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Can You Drink Tap Water in Miami?
Yes, Miami's tap water is generally considered safe to drink as Miami has no active health based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that we are aware of. Other factors such as lead piping in a home, or low levels of pollutants on immunocompromised individuals, should also be considered, however. To find more recent info we might have, you can check out our boil water notice page, the city's water provider website, or Miami's local Twitter account.
According the EPA’s ECHO database, from April 30, 2019 to June 30, 2022, Miami's water utility, Mdwasa - Main System, had 1 non-health-based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. For more details on the violations, please see our violation history section below. This assessment is based on the Mdwasa - Main System water system, other water systems in the city may have different results.
While tap water that meets the EPA health guidelines generally won’t make you sick to your stomach, it can still contain regulated and unregulated contaminants present in trace amounts that could potentially cause health issues over the long-run. These trace contaminants may also impact immunocompromised and vulnerable individuals.
Water Quality Report for Miami Tap Water
The most recent publicly available numbers for measured contaminant levels in Miami tap water are in its 2020 Water Quality Report. As you can see, there are levels which the EPA considers to be acceptable, but being below the maximum allowable level doesn’t necessarily mean the water is healthy.
Lead in tap water, for example, is currently allowed at up to 15ppb by the EPA, but it has set the ideal goal for lead at zero. This highlights how meeting EPA standards doesn’t necessarily mean local tap water is healthy.
EPA regulations continue to change as it evaluates the long term impacts of chemicals and updates drinking water acceptable levels. The rules around arsenic, as well as, lead and copper are currently being re-evaluated.
There are also a number of "emerging" contaminants that are not currently. For example, PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), for which the EPA has issued a health advisory. PFAS are called "forever chemicals" since they tend not to break down in the environment or the human body and can accumulate over time.
We recommend looking at the contaminants present in Miami's water quality reports, or getting your home's tap water tested to see if you should be filtering your water.
Miami Tap Water Safe Drinking Water Act Violation History - Prior 10 Years
Below is a ten year history of violations for the water system named Mdwasa - Main System for Miami in Florida. For more details please see the "What do these Violations Mean?" section below.
For the compliance period beginning Jan. 1, 2020, Miami had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Follow-up Or Routine LCR Tap M/R which falls into the Chemicals rule code group, and the Lead and Copper Rule rule code family for the following contaminant code: Lead and Copper Rule.
Is there Lead in Miami Water?
Based on the EPA’s ECHO Database, 90% of the samples taken from the Miami water system, Mdwasa - Main System, between sample start date and sample end date, were at or below, 0.0035 mg/L of lead in Miami water. This is 23.3% of the 0.015 mg/L action level. This means 10% of the samples taken from Miami contained more lead.
While Miami water testing may have found 0.0035 mg/L of lead in its water, that does not mean your water source has the same amount. The amount of lead in water in a city can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, or even building to building. Many buildings, particularly older ones, have lead pipes or service lines which can be a source of contamination. To find out if your home has lead, we recommend getting you water tested.
No amount of lead in water is healthy, only less dangerous. As lead accumulates in our bodies over time, even exposure to relatively small amounts can have negative health effects. For more information, please check out our Lead FAQ page.
Are there PFAS in Miami Tap Water?
Currently, testing tap water for PFAS isn’t mandated on a national level. We do have a list of military bases where there have been suspected or confirmed leaks. There appears to be at least one military base - Homestead AFB - near Miami with suspected leaks.
With many potential sources of PFAS in tap water across the US, the best information we currently have about which cities have PFAS in their water is this ewg map, which you can check to see if Miami has been evaluated for yet.
Our stance is better safe than sorry, and that it makes sense to try to purify the tap water just in case.
Miami SDWA Violation History Table - Prior 10 Years
|Compliance Period||Status||Health-Based?||Category Code||Code||Rule Code||Contaminant Code||Rule Group Code||Rule Family Code|
|01/01/2020 -||Resolved||No||Monitoring and Reporting (MR)||Follow-up Or Routine LCR Tap M/R (52)||Lead and Copper Rule (350)||Lead and Copper Rule (5000)||Chemicals (300)||Lead and Copper Rule (350)|
What do these Violations Mean?
Safe Drinking Water Act Violations categories split into two groups, health based, and non-health based. Generally, health based violations are more serious, though non-health based violations can also be cause for concern.
Health Based Violations
- Maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) - maximum allowed contaminant level was exceeded.
- Maximum residual disinfectant levels (MRDLs) - maximum allowed disinfectant level was exceeded.
- Other violations (Other) - the exact required process to reduce the amounts of contaminants in drinking water was not followed.
Non-Health Based Violations
- Monitoring and reporting violations (MR, MON) - failure to conduct the required regular monitoring of drinking water quality, and/or to submit monitoring results on time.
- Public notice violations (Other) - failure to immediately alert consumers if there is a serious problem with their drinking water that may pose a risk to public health.
