"Clean" water in St. Petersburg?

...despite occasionally coming to maximum contaminant levels

Another slightly worrisome category states that there are 8 parts per billion of cyanide in our water. This is a very low amount and the MCL is at 200 parts per billion. I am not an expert, but any cyanide in the water seems a little surprising, especially when the likely source of contamination is listed as discharge from steel/metal factories and plastic/fertilizer factories.

So should you quit filtering your water and drink straight from the tap, or be scared off tap water for good and stick to bottled? I would argue that the answer is neither. While the water did meet all the thresholds and is considered safe to drink, there are still monthly and local fluctuations that have not been accounted for. However, most people do not realize that bottled water has its problems, too. Many of the 'worrisome' contaminants in tap water exist in the same amounts in bottled water. Therefore, I wouldn't jump to any extreme conclusions about the how safe or unsafe tap water is, but knowing about your city's water quality is important. You may not need to change your routine because of St. Pete's water report, but it is certainly something worth being aware of.


Tap water in St. Petersburg is safe to drink, according to the recent release of the City of St. Petersburg water quality report 2010. Those of us in St. Pete may have gotten a flier with our water bill explaining the details about the “award winning tap water and services” that the Water Resources Department delivers to you.

The most important thing to note is that there were no maximum contaminant value violations in the St. Pete water. This simply means that our water has no chemicals in it in amounts above a set threshold of what could be dangerous. Even more simply, this means you can safely drink your tap water in the St. Pete area, which is a good indicator of the water quality in the entire Tampa Bay area, though differences could be looked into.

While this sounds like great news, it also should be noted that our water is not perfect. The amount of contaminants found in tests has been disclosed, and we did come close to the MCL (maximum contaminant level) in a few categories. For example, in the category of chloramines (a type of disinfectant used to control microbes), the MCL goal is set at 4.0 parts per million. The results of monthly tests gave an annual average of 3.7 parts per million and had a range between 0.6 and 5.5. Therefore, in that category we are technically safe, but very close to the dangerous threshold on average and well over it during some months.

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