FLORIDA SPRINGS INSTITUTE: ELEVATED NITRATE NITROGEN LEVELS FOUND IN FLORIDA’S DRINKING WATER SUPPLY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dr. Robert Knight
June 21, 2016
GAINESVILLE, FL – The Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute (FSI) is concerned about elevated levels of nitrate nitrogen in much of the Floridan Aquifer (see attached maps). This same Floridan Aquifer is the source of water feeding our 1,000+ artesian springs in North Florida and is the principal supply of potable water for the region.
A substantial portion of the water in the Floridan Aquifer has been contaminated with nitrate by human activities, including the use of fertilizers and the disposal of wastewater in areas where the aquifer is most vulnerable. Resulting nitrate concentrations are well above harmful thresholds (numeric nitrate standard of 0.35 mg/L) in most of Florida’s natural springs.
Elevated groundwater nitrate concentrations are also acutely toxic to humans. In some areas of North Florida, nitrate concentrations in drinking water wells are already above the safe drinking water standard of 10 mg/L.
While groundwater nitrate concentrations are rising throughout the region, most areas are still below this acute threshold. However, a growing body of medical literature is indicating that there may be chronic effects of nitrate at levels at or below those found in community drinking water supplies, including municipalities and in bottled drinking water. Human health issues that have been found to be exacerbated by sub-lethal nitrate concentrations in drinking water include various forms of human cancer and birth defects.
For these reasons the Florida Springs Institute is collecting, analyzing, and publishing nitrate data from a variety of potable groundwater suppliers.
For the health of our springs and our human population, we believe it is critical that the public is aware of this growing threat. If you are concerned about the health of our springs and the availability of clean water for drinking and bathing, let your local and state leaders know.