Problems We Found In Jacksonville Drinking Water
Analies Dyjak | Policy Analyst
Updated July 1, 2019 to include current data
For our assessment of Jacksonville's tap and drinking water quality, we used data from the most recent 2019 Consumer Confidence Report from Jacksonville Electric Authority. Our Water Nerds used available data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as from samples that we collect and analyze. We cross reference these data with EPA standards, toxicity studies in scientific and medical literature, and look at upcoming regulatory changes. At Hydroviv, we customize our water filters to remove contaminants unique to Jacksonville drinking water.
Source Of Jacksonville Drinking Water
Jacksonville’s drinking water comes from the Floridan aquifer, which supplies drinking water to over 10 million people. Wells that draw from the Floridan Aquifer are protected from surface chemical contamination by the Hawthorne formation, which is a thick layer of clay that prevents pollutants from seeping below it. Even so, one of the biggest threats to the Floridan Aquifer is stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff occurs when rain passes over paved surfaces, collecting pollution as it travels into nearby surface water. Jacksonville water comes from over 115 wells throughout Duval, St. Johns and Nassau Counties, and is pumped from the aquifer into large reservoirs at one of the 37 treatment plants.
Arsenic Detected In Jacksonville Drinking Water
Arsenic is a toxic heavy metal that is known to cause cancer and other adverse health issues. Unlike lead, which distributes into water from plumbing, arsenic comes from the source water itself. Several underground aquifers throughout the U.S. naturally contain arsenic, which can be released as bedrock weathers overtime. Data from surrounding communities indicates that water from the Floridan Aquifer contains arsenic. Additionally, 2016 water quality data reported that arsenic concentrations averaged 2.75 parts per billion in Jacksonville drinking water. Arsenic exposure is associated with bladder and lung cancers, as well as a long list of non-cancer effects in humans. It's important to note that EPA's drinking water standards balance the toxicity of regulating a contaminant against the costs of removing it at the municipal level. Because of this, the EPA standard for arsenic may not reflect toxicological recommendations. Hydroviv strongly recommends that anyone that lives in an area with more than 1 part per billion take steps to remove arsenic from their water, especially families with children.
Lead Levels Found In Jacksonville Drinking Water
Lead enters tap water through older lead service pipes and lead-containing plumbing. When corrosion control measures put in place by the municipality fail (similar to what recently happened in Flint, Michigan), lead leaches into the drinking water, and can reach dangerous levels. Currently, 10% of samples analyzed for lead in Jacksonville are 1.95 parts per billion. Though Jacksonville's drinking water quality is in compliance with loose federal regulations, health and regulatory organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, Environmental Protection Agency and Center for Disease Control, all agree that there is no safe level of lead for children.
Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) In Jacksonville Drinking Water
Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) are a category of emerging contaminants that form when chlorine-based disinfectants react with naturally-occurring organic matter. EPA regulates two variations of DBPs: Total Trihalomethanes (THHMs) and Haloacetic Acids 5 (HAA5). According to the most recent report, the maximum level exceeded the regulatory threshold for TTHMs. Although these chemicals are only loosely regulated at this time, EPA has concluded that high levels of DBPs are associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system problems.
Chlorine In Jacksonville Drinking Water
Like many municipalities in the U.S., Jacksonville adds chlorine to its raw water to protect against waterborne illnesses. While not typically considered to be harmful on its own, many people find that removing chlorine from drinking water greatly enhances its taste and odor.
Still Have Questions About Jacksonville Tap Water?
Hydroviv is a water filtration company that uses water quality data to optimize water filters for each city’s water. The contaminants that we list above are what we consider to be major “points of emphasis” that we use to build water filters that are built specifically for Jacksonville's tap water, but all of the water filters that we build provide broad protection against other contaminants commonly found in drinking water (e.g. VOCs, heavy metals [including lead], pharmaceuticals, solvents, pesticides, mercury).
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