The Treacherous Trip to the Tap
Water takes a long trip from the natural system into our hands.

Hillsborough County residents enjoy some of the best water and some of the best water treatment facilities in Florida. No matter the source or the stuff in it, we remove what’s harmful leaving the high quality water that’s delivered to your home.

In the past we’ve found small traces of compounds like barium (discharge of metal and drilling refineries), nickel (pollution from metal refineries), nitrates (fertilizer and pesticide runoff), sodium (salt water intrusion) and chlorine (water treatment process). These compounds are very common and can be found in water throughout the nation. Removing compounds is the purpose of water treatment. Very rarely is anything out-of-the-ordinary found in Hillsborough County water, but if we did find it, we’d remove it.

What’s Gotten Into Water?

As science improves, we can detect smaller and smaller quantities of substances in water. In some cases, we can measure elements down to a billionth of a meter––that’s about as small as a single grain of green sand in Raymond James Stadium filled with red sand!

Hillsborough RiverSurface water, like rivers and lakes provide water supplies to thousands of communities. Our surface water bodies can be threatened when materials and substances from our own backyards, businesses and streets catch a ride with rainfall. That’s not all, disease-producing pathogens, fertilizers and pesticides can creep into natural water bodies when we overdo nutrients or improperly dispose of chemicals.

Ground water from aquifers supply drinking water for millions of people in Florida. Groundwater is so vast it’s really hard to contaminate. After all, it’s underground! Still, materials from landfills and septic systems and other sources sometimes find their way into our groundwater when they seep deep into the soil. When we carelessly dispose of our medicines, we can pollute water with pharmaceuticals and hormones.

In our own Homes: If water storage tanks or systems or piping in a home or community are old, heavy metals from rusting pipes and units could contaminate the water they’re carrying. Older homes are more at risk from this than newer homes, where piping is generally heavy PVC and not subject to leaching or rust.

Common Surface Water Contaminants and Treatment
Contaminant Name Effect Treatment
Untreated Sewage Fluctuate oxygen levels, disrupting entire ecosystem. If hormones are present unpredictable adverse impacts could occur Ozone, chlorine, ultra violet light, sodium hypochlorite, membranes
Fertilizer, Oil, Antifreeze liquid, runoff Introduction of nitrates and phosphates, nutrients and toxic compounds to water Numerous treatments like Phytoremediation, the use of plants to remove contaminants or more advanced treatments
Microbial Pathogens Introduce serious bacteria and viruses into water system, which can severely harm humans if not detected. Chemical Coagulation, filtration and disinfection processes


Common Groundwater Contaminants and Treatment
Contaminant Name Effect Treatment
Arsenic, Fluoride, Nitrates Toxic and introduces excess nutrients which disrupt ecosystem Many different treatments possible like coagulation and reverse osmosis.
Solvents, Fuels, Pesticides Toxic to organisms which disrupt ecosystem Simple aeration to complex treatment systems
Calcium and Magnesium Produce “hardness” of water Water softening process that utilizes a resin-coated media.
Iron and Manganese Stain Laundry and Plumbing Fixtures Oxidized or taken out of a solution by using chemicals like chlorine and filtration
Hydrogen Sulfide Gas Gives off “Rotten-egg” smell Reduce odors and taste by using aeration, chlorine or ozone