Can You Drink Tap Water in Orlando?
From Universal Studios and Walt Disney World to museums, science centers and plenty of places to soak in the sun, Orlando, Florida has no shortage of opportunities. Of course, no matter what you’re after, you’re sure to realize one thing: Here, water is always part of the adventure.
That’s not just because of the numerous water parks or the warm weather that makes it particularly important to stay hydrated. In truth, the Orlando water supply has an interesting story to tell to tourists, newcomers and long-time locals alike.
Here’s what Orlando residents should know about the city’s public water system and how to improve your home’s water quality.
Is It Safe To Drink Orlando Tap Water?
As long as you’re in North America, you can generally trust that safe drinking water will come out of home taps. That’s because the U.S. and Canada both have rules that protect and control the water supply, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Canadian Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. There are also numerous organizations — including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — that work to oversee these guidelines.
Depending on where you live, where your water comes from and what kind of municipal system supplies it, you can also count on a variety of treatments that happen long before water reaches your home. For example, cities often start water treatment processes with chlorination and at least one kind of filtration system, which both help address different kinds of contaminants.*
Orlando Drinking Water
Orange County Utilities and the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC Water) are responsible for serving the city’s residents. These organizations draw from a shared source of Florida tap water called the Floridan Aquifer — a freshwater reservoir underneath Orange County. This aquifer acts as a natural water treatment system, letting rainwater pass through layers of sand and rock that trap certain contaminants. While this may not address every element of tap water quality, such as taste or color, it does ensure that Orlando water is particularly reliable.
Nonetheless, OUC Water uses an ozone treatment process called “H2OUC” to help remove hydrogen sulfide, reduce the need for chlorine and improve taste, appearance, odor and more. The utility even compared its tap water quality results with those from single-use bottled water and found that its own water “met or surpassed the bottled brands in virtually every aspect.”
As required by the EPA, both OUC Water and Orange County Utilities provide a Water Quality Report — a publicly available document that outlines data on Orlando drinking water quality. For example, in 2022, OUC Water reported that all test results found that contaminants were well below allowable levels.
However, Orlando residents are still responsible for some portion of their own water quality. For example, although OUC Water performed copper and lead testing at customer taps in 2020 and didn’t find any results exceeding the allowable levels, no municipal water organization can be responsible for the plumbing system in your home. This means that, if you have lead or copper pipes leaching contaminants into your drinking water, the city may not know about it — and no treatment plant would be able to address it.
Should You Filter Tap Water in Orlando?
Although water from the Floridan Aquifer is naturally high-quality and various guidelines, organizations and treatment plants help keep it that way, your home’s tap water isn’t necessarily perfect. Some contaminants, like “forever chemicals,” don’t yet have established limitations or treatment guidelines in municipal water systems. It’s also important to remember that your home’s plumbing could create water quality issues that city treatment plants can’t address. On top of that, some municipal treatments — particularly chlorine — may add a noticeable odor to your tap water.
That’s why many people who use Florida water have chosen to trust a home water filtration system for taste, odor, appearance and even safety improvements. Although the particular size and type of solution will depend on your needs and preferences, the best choice is often a reverse osmosis drinking water filtration system. That’s because reverse osmosis (RO) is far more comprehensive than many other types of filtration, addressing a wider variety of contaminants and water issues. It’s also faster and more efficient than a pitcher or fridge water filter; with an RO system, you can turn on your tap and instantly get a virtually unlimited supply of fresh, filtered water whenever you need it.
What About Water Hardness in Orlando?
The issues discussed above, from chlorine to lead, are all about enjoyable and safe drinking water. But tap water can have other issues — particularly in Orlando. That’s because there’s a particular type of landscape in Florida, called karst, that can add minerals like calcium and magnesium to the water supply. While not necessarily dangerous to your health, these substances increase hardness levels in water, which leads to all kinds of problems.
You can’t see, smell or taste hard water, but you’ll generally know when it’s around. That’s because hardness leads to:
- Mineral deposits or limescale
- Soap scum
- Spotty dishes
- Stiff, dull laundry with an unpleasant odor
- Reduced water pressure
- Shorter lifespan on water-using appliances
- Dry skin and hair
- Increased time and money spent on cleaning supplies
- Reduced soap lather
Although some city treatment plants in Florida have processes in place to help reduce hardness, their focus is generally on drinking water. That means hard minerals are your problem to solve.
The good news is that water softeners are a hassle-free solution. These systems use resin beads to attract and trap hard minerals, letting softened water flow through to every tap in your home. When the beads are “full,” they’re rinsed with a brine solution to keep the softener working efficiently.
Improve Your Orlando Water Quality
You can check the Water Quality Report for your area every year, but that won’t tell you exactly what’s happening at your own tap. To take control of your Orlando water quality, you’ll need a professional water test. A local water expert will tell you about potential contaminants, hardness and pH levels, ideal solutions and more. Plus, if more in-depth testing is required, your water expert will help with that, too.
Get started today. Schedule your free, in-home water test and consultation.
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