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Dissolved Solids in Water from the Upper Part of the Floridan Aquifer in Florida


The Floridan aquifer, which underlies all of Florida, yields water containing less than 250 parts per million dissolved solids in the northwestern part and throughout much of the center of the State. In the southern part of Florida and along most of the east coast. the dissolved solids in the water exceed 1,000 parts per million and are as much as 23.000 parts per million.

Water from deep zones of the aquifer usually contains more dissolved solids than water from shallower zones. Only the dissolved solids content of water from the upper part of the aquifer is shown on the map.

Dissolved solids are found in all natural water and consist mainly of carbonates, bicarbonates, chlorides, sulfates, phosphates, fluorides, and nitrates of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, iron, manganese, strontium, and sulfide normally are present only in small amounts; however, each is occasionally found in relatively large quantities. Some solids are dissolved from impurities in the atmosphere by rain and some are dissolved from surface materials. The amount of dissolved solids derived from these sources generally is small. After the water enters the ground, the dissolved solids generally increase. This increase may result from solution of the rocks and minerals through which the water percolates, mixing with highly mineralized connate water: water that was trapped in the rocks when they were formed), encroachment of salt water from the ocean, or by pollution.

The water in the Floridan aquifer in Florida usually oontains at least some of each constituent mentioned above. There are, however, two or three of the constituents that are much more concentrated than the others. The predominant constituents are calcium carbonate, sodium carbonate, sodium chloride, and calcium and magnesium sulfate (see small inset map). The solution of limestone causes calcium carbonate to predominate in a large area. Natural water softening probably causes sodium carbonate to predominate in some areas. The sodium chloride water is the result of encroachment of salt water from the ocean or of mixing with connate water. Solution of the mineral gypsum at least partly causes the predominantly calcium and magnesium sulfate water. Water from the aquifer south of Lake Okeechobee is classified as sodium chloride water, but the sulfate concentration is also high.

The U. S. Public Health Service (1962, p. 34) recommends that the dissolved solids in drinking water not exceed 500 parts per million if other, less mineralized, supplies are available. This recommended maximum is based primarily on taste rather than health requirements; however, there may be a great difference in the concentration between a detectable taste and an objectionable taste of dissolved solids. The factor of acclimatization is particularly important. More than 100 public supplies in the United States provide water with more than 2,000 parts per million of dissolved solids. Newcomers and visitors would certainly find these waters almost intolerable and. although some of the residents use other supplies for drinking, many are able to tolerate, if not enjoy, these highly mineralized waters. (USPHS, 1962, p. 33).

Water containing dissolved solids in excess of 2,000 parts per million may not quench thirst and may have a laxative effect on new users; however, no harmful physiological effects of a permanent nature have been called to the attention of health authorities.

Dissolved solids in industrial waters can cause foaming in boilers and interference with clearness, color, or taste of many finished products.

William J. Shampine, "Dissolved Solids in Water from the Upper Part of the Floridan Aquifer in Florida" Prepared by United States Geological Survey in cooperation with the Bureau of Geology, Florida Department of Natural Resources Tallahassee, Florida, 1965, revised 1975.


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