The Quality of Your Water

Person drinking water

Overview

Once again, we are pleased to present our annual water quality report covering all testing performed between January 1 and December 31, 2021.

Each year, the city of Clearwater’s Public Utilities department presents residents with important information about the city’s drinking water quality in an annual consumer confidence report.

As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments,” all water systems throughout the country must publish this annual report.

Printed copies are available upon request, and the report is also available in Spanish. If you’d like one mailed to you, call Clearwater Public Utilities at (727) 562-4960.

Community Participation Is Welcome

Boy playing in sprinklers

You are invited to participate in regularly scheduled meetings. The city of Clearwater Council normally meets at 6 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month at Clearwater Main Library. The meeting agendas are published on the city's website at myclearwater.com. For more information, call (727) 562-4090.

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners meets typically twice a month (usually, but not always) on the first and third Tuesday of the month. The earlier meeting in the month begins at 9:30 a.m. Meetings in the latter part of the month are held in two parts. Agenda items are discussed with the board at 2 p.m., after which there is a break and the board reconvenes at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend these meetings held in the 5th floor Assembly Room of the Pinellas County Courthouse, located at 315 Court St. in Clearwater. For more information, call (727) 464-3485.

Tampa Bay Water's Board of Directors meetings are held on the third Monday of every month at 9:30 a.m. at Tampa Bay Water at 2575 Enterprise Road, in Clearwater. For more information, visit their website at tampabaywater.org or call (727) 796-2355.

Important Health Information

Doctor looking at a child smiling

While your drinking water meets U.S. EPA's standard for arsenic, it does contain low levels of arsenic. U.S. EPA's standard balances the current understanding of arsenic's possible health effects against the costs of removing arsenic from drinking water. U.S. EPA continues to research the health effects of low levels of arsenic, which is a mineral known to cause cancer in humans at high concentrations and is linked to other health effects such as skin damage and circulatory problems.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immunocompromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants may be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. The U.S. EPA/CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 or water.epa.gov/drink/hotline.

Substances That Could Be in Water

The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.

Person pouring water into tea cup

Contaminants that may be present in source water include:

  • Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
  • Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally-occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.
  • Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and residential uses.
  • Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems.
  • Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the U.S. EPA prescribes regulations, which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water, which must provide the same protection for public health.

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.

Where Does My Water Come From?

City of Clearwater residents use approximately 11 million gallons of potable water every day. Approximately 60 percent is pumped from city-owned and operated groundwater wells; the remaining daily demand is supplied by water purchased from Pinellas County Utilities. The groundwater source for Clearwater comes from a groundwater supply called the Floridan Aquifer. This aquifer is one of the major sources of groundwater in the United States and underlies all of Florida, southern Georgia, and small parts of adjacent Alabama and South Carolina.

Pinellas County Utilities receives drinking water from Tampa Bay Water, a regional water supplier, which in turn becomes part of the water supplied to the residents of Clearwater. The water supplied by Tampa Bay Water is a blend of groundwater, treated surface water, and desalinated seawater. Eleven regional wellfields, pumping from the Floridan Aquifer, are the primary source for the regional groundwater supply. The Alafia River, the Hillsborough River, C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir, and the Tampa Bypass Canal are the primary supplies for the regional treated surface water supply. Hillsborough Bay is the primary supply of seawater for the regional desalinated supply. For more information on the Tampa Bay Water system, visit their website at tampabaywater.org.

where does my water come from water cycle SWFWMD water management district

Source Water Assessment

water coming out of a showerhead

In 2021, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection performed Source Water Assessment on our system. The assessment was conducted to provide information about any potential sources of contamination in the vicinity of our wells. There are 43 potential contaminant sources ranging from low to high concern levels.

In 2021, the Department of Environmental Protection performed Source Water Assessments for the Tampa Bay Water facilities. The assessment results are available on the FDEP Source Water Assessment and Protection Program website at www.dep.state.fl.us/swapp or they can be obtained from Tampa Bay Water, 2575 Enterprise Road, Clearwater, FL 33763, phone (727) 796-2355.