- Other violations (Other) - miscellaneous violations, such as failure to issue annual consumer confidence reports or maintain required records.
SDWA Table Key
|Compliance Period||Dates of the compliance period.|
Current status of the violation.
|Health-Based?||Whether the violation is health based.|
The category of violation that is reported.
|Code||A full description of violation codes can be accessed in the SDWA_REF_CODE_VALUES (CSV) table.|
|Contaminant Code||A code value that represents a contaminant for which a public water system has incurred a violation of a primary drinking water regulation.|
Code for a National Drinking Water rule.
|Rule Group Code||
Code that uniquely identifies a rule group.
|Rule Family Code||
Code for rule family.
For more clarification please visit the EPA's data dictionary.
Miami Water - Frequently Asked Questions
|By Mail:||3071 SW 38 AVENUE
MIAMI, FL, 33146
Existing customers can login to their Mdwasa - Main System account to pay their Miami water bill by clicking here.
If you want to pay your Mdwasa - Main System bill online and haven't made an account yet, you can create an account online. Please click here to create your account to pay your Miami water bill.
If you don't want to make an account, or can't remember your account, you can make a one-time payment towards your Miami water bill without creating an account using a one time payment portal with your account number and credit or debit card. Click here to make a one time payment.
Moving to a new house or apartment in Miami means you will often need to put the water in your name with Mdwasa - Main System. In order to put the water in your name, please click the link to the start service form below. Start service requests for water bills typically take two business days.
Leaving your house or apartment in Miami means you will likely need to take your name off of the water bill with Mdwasa - Main System. In order to take your name off the water bill, please click the link to the stop service form below. Stop service for water bills requests typically take two business days.
The estimated price of bottled water
$1.82 in USD (1.5-liter)
USER SUBMITTED RATINGS
- Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 27% Low
- Water Pollution 48% Moderate
- Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 73% High
- Water Quality 52% Moderate
The above data is comprised of subjective, user submitted opinions about the water quality and pollution in Miami, measured on a scale from 0% (lowest) to 100% (highest).
Miami Dade Water and Sewer Authority
EWG's drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, as well as information from the U.S. EPA Enforcement and Compliance History database (ECHO). For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2019 - March 2019), tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.
- Serves: 2300000
- Data available: 2012-2017
- Data Source: Groundwater
- Total: 21
Contaminants That Exceed Guidelines
- Chromium (hexavalent)
- Perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHPA)
- Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)
- Radium%2C combined (-226 & -228)
- Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
Other Detected Contaminants
- Chromium (total)
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5)
Always take extra precautions, the water may be safe to drink when it leaves the sewage treatment plant but it may pick up pollutants during its way to your tap. We advise that you ask locals or hotel staff about the water quality. Also, note that different cities have different water mineral contents.
Sources and Resources
Current Weather in MiamiMIAMI WEATHER
Do Restaurants Serve Tap Water in Miami?
Most restaurants you go to will ask if you want sparkling water, bottled water, or tap. Unfortunately, there is no law requiring restaurants to serve their customers tap water for free. In some rare cases, servers have been reported to refuse serving tap water or to urge patrons to buy filtered tap water. In Miami, you may need to spend between $5 to $10 for a one-liter bottle of water.
Drinking fountains are pretty rare in Miami; many have become out-of-date over the years. It is highly advised to take a reusable water bottle along with you.
Some of the Convenience Stores in Miami
- Dollar Food Stop
- Stop Nâ Shop
- North Beach Mini Mart
- Deli View
- T & Jâs Market
- Little Havana Market
- Sidâs Sundries
- Fly Buy
- Kwik Stop
- University cStore
Estimated Price of Bottled Water
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency monitors the levels of contaminants in city water systems, but bottled water, which is a packaged good, is regulated by the FDA. The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD) conduct more than 100,000 examinations of city water samples each year.
Source of Tap Water in Miami, FL USA
The primary source of Miami’s tap water is groundwater from the Biscayne Aquifer which is located below ground in Southern Florida. Aquifers are vast, underground rocks made of porous limestone that contain a large amount of freshwater. The freshwater that is trapped in these aquifers is pumped up to the surface and delivered to reservoirs or treatment plants. This water is generally clean because it is naturally filtered through many layers of soil and rock. Water moving through aquifers is incredibly slow as it travels in an east-southeasterly direction at a speed of two feet per day. However, where there are large openings or human-made canals, the flow rate can increase substantially. Because this drinking water supply is so close to the surface (only a few feet down in most places), it is especially susceptible to contamination.
The tap water of Miami, Florida is considered safe by the Miami-Dade Water And Sewer Department (WASD), which follows national Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations based on the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974. That said, the area’s tap water is not considered safe by some independent groups — based on the presence of certain chemicals. This article will break down the sources, quality, and potential contaminants of Miami tap water as well as give an advisory for travelers visiting the city.
