Abstract

Iron is one of the most common elements in the Earth's crust, which corresponds to it being a common constituent in drinking water supplies. Residents of Bithlo, an unincorporated community in east-central Florida, have observed that their drinking water tastes like metal and stains clothing and teeth. An evaluation of water samples collected from over 200 private drinking water wells revealed iron concentrations that exceeded the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) secondary standard of 0.3 mg/L. Households with and without point-of-entry treatment were found to have over three times (0.92 mg/L) and ten times (3.86 mg/L) more iron than the EPA's secondary standard, respectively. The human health-based threshold of 4.2 mg/L established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was exceeded in 38.6% of untreated residences. Community-wide statistical and spatial water-quality trends were developed by combining the collected well water quality data with historically available water quality reports. Spatial analyses revealed that greater than 99% of the Bithlo community's private household supplies would exceed the EPA's drinking water secondary standard.

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