In Florida, our drinking water comes from the aquifer which is located underground. We all need clean water to drink, so we all need to do our part to prevent our groundwater from becoming polluted. Pollution from human activities is one of the major contributing factors that are damaging our water supply. The same activities that are damaging our ground water are also affecting our surface waters. These activities include such things as:
- Improper use of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides
- Improperly built or poorly located and/or maintained septic systems
- Leaking or abandoned underground storage tanks and piping
- Stormwater drains
- Improper disposal or storage of wastes/hazardous materials
Well owners especially should be vigilant in protecting their water supplies. Testing of private drinking water wells should also be performed to verify the water quality. Contact the Lake County Water Resource Laboratory for more information on well testing at (352) 253-1686.
Our surface waters are used for many recreational activities such as fishing, boating, waterskiing and swimming. In order to preserve our lakes, we all need to reduce the amount of pollution entering the water.
Improperly functioning septic tanks can increase the bacteria and nitrate levels in both ground water and surface water. Improper use of fertilizers can also cause increased nitrogen and phosphorous levels. Increased bacteria can cause a variety of illness including nausea and diarrhea. Increased nitrates may cause a health threat in infants called “blue baby” syndrome. This condition disrupts oxygen flow in the blood.
Stormwater runoff is a contributing factor to surface water pollution. Grass clippings, fertilizers and metals/oil from vehicles all add to the pollution. Stormwater pipes should not discharge directly into a lake. Heavy metals can cause serious damage to major body organs such as the brain, kidneys, and nervous system.
Improper disposal of many common household products can pollute ground water. These include cleaning solvents, used motor oil, paints and paint thinners. Even soaps and detergents can harm drinking water. These are often a problem from faulty septic systems. (Contact the Household Hazardous Waste Division at 352-343-3776 for more information on where to properly dispose of household chemicals)