The tap water in the city of Miami and the surrounding Miami-Dade County, Florida, comes from groundwater sources. This groundwater is obtained by way of wells, which draw from the Biscayne Aquifer, and, in a much fewer of numbers drawing from the Florida Aquifer.
The Biscayne Aquifer is a layer of limestone that is permeable. It is a shallow rock layer (some 4,000 square miles in size) that is relatively close to the surface and has small holes and cracks through which rainwater can seep. This aquifer interacts with surface lakes, rivers, streams, and canals.
The Biscayne Aquifer extends some 80 feet down from the surface. Underneath this is a layer of impermeable rock known as a confining layer, and underneath this is the Florida Aquifer. Some 330 million gallons of water are drawn from the Biscayne Aquifer daily.
The water in the Biscayne Aquifer has been described by the county government as “generally clean” as a result of sedimentary filtration — and is said to move through underground rock like a very slow river. However, since this water is so close to the surface, breaches may cause contamination.
Miami has three main tap water treatment plants: the Alexander Orr, the Hialeah, and the John E. Preston plants. These plants use different combinations of filtration, softening, and disinfection, but they all fluoridate their water to some 0.6 to 0.8 parts per million (ppm).
The tap water quality of Miami is somewhat disputed, especially in regard to Perfluorooctanoic Acids (PFOAs) and Perfluorinated Alkylated Substances (PFAS).
While the WASD maintains in its 2020 report that it follows the EPA guidelines as listed in the SDWA, and puts forth data to support its claims, independent consumer advocacy groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have contested Miami’s tap water quality.
The EWG, for example, mentions that PFOA and PFA levels in Miami exceed their own internal standards for safe drinking water. In a study from May to December 2019, the group found PFA levels at 56.7 parts per trillion (ppt), far above their standard of 1 ppt.
PFOAS and PFAS are the results of runoff from industrial waste, cooking material chemicals, cleaning chemicals, food, and water products. They have been associated with kidney, testicular, pregnancy, thyroid, and endocrine system diseases.
Though the EPA currently only has advisory limits for these substances (70 ppt), it is likely to regulate them in the near future — as announced in March 2021, it made a regulatory determination on PFAs and PFOAs, beginning a process to propose and draft regulations on them.
There are several possible contaminants that could occur in Miami tap water, according to the WASD 2020 Water Quality Report. These contaminants include coliforms, disinfectants, disinfection byproducts, inorganic contaminants, and other contaminants.
According to the 2020 report, there have been no instances of harmful biological contaminants such as Cryptosporidium or Giardia found in the source water for the treatment plants of the WASD. These levels are acceptable per EPA regulations.
The 2020 report cited chloramines at levels of 2.5 ppm in the main system, which is within the Maximum Disinfectant Residual Level Goal (MDRLG) of 4 ppm, an acceptable level. Amounts of chlorine were listed as Not Applicable (N/A) in the main system, as chloramine is normally added.
The WASD tests for trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids, byproducts of water disinfection chemicals. The 2020 report found levels of these compounds to be 60 (out of an 80 Maximum Contaminant Level [MCL]) and 39 (out of 60 MCL) ppb respectively, within acceptable EPA levels.
The 2020 WASD report mentions specifically that Radon-222 (radon) has been found in Miami’s tap water, at a rate of 193 picoCuries per Liter (pCi/L). Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that is known to cause lung cancer — and can be in water or airborne.
Though there is no EPA-established MCL for radon, data from a 2013 European Union report suggests that a parametric value of 100 Becquerels per Liter (Bq/L, or 2,702 pCi/L) should be adopted by its member states. The Miami tap water radon value of 193 pCi/L amounts to 7.14 Bq/L.
Still, the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentions that 30 to 1,800 deaths annually can be attributed to radon in drinking water. Radon and radon safety measure information can be found on the EPA site.
Radium, uranium, and alpha-emitting particles were found to be within acceptable levels.
The WASD tests for inorganic contaminants such as arsenic, barium, antimony, chromium, copper, lead, manganese, nitrates, nitrites, selenium, and sodium. These contaminants — the result of erosion, plumbing, agriculture, and electrical energy activities — were within acceptable levels.
The WASD also tests for perfluorooctane sulfonate, perfluorooctanoic acids (PFAs/PFOAs), and oxamyl — results of human-created runoff and pesticides.
Oxamyl has been found to be within acceptable levels, the perfluorooctanoic substances have been found to be at 31 and 11 ppt — below the EPA’s advisory of 70 ppt.
Advisory For Travelers
The EPA mentions that activated carbon treatments, ion exchange treatments, and high-pressure membranes are notably effective in removing PFAs and PFOAs, harmful substances found in Miami’s tap water. This is echoed by independent groups like the EWG.
Both the EPA and WASD issue standard national tap water warnings to the elderly, people with HIV/AIDS, those undergoing cancer immunotherapy, infants, and those with otherwise compromised immune systems. For more information, call the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.