Water Quality Issues and Treatment Options in Clearwater Beach, FL
Clearwater Beach is a popular tourist destination located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, known for its beautiful white sand beaches. However, beneath the pristine appearance, the water quality in Clearwater Beach faces some concerning contamination issues. In this article, we'll discuss the potential contaminants found in Clearwater Beach's municipal and well water, the health risks they pose, and effective water treatment solutions for residences and businesses in the area.
Overview of Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is located on a barrier island off the western coast of Florida in Pinellas County. The area has a subtropical climate and attracts over 1 million visitors each year to its stunning beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. Besides tourism, major industries in Clearwater Beach include healthcare, retail, and professional services.
The year-round population is small at around 4,000, although it swells during the peak winter and spring tourism season. Most of the fresh water supply comes from the Floridan aquifer system via municipal water utilities. However, some residences and businesses use private wells tapping into the surficial or intermediate aquifers.
Potential Contaminants in Municipal Water
The municipal water system in Clearwater Beach is supplied by Pinellas County Utilities. The main water treatment plant utilizes conventional filtration and chlorine disinfection. While this removes many contaminants, some concerning substances can still remain at low levels in the treated drinking water. Potential contaminants of concern include:
Trihalomethanes (THMs) - Byproducts of chlorine disinfection that may cause cancer with long-term exposure. Present at an average of 69 ppb, exceeding the EPA limit of 60 ppb.
Radium - Radioactive element that can increase cancer risk. Detected at an average of 0.9 pCi/L, below the EPA limit yet still a health concern.
Nitrate - Agricultural fertilizer runoff that poses a blue baby syndrome risk for infants under 6 months. Average of 1.2 ppm, approaching the EPA limit of 10 ppm.
Sodium - Water softener residue that can aggravate heart disease and hypertension. Levels from 28 - 53 ppm in treated water.
Iron - Metallic taste and staining of plumbing fixtures and clothing. Average of 0.28 ppm, above the EPA secondary limit of 0.3 ppm.
Hardness - Calcium and magnesium minerals that create scale buildup and reduce soap lathering. Levels from 159 - 180 ppm, considered very hard water.
Over time, ingesting these contaminants in drinking and cooking water can potentially lead to adverse health effects. People with weakened immune systems may also be at risk of illness from pathogens like bacteria and viruses that occasionally infiltrate the distribution system.
Potential Well Water Contaminants
Residences and businesses using private well water instead of the municipal supply face an additional set of potential contaminants requiring treatment:
Nitrate - Lawn fertilizers, septic tanks, and agricultural runoff can cause elevated nitrate. Levels above the EPA limit of 10 ppm are unsafe for infants.
Bacteria - Fecal coliform bacteria from septic systems, farms, or wildlife can cause acute illness. Any detection merits disinfection treatment.
Arsenic - Known carcinogen that leaches from natural rock deposits into groundwater. The EPA limit is 10 ppb to reduce cancer risk.
Radon - Radioactive gas that enters wells from surrounding rock and is also a carcinogen. The proposed EPA limit is 4,000 pCi/L, but lower levels are ideal.
Iron & Manganese - Reddish-brown staining of sinks and laundry from these metallic ions. Secondary EPA limits are 0.3 ppm iron and 0.05 ppm manganese.
Hydrogen Sulfide - Sulfurous rotten egg odor, corrosion of pipes, and bacteria growth. Should be removed for palatability.
Hardness - Buildup of limescale on plumbing and appliances reduces efficiency. Levels above 150 ppm are considered very hard.
Tannins - Organic acids from vegetation that impart yellow staining and bitter taste. Should be filtered out to improve aesthetics and taste.
Well water lacks the protection of municipal disinfection and filtration, so regular testing and adequate treatment systems are crucial for protecting health.
Recommended Water Treatment Solutions
To address the array of potential contaminants in Clearwater Beach's municipal and well water, homeowners and businesses have several effective treatment options:
Whole House Water Filtration
A whole house water filter using multi-media and carbon filtration is ideal for reducing levels of contaminants like THMs, radon, arsenic, nitrate, iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide, tannins, and hardness in well water or municipal water. Look for systems with NSF certification for contaminant reduction. An example is the AquaBlue Whole House Filter System which combines sediment filtration, KDF media for metals removal, and activated carbon absorption.
For private well owners, UV light systems like the AquaGuard UV provide extremely effective disinfection against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa without using chemicals. They offer safe, clean water free of disease-causing pathogens. UV light destroys the DNA of microorganisms so they cannot replicate or infect.
To reduce hardness and prevent scale buildup, a water softener like the AQUALUX is recommended. This replaces the calcium and magnesium ions that cause hardness with sodium or potassium ions that won't precipitate. Softened water extends the life of pipes and appliances while giving you better lathering laundry and showers.
Reverse Osmosis Filtration
For contaminants like nitrate, sodium, and radioactive particles that easily pass through standard filters, reverse osmosis (RO) is the most thorough treatment option. RO units like the AquaRevive force water through a semi-permeable membrane that traps and removes dissolved solids. The AquaRevive 4-stage RO system reduces up to 99% of total dissolved solids for the purest drinking water.
An ozone generator like the HydroClear is a chemical-free system that infuses water with ozone to destroy bacteria and oxidize iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide, and other contaminants through a process called ozonation. It offers safe disinfection without chlorine by-products.
For public wells or municipal water requiring supplemental disinfection, a chlorine injection system accurately doses sodium hypochlorite based on flow rate and chlorine demand. This protects against pathogens without the guesswork of periodic shock chlorination.
With the right water treatment for your needs, you can enjoy better tasting, healthier water from either your municipal or well supply in Clearwater Beach. Contact the experts at Aqua-Wise today for a free water test and consultation to learn which solutions are best suited for your home or business. You and your family deserve clean, contaminant-free water.
Filtrated Soft Water Solves Many Problems
Hard water can cause a wide range of problems that affect various aspects of daily life and household functions. Here is a comprehensive list of the issues that hard water can cause: