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Biscayne Aquifer

The Biscayne Aquifer is located just below the surface of the land in South Florida. It is made out of porous rock with tiny cracks and holes. Water then seeps in and fills these tiny cracks and holes.

This water is often referred to as groundwater or the water table, and provides virtually all of the water that is used by South Florida residents, visitors and businesses. This water is generally clean due to the effects of natural filtration.

The water is actually flowing like an underground river at a very slow rate. Generally it travels in an east-southeasterly direction at a rate of only about two feet per day. However, where there are very large openings or man-made canals the flow rate can increase substantially.

Because this drinking water supply is so close to the surface (barely a few feet down in most places), it is especially prone to contamination. Typically an underground water system can cleanse itself of low levels of contaminants in at least two ways.

  • First, natural dilution, (the "thinning out" of contaminants caused by dispersal into a large water body) can reduced minor contaminant concentrations to levels that are no longer considered harmful.
  • The second is the ability of a water system to clean itself through the natural filtration described earlier and through the breakdown of trapped contaminants by soil bacteria.

However, the Biscayne Aquifer has unique physical characteristics that make neither of these systems entirely reliable. This, compounded by the fact that millions of gallons of water are pumped out of the ground each day, contributes to the vulnerability of the region's groundwater supply.

This is why efforts are made to protect the groundwater. Miami-Dade County, in cooperation with other local, state and federal agencies, works to safeguard the supply source for drinking water. This may result in environmental regulations for businesses in the South Florida area being more stringent than other areas of the country, but it is necessary to protect the health of everyone dependent on clean water.

Being proactive can also forestall expensive water treatment processes at our water treatment plants.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:23:50 PM
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