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Cyanide Contamination in Drinking Water Around Tampa Bay, Florida

Cyanide is a harmful chemical that can contaminate drinking water supplies if not properly treated. Recent testing has detected concerning levels of cyanide in water sources around Tampa Bay, Florida. This article will examine the health risks, affected areas, and water treatment solutions for cyanide in the region's water.

What is Cyanide and How Does it Get in Drinking Water?

Cyanide refers to chemical compounds containing the CN group. It is highly toxic and can occur naturally in some foods like cassava, cherries, and almonds. However, the main sources of drinking water contamination are from industrial waste discharged into waterways. Industries like metal plating, plastics, fertilizer production, and mining use cyanide in their processes and may release it as a pollutant.

Once in surface water or groundwater, cyanide does not readily break down and can persist in water supplies. The EPA has set a maximum contaminant level of 0.2 mg/L for cyanide in drinking water. Exposure above this level poses health risks.

Health Concerns of Cyanide in Drinking Water

Cyanide is extremely harmful if consumed, even in small amounts. The chemical prevents cells from absorbing oxygen, leading to cellular suffocation.

Acute poisoning from high cyanide exposure causes serious symptoms like:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Dizziness

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of consciousness

Prolonged exposure to lower levels through contaminated drinking water can also have chronic health effects including:

  • Thyroid problems

  • Nerve damage

  • Birth defects

Cyanide’s harmful effects occur from all forms of ingestion, including drinking, bathing, cooking, etc. Therefore, it is critical to treat cyanide-contaminated water supplies.

Cyanide Contamination in Tampa Bay Drinking Water

Recent water quality reports have detected cyanide at troubling levels in portions of the Tampa Bay metro area. The chemical has been measured above the EPA’s regulatory limit in groundwater and surface water sources that feed into municipal supplies.

Hillsborough County

Several wells in Hillsborough County tested positive for cyanide. The contaminated wells are located in the communities of Thonotosassa, Mango, Apollo Beach, and Sun City Center. The city of Tampa’s drinking water has so far not shown cyanide levels above the EPA limit.

Pinellas County

In Pinellas County, cyanide has been measured above acceptable levels in Tarpon Springs, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, and portions of the city of Clearwater. The cities of St. Petersburg, Largo, Pinellas Park, and Dunedin have not shown dangerous cyanide readings at this time.

Polk County

Well water in the Polk County towns of Lakeland, Auburndale, and Lake Alfred has tested positive for elevated cyanide content requiring treatment. The contaminant has also been detected in Green Swamp wells that feed into the county’s water system.

Pasco County

Several Pasco County areas are impacted by cyanide-contaminated groundwater, including Holiday, Elfers, Port Richey, and Dade City. Testing of municipal water systems serving New Port Richey, Zephyrhills, and Land O’ Lakes have not indicated cyanide levels over the regulated amount.

Other Counties

Other counties in the greater Tampa region have been largely unaffected, though isolated wells may contain cyanide. No dangerous levels have been found in municipal water for Manatee County cities like Bradenton or Sarasota County cities like Venice.

Water Treatment Solutions for Cyanide

Since cyanide persists in water and is highly toxic, specialized treatment is required to remove it from drinking water systems. The most effective process is oxidation, which breaks the cyanide compound apart into less harmful byproducts.

Some effective treatment solutions include:

  • Ozone injection - Ozone destroys cyanide via oxidation. The HydroClear Ozone Generator from Aqua-Wise is an ideal system.

  • Chlorine injection – Chlorine is a strong oxidizer that can render cyanide harmless through a retention tank. Aqua-Wise offers complete chlorine injection systems.

  • Hydrogen peroxide – This chemical oxidant can be added to water supplies to break down cyanide.

  • Activated carbon filtration – Specialty carbon filters help remove cyanide through adsorption. The AquaCarbonGuard system from Aqua-Wise combines filtration and oxidation.

  • Reverse osmosis – RO filtration using membranes is effective at removing cyanide from drinking water. Aqua-Wise provides custom reverse osmosis systems.

Proper ongoing testing and monitoring are also crucial to ensure cyanide levels remain within acceptable limits. Aqua-Wise offers comprehensive water testing services to Tampa Bay area residents concerned about their water quality.

Protect Your Home and Health

Cyanide contamination threatens Tampa Bay communities that rely on at-risk groundwater sources. To protect your home, Aqua-Wise offers whole house water filtration systems designed to remove cyanide and other harmful contaminants. For improved health, Aqua-Wise provides under-sink and countertop reverse osmosis drinking water systems that filter out cyanide.

Financing Options Available

Aqua-Wise offers flexible financing plans to help residents afford crucial water purification systems. Payment plans, low monthly payments, and options like rent-to-own are available. Protect your home now and pay over time. Call (727) 236-7161 to learn more.

Schedule a Free Water Test

Given the prevalence of cyanide contamination in the region, it is recommended all homes receive water testing to identify any risks. Aqua-Wise offers free lab-grade water testing and analysis of cyanide levels. Schedule your free test today by calling (727) 236-7161. Take control of your health and home!

More Resources:

Floridan Aquifer Information

Effects of Contaminants on Health

EPA Cyanide Information

CDC Facts on Cyanide

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