Antimony Contamination in Drinking Water Around Tampa Bay, Florida
Antimony is a silvery-white metal that is found in the earth's crust. It occurs naturally in soils, groundwater, and surface waters in low concentrations. However, certain human activities like mining and smelting can mobilize antimony and increase its concentration in water supplies.
Prolonged exposure to elevated levels of antimony in drinking water can potentially lead to health issues. This article will discuss the presence of antimony contamination in drinking water in counties, cities and neighborhoods around Tampa Bay, Florida. It will also overview the health concerns linked to antimony exposure and recommend effective water treatment solutions to eliminate antimony from water.
Presence of Antimony Contaminant in Drinking Water
The most common source of antimony in groundwater is dissolution from minerals containing antimony in the aquifer matrix. Activities like mining and smelting that disturb the rocks and soil can release antimony into adjacent ground and surface waters.
According to a report by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), antimony concentrations above the state Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 6 ppb have been detected in groundwater monitoring wells in Polk and Hillsborough counties. Private residential wells in the following neighborhoods tested high for antimony:
Sun City Center
Elevated levels of antimony have also been found in tap water samples from municipal water systems that draw groundwater from the Upper Floridan aquifer, including:
New Port Richey
The municipal water systems have installed treatment to remove antimony to levels below the MCL before distribution. However, private wells drawing from the Floridan aquifer in impacted areas remain at risk of antimony contamination.
Health Concerns with Antimony Exposure
Antimony is considered a possible human carcinogen by EPA. Long-term exposure to high concentrations of antimony in drinking water can potentially lead to health issues including:
Irritation of eyes, skin, and lungs
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Increased risk of lung cancer
Sensitive populations like pregnant women, infants, young children, and people with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to antimony toxicity.
While antimony contamination is a health concern, the good news is that there are effective water treatment solutions that can remove antimony from drinking water to safe levels, as discussed next.
Water Treatment Solutions for Antimony Removal
The following water treatment systems are capable of reducing antimony in drinking water to concentrations well below the EPA MCL of 6 ppb:
Reverse Osmosis Filtration
AquaRevive Reverse Osmosis System uses a multi-stage filtration process including reverse osmosis membranes that effectively remove over 98% of antimony and other heavy metal contaminants. Reverse osmosis also eliminates bacteria, salts, pesticides, and other impurities that standard filters cannot. It is one of the best options for treating antimony in well water or water systems with high antimony levels above the MCL.
Activated Alumina Filtration
AquaBlue Whole House Filter utilizes activated alumina media in the filtration process that chemically adsorbs antimony along with other heavy metals. Whole house units treat all water entering the home. They are ideal if antimony is an issue in both well water and municipal supply.
For well water with multiple contaminants including antimony, combinations of treatment processes may be recommended. For example, pre-filters like AquaCarbonGuard followed by reverse osmosis or UV oxidation provides a comprehensive water treatment solution.
Professional water treatment companies like Aqua-Wise offer complete testing and custom systems based on a home's specific water quality and needs. Annual testing is recommended to monitor antimony and optimize the treatment system.
Access Resources and Learn More
To learn more about antimony and other drinking water contaminants in Florida, check out these additional resources:
Florida Dept of Environmental Protection Source Water Assessment Program
EPA Fact Sheet on Antimony
While antimony contamination has impacted some groundwater sources in counties around Tampa Bay, proper testing and treatment can ensure your drinking water is safe. Aqua-Wise offers full-service water testing and a range of treatment systems proven to effectively eliminate antimony and other contaminants. Schedule a free water test today to get started evaluating your water quality and options. With the right water treatment, you can have clean, great-tasting water flowing from every tap.