Water Quality Protection
Water connects everything. Beneath all of South Florida is the Biscayne Aquifer, a shallow, porous limestone formation that has historically provided all urban and agricultural freshwater supply. It is recharged by rain and flows from the Everglades and other natural areas.
Our porous aquifer is especially vulnerable to contamination: We live and work over the water we drink. The aquifer and drinking water supply is also vulnerable to saltwater intrusion, particularly as sea level rises. Human activities on land, including past and present development and water management practices, have had an impact groundwater and surface water quality.
Illustration adapted from SFWMD/USGS
Pollutants generated by land-based activities can be conveyed to drinking water wellfields, coastal waters and other natural areas by stormwater runoff or other discharges.
Miami-Dade County is constantly working to maintain the quality and quantity of our surface water, groundwater and drinking water. This includes, for example, regulation of land uses and activities that may contribute to pollution, monitoring, soil and water remediation, stormwater management, and natural resource restoration.
Sources of water pollution can include improper storage or disposal of liquid and solid waste, stormwater runoff, filling or dredging of surface waters, and even contamination left behind from land uses and practices of the past.
Many of the "point" sources of contamination may be industrial or pretreatment facilities, however industry does not bear all the responsibility for water pollution. Anyone may contribute to this type of pollution by pouring used engine oil in the backyard or storm drain, throwing litter out of the car window, or using too much fertilizer or pesticide at home.
Together we must work together to ensure that the water bodies, groundwater and drinking water that we share will be clean and healthy.
For educational materials or presentations about water pollution or any other environmental topic, call our outreach office at 305-372-6784 or visit our brochure library.
Biscayne Bay and adjoining waters are among Miami-Dade’s most outstanding natural resources. Shallow, clear water, seagrass meadows and coastal wetlands provide habitat for fish and wildlife, buffer the coast against storm erosion, support boating and other water recreation, and generates more than $6 billion per year of economic benefit.
Although most of Biscayne Bay is designated as a State Aquatic Preserve or is part of Biscayne National Park, the Bay remains vulnerable to human activities in the watershed.
Learn about Baynanza and the Biscayne Bay Cleanup Day, which takes place every April.
Heavy storms can cause flooding in low-lying areas, especially during the rainy season.
Runoff from streets, parking lots, lawns and fields can convey litter, particulates, fertilizers, oil, grease and other pollutants to surface waters. Stormwater management plans and infrastructure are now designed to trap pollutants, retain runoff onsite, recharge the aquifer, and reduce flooding in the most vulnerable areas.
- Learn more about stormwater management
Wellfield Protection Areas
Miami-Dade County protects groundwater to maintain a clean and affordable supply of drinking water. An important strategy focuses on preventing contamination before it can happen by regulating types of land uses and activities that may generate pollutants.
Efforts focus most on Wellfield Protection Areas, the zones surrounding public water supply wells.
Wetlands contribute to protecting water quality by naturally recycling excess nutrients and removing other pollutants before they are conveyed to groundwater or surface waters. Wetlands also offer important habitat for a wide variety of organisms that rely on the area as a nursery ground, and provide protection against coastal erosion.Back to Top Page Last Edited: Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:12:06 AM
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