the items on the list have no regulation until they are officially added to the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs), a process which can take years. Meanwhile, daily consumption of tap water that is not filtered any further means a daily dose of a number of unknown substances, including pharmaceutical products, like antibiotics.
Pollutants in Miami-Dade’s Water System
Between 2004 - 2008, comprehensive water testing was performed on Miami-Dade water, which found 290 contaminants, half of which were completely unregulated.
11 of those contaminants exceeded standard health guidelines, including Arsenic, Chloroform, and Radium.
Out of the 22 chemical pollutants found in the treated water of Miami-Dade County, half of them were determined to be by-products of the water treatment process.
To find out what’s in your water, CLICK HERE to take advantage of our free, no obligation water test. [link to water test contact form]
Well Water - Not Necessarily Cleaner Than City Water
While many people have the perception that wells are inherently less pollution-prone than city water, in many cases, the water comes from the same original source. In Miami-Dade, Broward, and Southern Palm Beach Counties, that means the Biscayne Aquifer.
Throughout the state of Florida, the proliferation of shallow aquifers means that the wells are notoriously shallow as well. In Miami-Dade County, a typical well is only 20-30 feet below the surface, and the average Broward County well around 50 feet--twice as deep as those found in Miami-Dade, but still very shallow when compared to the national average of 100-500 feet.
This means that families served by well water are equally susceptible to the surface contamination that easily makes its way through the porous limestone of the Biscayne Aquifer. And because many people believe that their well water is “safer” than treated city water, often they are not doing enough to remove the contaminants added by lawncare, roadside runoff, and industrial waste from their water.
The Septic Threat
An additional concern for homes served by Florida’s shallow wells is the impact of septic systems on water quality. Wells and septic systems go hand in hand, particularly in the rural areas of Palm Beach County.
Florida’s rain and hurricane season makes its shallow wells particularly susceptible to contamination from overflowing and flooded septic fields during heavy rains. Without proper filtration in place, septic contamination can cause a number of serious health threats.
In fact, in the United States, waterborne disease most frequently originates with private wells, or other non-city water systems. Most of the bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that contaminate well water comes from human and other animal waste, including E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter jejuni.
The most common viral contaminants include norovirus, sapovirus, rotavirus, enteroviruses, and hepatitis A and E. Parasites include Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, and microsporidia.
Because most waterborne disease outbreaks originate from private wells, it is considered best practice to thoroughly test your water when digging a new well, buying a new home, or anytime you suspect that your well may have become compromised.
To give your well a check-up, take advantage of our free, no obligation water test by clicking here to schedule an appointment.