Most Floridians drink water from one of the more than 5,000 Public Water Systems (PWSs) in the state. Public Water Systems range from large community systems such as those found in the city of Jacksonville, to non-transient non-community systems such as schools and factories, to very small transient non-community systems such as campgrounds.
Federal and state agencies recognize the potential for and the mechanisms through which these systems may become contaminated. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in response to the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, requires public water systems to test samples of finished water from each PWS under Florida's Public Water Systems Supervision (PWSS) Program.For organization of this program click organization. Water samples are taken from the entry point to the distribution system and at various points within the distribution system. They are then tested for various chemical and bacteriological contaminants. Analytical results are submitted to the appropriate PWSS Program office for review. Sampling and reporting frequencies vary based on water system type, contaminant type and other factors.
A decade of experience under the 1986 Safe Drinking Water Act revealed that not all public water systems need to monitor for all contaminants, all the time. In addition, responsible science-based studies support reduction in monitoring frequencies. Monitoring relief for Florida PWSs is accomplished using Reduced Monitoring Waivers. The Reduced Monitoring Waiver program saves money for public water systems and their customers by reducing or eliminating unnecessary testing.
To qualify for monitoring relief, a system is assessed to determine if it vulnerable to contamination. The first step of the vulnerability assessment process is for the appropriate PWSS Program staff to review historical monitoring data to determine if a system has any history of contamination. Next, a review area is established around each well head and is evaluated to determine vulnerability. Systems determined to have no significant history of contamination or review area vulnerabilities may then be issued a monitoring waiver. At this time, the department grants waivers only to contaminants in the synthetic organic contaminant group. This waiver shall be effective for no more than three years, and systems must reapply periodically in order to continue to receive it.
October 7, 2020 - 4:51pm
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.