Miami tap water is safe to drink according to EPA and international standards. Known risks include microplastics and leaching from pipes.
The local tap water comes from the Biscayne Aquifer – a shallow layer of highly permeable limestone stretching about 4,000 square miles under Miami-Dade County and other portions of South Florida. Water from the Aquifer is rich in natural organic material including tannins, resulting in a somewhat bitter brackish water. Water is treated with chlorine, which adds an extra kick of flavor to the mix, as well as a yellowish tint when tannins get mixed with chlorine.
Thankfully this is easy to solve. An affordable water filter in Miami like TAPP 2 will make the water taste great, remove any tea-like color and microplastics, and vastly reduce the risk of other contaminants.
Where does Miami tap water come from?
90% of tap water in Miami and Florida comes from groundwater sources, and this is no exception to Miami. Miami-Dade County gets its drinking water from the local Biscayne Aquifer. It is located right below the land surface in South Florida and is made of porous rock with tiny cracks and holes, through which rainwater seeps and fills. As water travels within the Aquifer, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and has the potential of picking up substances resulting from animal or human activity.
Groundwater has the potential risk of being contaminated by numerous sources. Power plants, landfills, hazardous waste locations and agricultural farms all have the potential of emitting impurities into the ground, which can eventually end up in the water supply.
Water is pumped into one of three regional water treatment plants operated by the Miami Dade Water and Sewer Authority. It is softened; disinfected with chlorine and ammonia to form chloramine; fluoridated; filtered; before being stored in underground reservoirs and tanks.
Florida is a hurricane-prone region, and you should always check boil-water notices before using a carbon filter to make sure your water is microbiologically safe.
What is in Miami tap water and who regulates it?
In order to ensure that Miami tap water is safe to drink, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the contaminants in public water systems, unlike bottled water which is a packaged good and is regulated by the FDA. Although both the EPA and FDA have similar quality standards, FDA standards are looser in terms of how often bottled water needs to be tested and they do not require companies to share their test results with consumers. In Miami, Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD) conduct more than 100,000 analyses of water samples each year.
Conclusion: If you want to know the exact composition of your water – it’s a no-brainer – you should switch to tap water right away.
The EPA guidelines are strict but EWG (Environmental Working Group) – a nonprofit organization, have set their own tougher guidelines, referred to as health guidelines. Visit the EWG website for the detailed list of contaminants in your zip code.
According to the EWG report, 4 contaminants above health guidelines were found in WASD water, all of which are below the legal limit set by the EPA. They are Chromium 6, Perfluorinated chemicals (PFC), Radiological contaminants and Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs). Reducing these will reduce possible long-term health risks. Moreover, according to water research by OrbMedia microplastics were found in 94% of all tap water in the United States.
Here’s the latest tap water quality report for Miami.
In summary, tap water in Miami is legally safe to drink but to be on the safe side, use an affordable active carbon filter such as TAPP 2. Active carbon removes PFCs and TTHMs and vastly reduces Chromium 6 highlighted as a risk by EWG.
TAPP 2 also removes chloramine and other agents associated with foul taste and odor, microplastics, as well as tannins which give South Florida water its yellow color. It also removes lead and heavy metals which can deposit via poorly maintained pipes in your building
Drinking water in public places and restaurants
Almost any restaurant you go to will ask as a default if you want sparkling water, bottled water or tap. Unfortunately, there is no law requiring restaurants to serve their customers tap water for free. In some very rare cases, servers have been reported to refuse serving tap water or to force patrons to purchase filtered tap water. Note that in the Miami area, restaurant prices for a one-liter bottle of water can vary from $5 to upward of $10. As for bars, you can also get free water, but you’ll probably need to make a purchase or give a tip even if you don’t order any other food/drinks.
On the other hand, drinking fountains are pretty rare in Miami, many have become obsolete throughout the years. It is highly recommended to take a reusable water bottle along with you. Use the MyTAPP app (iOS and Android) to find refill stations around you.
Aqua Panna, Dasani, Evian, Fiji, Mountain Valley, Pure Life, Saratoga, Smartwater, and Voss are some of the most popular bottled waters. But don’t be fooled, the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) concluded that an estimated 25 percent or more of bottled water is just filtered water from public supplies, at a premium price.
Not only is bottled water a waste of money, it also contributes to the general pollution of our planet. Despite Florida not having a deposit on bottles & cans, the state can be proud to have recycled 54% of its waste in 2015, on its way to a 75 percent recycling rate by 2020
If you don’t want to risk your plastic bottle ending up in a landfill or in the ocean, carry a reusable water bottle with you. If you must buy a water bottle, make sure that you place the cap back on, and that you dispose of it in a “Recycle” can.
Using a filter like TAPP 2, you will never need to use any plastic linked with your water consumption. When it’s time to change the filter, dispose of its biodegradable refill cartridge with organic waste.
- Water in Miami comes from the Biscayne Aquifer and is naturally rich in minerals but may be brackish with a yellowish tint
- Bottled water is one of the biggest food and health scams in recent history. It’s a waste of money and our nature.
- If you want to know exactly what minerals and contaminants are in your water, drink from the tap at home.
- If you don’t like the taste of tap water or are worried about reducing PFCs, TTHMs, Chromium, or lead, get a high-quality water filter in Miami such as TAPP 2.
- Ask for tap water in restaurants and never feel ashamed about it.
- Get a refillable bottle and keep it filled up with fresh tap water.
- Refuse bottled water whenever possible, or make sure to dispose of it in a recycle garbage bin
Do you drink tap water in Miami? We want your feedback and opinion. Agree or disagree? Tell us!