If you rely on a private well for drinking water in the Tampa Bay area, regular testing is crucial to ensure the water is safe for your family's health. While Florida does not mandate statewide water testing for private wells, Tampa Bay area counties and cities may require specific tests to meet local standards. Understanding what contaminants to test for and when to test can give you peace of mind that your well water meets safety guidelines.
Overview of Common Well Water Contaminants in Florida
Common groundwater contaminants in Florida wells include:
Bacteria like E. coli from septic tanks or animal waste can cause gastrointestinal illness.
Nitrates from fertilizers, septic tanks, and erosion can cause blue baby syndrome in infants.
Heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and mercury from natural deposits or pollution.
Radon gas from natural rock deposits can increase cancer risk through inhalation.
Pesticides and herbicides from agricultural and lawn runoff.
Salinity from seawater intrusion into aquifers.
Radium and uranium from natural deposits.
Disinfection byproducts from water treatment such as chlorine and chloramine.
Iron and manganese affect taste/odor and can stain plumbing.
Hardness minerals like calcium and magnesium affect taste and plumbing.
Testing well water routinely for these contaminants is important to reduce health risks. Treatment systems like the AquaLux Water Softener and HydroClear Ozone Generator can remove many impurities once identified through testing.
Required Well Water Tests in Tampa Bay Counties
Local counties and municipalities may require specific water tests when constructing a new well and at regular intervals after. Common required tests include:
Hillsborough County requires new private well construction permits and water quality tests for:
Total dissolved solids
Well owners must test annually for bacteria and nitrates. Hillsborough County provides low-cost or free testing kits to well owners through the Florida Health Department.
Pinellas County currently has no well construction permitting or mandatory testing requirements. However, voluntary water testing is recommended, especially for bacteria, nitrates, and lead.
The Pinellas County Health Department offers subsidized testing for bacteria and nitrates.
New well construction in Pasco County requires water tests for:
Total coliform and E. coli bacteria
Total dissolved solids
Routine water testing is recommended every 1-3 years for bacteria and nitrates, and every 3-5 years for lead, arsenic, uranium, and other inorganic chemicals.
New private wells in Manatee County must test for coliform bacteria and nitrates. Routine water testing every 1-2 years is advised for bacteria, nitrates, lead, and arsenic.
The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County provides free annual well water test kits.
Sarasota County requires a new well water analysis report for:
Total dissolved solids
Annual tests for bacteria and nitrates are recommended, along with periodic testing for lead, pesticides, sodium, and hardness minerals.
City of Tampa
The City of Tampa Water Department offers subsidized well water testing for city residents, covering basic tests for:
Total coliform and E. coli
Annual tests for bacteria and nitrates are recommended. Tampa provides free test kits and discounted lab analysis for city well owners.
Recommended Well Water Testing Schedule
The EPA and Florida Department of Health recommend the following testing schedule for private well owners:
Annually - Test for total coliform bacteria and nitrates. These can vary seasonally.
Every 3 years - Test for inorganic contaminants like heavy metals lead, arsenic, uranium and fluoride. Test for radiological contaminants like radon and radium if previous tests found high levels.
Every 5 years - Test for organic contaminants like pesticides, herbicides, and industrial chemicals. Check for sodium, hardness and conductivity. Retest for heavy metals and radiologicals if previous results were high.
Every 10 years - Test for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and synthetic organic compounds (SOCs) which are rare but serious health risks if present.
At any sign of change - Retest if you notice changes in taste, color or odor. Test after flooding, nearby construction or chemical spills. Test when installing treatment systems like AquaRevive Reverse Osmosis to establish a baseline.
At point of use - For chemicals like lead that enter through plumbing, test at the tap after water sits overnight. Flushing pipes can mask lead results.
Following this testing schedule helps ensure your well water stays safe for your family's health. Advanced treatment systems from Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions can remediate most well water contaminants if found through testing.
Overview of Common Well Water Tests
Well water is tested for a range of potential contaminants based on the geology and environment of the region. Here are some key tests well owners in Tampa Bay should consider:
Total coliform - Indicates possible sewage contamination. Presence triggers more testing.
Fecal coliform - Confirms sewage or animal waste pollution.
E. coli - Specific strain indicating sewage and health risk.
Heterotrophic plate count (HPC) - Measures non-pathogenic bacteria populations affecting taste/odor.
Bacteria issues can be treated with chlorine injection and AquaGuard UV Disinfection Systems.
Nitrate and Nitrite Tests
Nitrate (NO3) - Levels above 10 ppm indicate health risks for infants.
