The source of the drinking water supplied by Miami-Dade County is groundwater from wells. The wells withdraw solely from Biscayne Aquifer which is supplemented by a smaller amount from the deeper Floridan Aquifer. These wells are located in well fields which are protected by the County’s Well field Protection Ordinance. Typical production wells are cased and sanitary sealed to protect them from potential surface water contamination, are usually 60 to 80 feet deep unlike shallow home wells, and are routinely tested and inspected to verify protection from any possible source(s) of contamination. Water from the two aquifers is blended at the County’s water plant prior to treatment and before pumping it to customers. Miami-Dade County drinking water system delivers drinking water to more than 2.2 million people in the county each day. To ensure the safety of the water, the county water system is regulated and tested on an ongoing basis for over 100 contaminants including physical, microbial, chemicals, and radiological. Presently County water meets and exceeds all federal, state, and local, drinking water standards.
There are about thirteen thousand homes in Miami-Dade County that get drinking water from private wells and not from the county water system. It is important to note that in Florida such wells are not regulated by any federal, state or local agency. Nor does any agency require regular testing of these wells. This article is to raise awareness about why proper steps to protect, maintain, and test private drinking water wells is important for those who obtain drinking water from private wells.
The measures you can take to keep your drinking water safe are provided in the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) water brochure posted on the following website: http://www.myfloridaeh.com/water/privatewells.html. Please note this brochure gives you a broad overview on the safety of Florida’s private drinking water wells. Two pollutants for which you should conduct an annual test are nitrates and (coliform) bacteria.
In addition, recent studies in several Miami-Dade County subdivisions that were previously farmed have found arsenic and pesticides in some private drinking water wells. Therefore, we recommend regular testing of your well for these two chemicals (every 5 years). Use the following Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) web address for a list of certified laboratories that provide these tests: http://appprod.dep.state.fl.us/labs/cgi-bin/aams/index.asp