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How Florida's Drinking Water is Easily Contaminated

Melbourne, Florida water tower in Satellite Beach, FL
Melbourne water working on a water issue

Published in The Beachside Resident on May 1, 2020
By Stel Bailey of Fight For Zero


Is the nation’s third most populous state making water issues increase in complexity? 90% of Florida’s drinking water is provided by aquifers which are huge underground rocks made of porous limestone that contain a large amount of freshwater. Unfortunately, aquifer water is easily contaminated because of Florida’s unique soil layer, high water table, porous limestone, and large quantities of rainfall.

Under normal circumstances, Florida’s drinking water is safe unless the water becomes contaminated. According to the EPA, polluted groundwater can reach drinking water systems and pose serious public health threats, particularly to children and young adults. Chemicals from various manufactures and microbial contaminants can quickly enter the state’s aquifer water.

When drinking water in a specific area becomes contaminated, the local government sends out “boil water notices,” where they instruct you to boil your drinking water for at least one minute before using. Boiling kills most types of parasites, bacteria, and viruses but increases concentrations of other contaminates due to the evaporation of water. Providing clean water requires extensive infrastructure and government regulations.

Contaminated water can enter through pipe bursts when existing mains are repaired or replaced, potentially leading to the introduction of contaminated soil or debris into the system. The possibility of contaminants entering the drinking water system should concern Brevard County residents. Scientists found chemical waste from the space industry and military bases in lagoon wildlife. Chemicals such as TCE, PCBs, DDT, and most recently emerging contaminate known as per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Once released into the environment, PFAS doesn’t break down, which is why they are called “forever chemicals.” They build up in the blood and organs, which may cause potential long-term risk to human health and the environment. These fluorinated chemicals were found in the blood and tissues of wildlife near the Kennedy Space Center by Biologists in 2018. Many of the highest detections of PFAS in water were found at military bases, and in 2018 a Department of Defense report showed that Patrick Air Force Base is the third most PFAS-contaminated base in the United States. They found levels 57,000 times greater than the health advisory limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency. These forever chemicals are in groundwater throughout Brevard County.

Our local organization, Fight For Zero, has been advocating for comprehensive testing, increase cleanup efforts, medical examination, wildlife studies, and filtration since the beginning of 2018. To ensure safe drinking water for those living on and around these military bases, a government-funded program is being proposed where they would provide a point of entry filtration system to every home in Satellite Beach, Patrick Air Force Base, and Cocoa Beach.


When people turn on their faucets to pour a glass of water, they expect that their water is safe to drink. Aging, stressed, or poorly maintained water infrastructure can cause the quality of piped drinking water to deteriorate below standard levels and pose serious health risks. Rapid population growth and inadequate pollution regulations are complicating our water quality issues. The more we recognize and invest in these issues, the more we can protect public health.



EPA Ground water and drinking water : https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water

Perfluoroalkyl acids in the American alligator at  Merritt Island National wildlife Refuge: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5548459/

Fight For Zero | www.fight4zero.org | Facebook.com/f4zero | Instagram: FightForZero

To contact the Fight For Zero blog team please email: team@fight4zero.org 

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