Water Quality Issues and Treatment Solutions in Dunedin, Florida
Dunedin is a charming small city located on the west coast of Florida, known for its beaches, parks, and Scottish heritage. With a population of around 36,000, Dunedin provides a quieter alternative to the busier towns of Clearwater and Tampa. However, even this idyllic community faces challenges with its water quality. In this article, we’ll explore the potential contaminants found in Dunedin's municipal and well water, and the top water treatment systems that can effectively address these issues.
Overview of Dunedin, Florida
Founded in the 1850s, Dunedin was one of the earliest settlements on the Pinellas peninsula. The name Dunedin comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh. Many of the city's first residents were Scottish immigrants, which leads to the community celebrating its Scottish roots to this day with events like the annual Highland Games.
Beyond its heritage, Dunedin is known for picturesque beaches like Caladesi Island State Park and Honeymoon Island State Park. It also has a charming downtown district with independent shops, restaurants, and craft breweries. The Toronto Blue Jays MLB team has its spring training facility located in Dunedin as well.
While Dunedin maintains the ambiance of a classic small beach town, it isn't without modern conveniences and amenities. The city has a well-ranked public school system, a new public library, and a close proximity to employers in Clearwater and Tampa. For outdoor enthusiasts, Dunedin has an extensive parks system with bike trails, kayak launches, and recreational programs.
As an established city with aging infrastructure, Dunedin struggles with water quality issues including contamination from lead pipes, potential seepage from septic systems, elevated sodium levels, and more. In this article, we’ll break down the common water contaminants found in both municipal and well water sources in the Dunedin area.
Potential Contaminants in Dunedin's Municipal Water Supply
The municipal water supply for Dunedin residents comes from wellfields that tap into the Floridan Aquifer. This expansive aquifer underlies Florida and portions of several other Southern states, providing high-quality drinking water. However, as with many public water systems, Dunedin's municipal supply is vulnerable to some potentially harmful contaminants.
The hardness and sodium content is quite high in Dunedin's water supply. The city's latest annual water quality report showed sodium levels averaging around 100 mg/L, exceeding the EPA’s recommended level of 60 mg/L.
High sodium consumption can present increased health risks for those with high blood pressure, kidney disease or congestive heart failure. The salty taste of the water may also be unpleasant for many residents. Installing a water softener system can effectively reduce the sodium content by exchanging sodium ions for potassium or other alternatives.
Many older homes in Dunedin still have lead pipes, lead solder, or brass fixtures that can leach lead into the water. Infants, children, and pregnant women are most vulnerable to the neurological effects of lead exposure.
Replacing lead plumbing is the best solution, but is costly. A whole house water filter with lead-removal media can provide an affordable option for lead treatment in Dunedin homes. Reverse osmosis systems are also effective at removing lead.
The city of Dunedin uses chlorine for disinfection, which can react with organic matter in the water to form potentially carcinogenic byproducts like trihalomethanes (THMs). The latest annual report showed THM levels near regulatory limits.
Activated carbon filtration is the preferred method for reducing disinfection byproduct precursors and absorbing THM compounds in the water supply.
Bacteria and Pathogens
Coliform bacteria are commonly detected through required monthly testing in Dunedin's water system. Fecal coliform bacteria such as E. Coli may occasionally be found as well, indicating potential seepage of waste into groundwater sources.
Using a UV water purifier provides a chemical-free option for destroying any bacteria, viruses, or protozoan parasites that could enter the water system. Chlorination is also effective against pathogens.
While not a harmful contaminant, Dunedin adds fluoride to its municipal water to help prevent tooth decay. However, fluoride levels are not adjusted based on ambient fluoride that may already be present in the source water.
Some residents may prefer to filter excess fluoride, as ingesting too much can cause dental fluorosis. Reverse osmosis and activated alumina filtration can remove fluoride.
Iron and Manganese
Elevated levels of iron and manganese are common in Florida's groundwater. These metals can stain plumbing fixtures and laundry, and cause unpleasant metallic tastes and odors in the water.
Oxidizing filters, such as manganese greensand, use a process called contact oxidation to transform dissolved iron and manganese into filterable particles. An alternative is the HydroClear ozone generator system which oxidizes and precipitates out metals.
Potential Well Water Contaminants in Dunedin
Residents relying on private wells for their water supply face additional risks of contamination. Common well water contaminants in the Dunedin area include:
Coliform bacteria from surface water infiltration is frequently detected in area wells. Pathogens can enter groundwater supplies after rainfall or flooding events. Routine disinfection of well water is recommended.
