Common Water Problems & Symptoms
Much of the water we consume along the Southeast Florida Coast is delivered through underground aquifers and water wells. Whether your water is from a private well or city water system, many common water problems can influence water quality giving it unpleasant tastes, smells, and appearances. For more than forty years, Atlantic Coast Water Clinic has been solving simple and complex water problems throughout Indian River, Martin, and St. Lucie counties with water treatment solutions customized to solve your specific water quality problems.
Hard water is the most common water problem in Florida that affects private wells and municipal water systems. It is due to high levels of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals in the water supply. The high concentrations of minerals cause soap scum and scale build-up that clog water pipes and damage the water heater, washing machine, dishwasher, and other appliances that use water, requiring their premature replacement. It also causes spots on sinks, tubs, showers, plumbing fixtures, and stains on laundry and dishware.
Chlorine is the most common disinfectant to kill germs and waterborne bacteria in the water. It is used by more than 90% of public water treatment facilities. The EPA requires public water systems to maintain chlorine levels at a detectable range, but not more than 4 milligrams per liter. High concentrations of chlorine in the water have a bleach-like odor and should be filtered out.
Most of Florida's population are drinking fluoridated water, including all public water customers in Indian River County and most water systems in St. Lucie County. Community fluoridation began in the 1960s to reduce tooth decay. With many oral hygiene products on the market, there is a potential of consuming too much fluoride, a condition known as fluorosis. There are also studies underway to determine a link between fluoridated water and bone cancer.
Due to Florida’s high water table at just 4 feet underground, our groundwater is susceptible to contamination. Pesticides, gasoline, chemicals, and other pollutants from farms, manufacturing facilities, waste treatment plants, and other industrial facilities can leak into the soil and contaminate the groundwater.
Some types of bacteria and viruses such as E. coli, shigella, vibrio, salmonella, and other microorganisms can infect groundwater wells. Contamination can occur when waste runoff from agriculture, livestock, and leaking septic tanks and wells get into soil and infect groundwater. Consuming water contaminated with waterborne bacteria, cysts, and viruses can cause severe health issues.
Arsenic enters the water supply through natural deposits in the earth. It is also an ingredient in fertilizer, rat poison, and other products used in manufacturing and industrial facilities. The runoff from these facilities can contaminate the water. Arsenic poses significant health issues, including circulatory problems and increased risk to some cancers, when elevated amounts are found in the drinking water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 30% of the water wells tested in some Florida cities had elevated arsenic amounts. The EPA considers arsenic levels of 0.010 ppm (parts per million) or below safe for consumption.
Some municipal water utilities, including the City of Port St. Lucie, are now using chloramine for water disinfection. Water treatment plants make chloramine by adding a small amount of ammonia to chlorine. It prevents the development of a potential carcinogen known as trihalomethanes (THMs) from infecting the water. However, some total organic compounds (TOCS) may remain after the water treatment process. Also, some homes could have higher levels of ammonia or chlorine due to the disinfecting process.
Chloride is one of the most common naturally occurring elements in seawater and other natural bodies of water. The anon binds with sodium, potassium, and calcium to produce salts, such as table salt (sodium chloride). Elevated concentrations of chlorides in drinking water give it a salty taste. Chloride levels can be higher in coastal communities due to seawater intruding in fresh groundwater sources.
When dissolved or suspended solids enter the water supply, it can increase the turbidity causing the water to become cloudy or murky. Cloudy or turbid water can occur when heavy rain washes sand and mud into surrounding lakes, streams, rivers, and other surface water sources. Since studies indicate a link between turbid water and bacteria, it may also represent a health concern.
The pH of pure water is 7, and water is acidic when the pH value drops below 7. Acidic water is a problem that primarily affects homes that use surface water from area lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds. Private wells can also have an acidic problem if rainfall, chemicals, and minerals in the soil lower the pH balance in the water. Acidic water has a metallic taste and taints metal plumbing fixtures with bluish-green stains. It is very corrosive and can cause copper pipes to disintegrate. The disintegrating copper can also cause health issues such as Wilson's Disease if it leaks into the drinking water.
Iron and manganese are naturally present in Florida groundwater. Although iron and manganese are essential nutrients, high concentrations in the water can cause health problems. It can also give drinking water a metallic taste and cloudy appearance. It is also a contributor to hard water and can cause rust or black stains on plumbing fixtures, appliances, and laundry.
Methane is an odorless and colorless gas that is naturally present in some water wells. Also, landfills and underground gas pipelines can leak methane gas into the well water. It often produces carbonated bubbles, and the water may look cloudy or milky. Since methane gas can quickly fill the air, the flammable gas can build-up in poorly ventilated areas, increasing the risk of an explosion. A methane (CH4) detector is the only way to detect if elevated methane gas levels are present.
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) are chemicals that were widely used in manufacturing consumer goods and other industrial uses for decades. Due to potential environmental and health hazards, they were phased out several years ago. However, these organic compounds do not decompose as quickly as other organic materials. Exposure to PFOA and PFOS can occur when the chemicals get into the soil and contaminate the water supply. Concentrations of 20-70 nanograms per liter have been detected in the water along the Southeast Florida coast.
If your water smells like rotten eggs, it's most likely due to hydrogen sulfide in the water. Sulfates are naturally present in groundwater, so it is a common residential problem. The sulfur can produce yellow stains on appliances, plumbing fixtures, and laundry. Besides its unpleasant smell and taste, it can also cause metal pipes to corrode.
Tannins are a problem that can affect private well owners, primarily in low-lying areas or along the coast. Tannins can also seep into the groundwater from farms in rural areas. When vegetation decomposes, the fermentation produces tannins. Although the compound is not hazardous to your health, it makes the water look like tea with an earthy odor and tangy aftertaste.
Solutions for Common Water Problems
Life is better with healthy water from Atlantic Coast Water Clinic. We're solving common water problems along the Treasure Coast, including Indiantown, Hobe Sound, Port St. Lucie, Stuart, and communities throughout Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties.
Get a Free Analysis & Quote from Atlantic Coast Water Clinic for any of our solutions. Call (772) 283-4767 or use our online form at the top of the page.