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Miami’s Serious Water Problem


Miami water pollution

According to a recent in-depth news report, the city of Miami will face serious water problems in the not-too-distant future caused by an interplay of factors. First, the highly managed and fragile system residents rely on for clean water would likely be upset by a rise in sea level. The low-lying neighborhoods in Miami and Miami Beach were built decades before anyone considered rising sea levels a threat. A recent Zillow analysis estimated that a six foot rise in sea level could submerge 25% of homes in Miami and strand $200 billion-worth of real estate.

Although Miami may look similar to other major cities across the U.S., the trendsetting metropolis between Biscayne Bay and the Everglades is a thin slice of earth and concrete across an ever-expanding body of water subject to rampant flooding. Water seeps up through gravel under construction sites, storm drains and cracks, dampening and flooding the perimeters of new subdivisions and some neighborhoods.

The Effects of Climate Change

Climate change is slowly eroding the delicate machine that supplies clean water to the city’s residents. The amount of precipitation that falls during the heaviest storms has increased by an estimated 7% in Miami-Dade County since the 1960s. And scientists predict that unless there is a major reversal in greenhouse gas emissions, the rising Atlantic will cover much of Miami by the end of this century.

Although one might assume flooding only occurs after torrential rainstorms, some areas of Miami experience flooding even when it hasn’t rained. In the northern Miami neighborhood Shorecrest, the flooding is such a regular occurrence, residents are accustomed to dealing with knee-deep dirty floodwater outside and bubbling up from shower drains. High tides that coincide with full moons are the culprit.

The Biscayne Aquifer

If rising levels of salty seawater and heavier rain infiltrate the Biscayne Aquifer, Miami’s primary drinking water source, the survival of the entire city is at risk. Like the underlying geology of the entire area, the 4,000 square foot aquifer is made of porous limestone, and it’s also extremely shallow. Made of compressed ancient reefs, the limestone is riddled with tiny holes experts liken to Swiss cheese. The aquifer merges with the floor of the Biscayne Bay and Atlantic Ocean, so saltwater, rainwater and river run-off enter all those tiny holes, making it highly susceptible to potential contamination.

Toxic chemicals from Superfund sites and limestone mines, sewage from septic tanks and saltwater from the ocean threatens Miami’s freshwater supply. The second-most hazardous Superfund site in Miami-Dade, once home to Miami Drum, is just 750 feet from the Hialeah Water Treatment Plant which cleans water from 15 wells located at the Northfield Wellfield. While Miami Drum was shut down and the site was cleaned up in 1981, more than a decade later, air stripping towers designed to remove toxic contaminants were added to the aquifer as an extra precaution. In 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned that “flooding from more intense and frequent storms” could push toxins from Superfund sites into underground water sources like the Biscayne Aquifer.

Protect Your Family

While you can’t control your city’s major water system, you can take precautions by installing water filters in your home that not only make water safer but reduce waste. Pelican NaturSoft Salt-Free Water Softeners and the Pelican Whole House Filter & Salt Free Softener Combo generate zero waste compared to an average of 150 gallons of water wasted a week with salt-based water systems.

Disclaimer: The information on this website has not been reviewed by the FDA. Products offered for sale herein are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. No medical claims are being made or implied. Contaminants mentioned are not necessarily in your water.

Pelican Combo System Salt-Free Water Softener Whole-House Water Filter