Shock chlorination or installing a UV purification system provides protection against bacteria. Annual testing helps monitor well water quality.
Agricultural fertilizers and wastewater contain high levels of nitrate that can seep into the groundwater. Excess nitrate poses health risks for infants and pregnant women. A reverse osmosis system is the most effective method for removing nitrate from well water.
Lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and other toxic metals can leach into groundwater from natural deposits, landfills, or industrial waste. These contaminants are odorless and tasteless, requiring testing to detect. Reverse osmosis or ion exchange systems are needed for heavy metal removal.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs including solvents, degreasers, and fuel hydrocarbons are common groundwater contaminants. Sources include chemical spills, leaking underground tanks, and industrial effluent. VOCs are carcinogenic and neurotoxic. Activated carbon filters excel at removing VOC contamination.
Pesticides and Herbicides
Agricultural chemicals, weed killers, and insecticides containing compounds like glyphosate and DDT linger in the environment and get drawn into well water supplies over time. Granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration is the most reliable method for pesticide removal from well water.
Sulfur and Hydrogen Sulfide
Sulfate-reducing microbes can produce foul rotten egg odors in well water and corrode plumbing. Sulfur bacteria thrive in the warm, anaerobic conditions of a well. Shock chlorination can help eliminate bacteria and odors in wells. An iron removal system also binds and filters sulfur.
Hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium that can scale pipes and appliances. Water softening using ion exchange is the optimal solution for removing hardness minerals and preventing scale buildup.
Recommended Water Treatment Solutions for Dunedin
To address the myriad of potential water quality issues in both municipal and well water sources, Dunedin homeowners have several excellent treatment solutions available. Here are some of the most effective systems for improving water quality and safety:
Whole House Water Filtration
For treating the entire water supply entering a home, a whole house water filtration system is the most comprehensive solution. These systems connect at the main water line to filter water for all fixtures and taps in the building.
Whole house systems commonly combine multiple types of filtration media in one tank. For example, the AquaBlue combines sediment filtration, activated carbon for chemicals, and KDF media for lead and mercury removal. This provides broad purification of common municipal and well water contaminants.
Reverse osmosis (RO) uses a semi-permeable membrane to filter out dissolved salts, metals, nitrate and many chemicals. RO removes up to 99% of contaminants for the purest drinking water. It excels at treatment of well water.
The AquaRevive under-sink and whole house RO systems provide high-quality filtration and reliable contaminant removal for Dunedin homes.
UV systems use ultraviolet light to inactivate and destroy illness-causing pathogens like bacteria, viruses, mold and protozoa. For homes on private wells, UV treatment provides an effective chemical-free option for microbiological disinfection.
The AquaGuard UV systems safeguard well water against bacterial contamination and protect immune-compromised residents.
As demonstrated by the local water quality report, reducing the hardness and sodium content in Dunedin's water is a priority for many homeowners. Water softeners exchange hardness minerals for sodium or potassium to prevent scale buildup and remove that unpleasant salty taste and slimy feel.
The Aqualux water softener line offers versatile options for whole house or point-of-use softening in Dunedin. These systems will help protect plumbing and appliances while improving the feel of water for bathing and cleaning.
Iron Removal Systems
For well water with elevated iron and manganese, oxidation filters are the solution. Systems like the HydroClear use ozone injection to oxidize dissolved iron into filterable particles that are trapped as the water passes through the media tank. This process effectively removes metals and sulfur smells.
Activated Carbon Filtration
Activated carbon is one of the pillars of whole house water treatment due to its strong adsorptive qualities. It removes organic compounds like VOCs, pesticides, radon, and chlorine byproducts.
The AquaCarbonGuard system combines catalytic carbon media with ozone injection for optimal contaminant removal. For well water treatment, combining an acid-washed carbon filter with RO provides superior filtration of chemicals.
Reliable Water Treatment in Dunedin, FL
In a city blessed with beautiful beaches and parks like Dunedin, having clean, safe water to enjoy those amenities is a must. But contamination can threaten the quality of local municipal and well water. With the right water treatment system in place, Dunedin homeowners can enjoy better tasting water free of concerning levels of sodium, lead, bacteria, fertilizer compounds, and other contaminants.
For a personalized consultation on your water treatment needs, contact the experts at Aqua-Wise today and Schedule Your FREE Water Test at 727-236-7161. Our water testing and analysis will detect specific contaminants in your water. Then our water treatment specialists can advise the optimal solutions to improve your water quality and protect your family's health.
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: