Water Quality Issues and Solutions in Largo, Florida
Largo is a city on the Gulf coast of Florida in Pinellas County, west of Tampa Bay. With a population of over 82,000, Largo is the third largest city in the county. Like many cities in Florida, Largo faces some unique challenges when it comes to water quality and treatment. In this article, we'll explore the common water contaminants found in Largo, their potential health effects, and effective water treatment solutions for both municipal and well water sources.
Overview of Largo, Florida
Largo was first settled in the 1800s and officially incorporated as a city in 1905. It features a vibrant downtown district with shopping, dining, and entertainment. The popular Largo Central Park Nature Preserve provides hiking trails through 175 acres of natural Florida habitats. Largo is also home to the Pinellas Trail, a 47-mile biking and walking path built on an abandoned railroad corridor.
Largo has a subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and short, mild winters. The city gets an average of 50 inches of rain per year. It sits on the Floridan aquifer system, with most municipal water drawn from the surficial and Upper Floridan aquifers through deep well injection. Many homes, businesses, and facilities also use private wells tapping into the same aquifer system.
Potential Contaminants in Largo's Municipal Water Supply
The Largo municipal water system provides drinking water for most of the city's residents and businesses. This water supply faces contamination threats common across Florida.
Naturally Occurring Contaminants
Radium: Radioactive particles can dissolve from natural rock formations into groundwater. Radium levels above the EPA limit of 5 pCi/L can increase cancer risk with long-term exposure.
Arsenic: Arsenic occurs naturally in Florida's aquifer rock. High exposure is linked to skin damage, circulatory issues, and cancer. The EPA limit is 10 ppb.
Nitrates: Runoff from fertilizers and erosion leach nitrates into groundwater. Levels above 10 ppm can cause methemoglobinemia ("blue baby syndrome") in infants.
Sodium: Natural sodium dissolved from salt deposits can give water a salty taste. It may increase risk for those with high blood pressure.
Hardness minerals: Abundant calcium and magnesium make Florida groundwater very "hard." This can create scale buildup on plumbing and appliances.
Iron: Soluble iron creates yellow, brown, or reddish stains. Higher levels cause metallic tastes and sediment that clogs pipes and fixtures.
Manganese: Manganese is a nuisance contaminant that stains plumbing and laundry. At the EPA advisory level of 50 ppb, it impacts taste and color.
Hydrogen sulfide: Sulfur compounds produce "rotten egg" odors, discoloration, and a bad taste in water. Prolonged exposure may cause health issues.
Trihalomethanes (THMs): Chlorine used in public water treatment can react with organic matter to form these carcinogenic compounds. The EPA limit is 80 ppb.
Perfluorinated chemicals (PFOA/PFOS): These emerging contaminants from industrial processes accumulate in groundwater. High exposure may affect growth, fertility, immunity, and development.
Lead: Corrosive water can leach lead from pipes, solder, or fixtures in older infrastructure, homes, and buildings. No level is considered safe, but the action level is 15 ppb.
Antibiotics and hormones: Runoff and septic systems create trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in water. Effects of chronic low-level exposure are still being studied.
Nitrosamines: These compounds form when chloramine disinfectant reacts with pollution from fertilizers and wastewater. They are considered potentially cancer-causing.
Chloroform: This likely carcinogen can form when chlorine reacts with organic matter. The EPA limit is 70 ppb to limit risk.
Potential Well Water Contaminants in Largo
In addition to the municipal water concerns above, private well owners in Largo face further groundwater risks from the Floridan aquifer system.
Bacteria: Fecal waste from humans or animals can infiltrate well water, introducing gastrointestinal illnesses. Common examples are E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter.
Viruses: Wells drawing from contaminated groundwater may spread illnesses like hepatitis A, rotavirus, and norovirus infecting the GI tract and liver.
Parasites: Microscopic Giardia lamblia parasites cause symptoms like diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and fatigue when ingested in contaminated water.
Arsenic: Arsenic dissolved from limestone and phosphate deposits can reach hazardous levels in Florida well water.
Nitrates: Runoff carrying nitrogen-rich fertilizers and animal/human waste infiltrates aquifers. High exposure from wells can cause "blue baby syndrome.
Lead: Old or corroded well components and plumbing fixtures may leach unsafe lead levels into water, especially if water is acidic.
Radon: Being radioactive and gaseous, this substance can dissolve directly from rocks into well water drawn from deep aquifers. Long-term exposure via ingestion or inhalation may increase cancer risk.