Nitrite (NO2) - More immediate health threat than nitrate. Levels above 1 ppm are unsafe.
Reverse osmosis systems like AquaRevive can remove nitrates.
Inorganic Chemical Tests
Lead - Health risk for children and pregnant women. Corrodes from plumbing.
Arsenic - Natural deposits in Florida bedrock. Linked to cancer risks.
Fluoride - Occurs naturally from geology. High levels cause dental issues.
Chloride - High levels indicate saltwater intrusion. Affects taste and plumbing.
An AquaCarbonGuard Filter combined with reverse osmosis can remove heavy metals like arsenic and lead.
Organic Chemical Tests
Pesticides - Runoff from agriculture and lawns. Linked to health issues.
VOCs - Fuel components and industrial chemicals. Cancer risks.
SOCs - Include plasticizers, fire retardants, and detergent metabolites.
Granular activated carbon filtration like AquaBlue Whole House Filters removes many organic contaminants.
Radon - Cancer-causing gas from natural deposits. Aeration removes it.
Radium - Natural radioisotope. Increased cancer risk through ingestion.
Uranium - Radioactive and toxic. Occurs naturally in Florida.
Reverse osmosis filtration can remove radium and uranium.
General Water Quality Tests
pH - Indicates corrosivity and water balance.
Hardness - Calcium and magnesium levels. Affects taste and plumbing.
TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) - High TDS indicates poor quality and mineral content.
Conductivity - Related to TDS and mineralization.
Turbidity - Clarity and particulates affecting taste/odor.
Water softeners like AquaLux reduce hardness while sediment filters clear turbidity issues.
This covers the main types of potability tests well owners around Tampa Bay should consider for healthy drinking water. Regular testing and treatment ensures your private well water is safe for household use and consumption.
Health Effects of Well Water Contaminants
Many contaminants found in Florida groundwater can pose acute and chronic health risks if consumed over time. This underscores the importance of testing and treatment.
Bacteria - Gastrointestinal illnesses like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
Nitrates - Blue baby syndrome reduces infant blood oxygen.
Heavy metals - Lead causes developmental problems in children. Arsenic increases cancer risk.
Radon - Leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers through gas inhalation.
Pesticides - Headaches, skin irritation, nervous system damage, increased cancer risks.
Disinfection by-products - Increased cancer and reproductive risks.
Salinity - High sodium adversely affects heart health and blood pressure.
Treating water with systems like HydroTech Pro Commercial Solutions can remove these health hazards and risks.
Point-of-Use Water Testing in Your Home
In addition to testing your well, it is important to check water quality at the tap before use and consumption. Many contaminants like lead enter through old plumbing and corrosion, rather than the source water itself.
Run the faucet for a minute to flush pipes before collecting water samples for testing. Filters like reverse osmosis and AquaBlue Whole House Systems can remove lead leached from indoor plumbing fittings and solder.
Consider point-of-use testing if:
Your home has older galvanized or lead service lines.
Plumbing contains lead solder joints or brass/bronze components.
You want to establish a baseline before installing treatment systems.
Children or pregnant women live in the home, who are most vulnerable to lead.
Testing at the tap provides more accurate results for lead and copper than well testing alone. This ensures your drinking water is safe.
Partnering with a Water Treatment Company
To help interpret your well water test results and determine appropriate treatment solutions, partner with a water quality expert like Aqua-Wise Water Treatment. Our CWS-certified technicians can:
Explain what your test results mean and which pose health risks.
Recommend the right treatment equipment based on your particular water chemistry.
Install effective filtration and purification systems to resolve any issues.
Help meet any local testing and reporting requirements.
With 25+ years of experience, we can analyze your test data, identify appropriate treatment, obtain any needed permits, and downgrade any system to provide clean, potable water from your Florida well or surface water source. Call today for your free consultation.
Schedule Your Complimentary Well Water Test
Unsure about what to test for or how to interpret results? Aqua-Wise is here to help. We offer a well water potability test to new clients in the Tampa Bay region.
This includes testing for:
We will assess your water quality and explain the results, providing recommendations for purification solutions to resolve any issues detected. With the highest industry certifications, we can configure the optimal treatment system for your home or business.
Schedule your complimentary well water test today by calling 727-236-7161 or booking online here:
Reliable water testing gives you peace of mind and helps safeguard your family's health, while treatment protects plumbing and fixtures. Aqua-Wise combines the expertise and technology to provide clean, contaminant-free water throughout your home or facility. Contact us to start accessing pure water from your well or surface supply.