Fluoride: At low levels, naturally occurring fluoride provides dental health benefits. But excessive concentrations from well water can cause tooth and bone issues.
Sodium: Saltwater intrusion into aquifers creates sodium levels exceeding EPA guidelines for safe drinking water. This threatens wells along Florida's coasts.
Hardness minerals: Calcium and magnesium make well water very "hard." This causes scale buildup, mineral staining, and reduction in soap/detergent effectiveness.
Methane: Decaying organic matter in aquifers produces methane gas which makes water flammable in extreme cases. It poses an explosion risk and impacts odor and taste.
Pesticides: Runoff carries herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides from agricultural and residential use. These may have toxic effects at high exposures.
Petroleum products: Leaking fuel tanks, spills, or improper disposal can lead to gasoline, oils, solvents, and other organics infiltrating well water. Many are toxic even at low levels with long-term exposure.
Chlorinated solvents: Degreasing agents and other chemicals containing VOCs like TCE are common well water contaminants from industrial processes and waste.
Rocket fuel: Security concerns exist around contaminated well water near Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station from the chemical perchlorate used in rocket fuel.
Water Treatment Solutions for Largo Residents
The good news is there are effective water treatment technologies capable of removing the vast majority of concerning contaminants found in both municipal and well water sources in the Largo area.
Whole House Systems
Whole house systems treat all water entering the home. This provides protection at all taps as well as appliances like dish washers, washing machines, ice makers, and more.
AquaBlue Whole House Filter System - Multi-stage filtration combines sediment pre-filters, activated carbon, and specialty media like KDF-55 to reduce chlorine, metals, THMs, hydrogen sulfide, and other chemicals.
AquaLux Water Softener - Ion exchange softening treats hard water by removing minerals like calcium and magnesium. This protects plumbing and appliances while eliminating scale and improving soap performance.
AquaGuard UV SYSTEM for Bacteria Removal - Ultraviolet light safely disinfects pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and parasites without chemicals. Ideal for private well owners concerned about groundwater contamination.
Retention Tank + Chlorine Injection System - Automated chlorine injection with contact tank provides consistent, reliable disinfection for private wells. Helps protect against contamination from septic systems or runoff events.
HydroClear Ozone Generator for Heavy Metals and Bacteria - Advanced oxidation of ozone destroys chemicals and microorganisms while controlling iron, sulfur odor, color, and turbidity issues. Provides a chemical-free alternative to harsh chlorine or peroxide.
Point-of-use systems treat water where it's used, such as sinks or refrigerators. They target specific concerns like lead, cysts, and scale buildup in appliances.
AquaCarbonGuard Catalytic Carbon Filter - Under sink filtration with high-grade catalytic carbon media blocks lead, cysts, pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, THMs, and many other contaminants at the tap.
AquaRevive Reverse Osmosis System - Multi-stage reverse osmosis under the sink provides ultra pure water for cooking and drinking by rejecting metals, chemicals, microorganisms, salinity, nitrates, and other dissolved contaminants.
Commercial and Industrial Solutions
Larger facilities like restaurants, hotels, schools, offices, and apartment buildings often need advanced commercial-grade systems.
HydroTech Pro Commercial Water Treatment Systems - Commercial packages with sediment filters, softening system, carbon filtration, UV disinfection, and ozone provide comprehensive water quality solutions for facilities and businesses.
WellFusion Well Water Treatment Systems - Combination systems integrate UV, filters, ozone, and peroxide injection specifically designed for disinfecting and removing contaminants from private well water sources.
Commercial Systems - For large scale commercial and industrial applications, Aqua-Wise engineers fully customized treatment solutions incorporating filtration, softening, chemical injection, and other steps to tackle issues like hardness, iron, odor, scale, and poor water quality that impact operations and products.
In many cases, a combination of treatment solutions can provide optimal water quality results. After a thorough water test, the water professionals at Aqua-Wise analyze your specific contaminants and needs to recommend the right solutions for your home, family, or business.
Like all cities tapping the Florida aquifers, Largo faces water quality challenges from naturally occurring substances as well as man-made pollution. This can introduce potentially concerning contaminants into municipal and well water sources. However, today's advanced water treatment technologies like high-performance filters, UV systems, and ozone injection can effectively deal with these risks. Whole house systems provide optimal protection while point-of-use options let you tailor treatment to your needs. To learn more and get a water test for your Largo area home or business, contact the experts at Aqua-Wise today and start on the path to cleaner, pure water.
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