City Water Treatment Plants

Clearwater has three water treatment plants, two of which are reverse-osmosis (RO) water treatment plants.

water plant, ro, reverse osmosis, RO2

Clearwater uses Best Available Treatment (BAT) technologies to ensure that the drinking water delivered to our consumers meets or exceeds all drinking water standards. The city produces its own water and purchases the rest from Pinellas County Utilities to meet the water demand of city residents.

At RO Plant No. 1, water from wells in the Upper Floridan Aquifer is filtered to remove suspended solids such as iron. Then, it is processed by reverse-osmosis to remove selected dissolved molecules, including hardness-causing salts. The water is disinfected using monochloramines, stabilized to protect the pipeline system and is then pumped to consumers.

At RO Plant No. 2, brackish water from the lower portions of the Upper Floridan Aquifer is treated by reverse-osmosis to remove selected dissolved molecules, including hardness-causing salts. The water is then treated with ozone to remove sulfide, disinfected using monochloramines and stabilized to protect the pipeline system and is then pumped to consumers.

At Water Plant No. 3, raw water from the Upper Floridan Aquifer is blended with water supplied by Pinellas County Utilities, disinfected using monochloramines, stabilized to protect the pipeline system and is then pumped to consumers.

Lead in Home Plumbing

person drinking water

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. We are responsible for providing high-quality drinking water, but we cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 or at epa.gov/safewater/lead

Test Results

For 2021, the city of Clearwater met and exceeded all state and federal drinking water standards.

Boy drinking water out of a cup

Our water is monitored for many different kinds of substances on a very strict sampling schedule. And, the water we deliver must meet specific health standards. Here, we only show those substances that were detected in our water (a complete list of all our analytical results is available upon request). Remember that detecting a substance does not mean the water is unsafe to drink; our goal is to keep all detects below their respective maximum allowed levels.

The State recommends monitoring for certain substances less than once per year because the concentrations of these substances do not change frequently. In these cases, the most recent sample data are included, along with the year in which the sample was taken. 

Microbiological Contaminants

    City of Clearwater  Pinellas County Utilities  Tampa Bay Water      
Contaminant and Unit of Measurement  TT Violation (Yes/No) Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Result Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Result Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Result MCLG TT Likely Source of Contamination
Total Coliform Bacteria (# of Positive Samples) No 1/21–12/21 NA1 1/21–12/21 NA2 NA NA NA TT Naturally present in the environment

 

    City of Clearwater 
Pinellas County Utilities Tampa Bay Water       
Contaminant and Unit of Measurement MCL Violation (Yes/No) Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Total Number of Positive Samples for the Year Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Total Number of Positive Samples for the Year Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Total Number of Positive Samples for the Year MCLG MCL Likely Source of Contamination
E. coli (# of Positive Samples) No 1/21–12/21 13 1/21–12/21

 

0 NA NA 0 See footnote4 Human and animal fecal waste

 

Microbiological Contaminants

    City of Clearwater Pinellas County Utilities   Tampa Bay Water       
Contaminant and Unit of Measurement MCL Violation
(Yes/No)
Dates of Sampling
(mo./yr.)
The Highest Single Measurement The Lowest Monthly Percentage of Samples Meeting Regulatory Limits Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) The Highest Single Measurement The Lowest Monthly Percentage of Samples Meeting Regulatory Limits Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) The Highest Single Measurement The Lowest Monthly Percentage of Samples Meeting Regulatory Limits MCLG MCL Likely Source of Contamination
Turbidity (NTU) No NA NA NA NA NA NA 1/21–12/21 0.1965 100 NA TT Soil runoff

 

Radioactive Contaminants

    City of Clearwater Pinellas County Utilities  Tampa Bay Water       
Contaminant and Unit of Measurement MCL Violation (Yes/No) Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Level Detected Range of Results Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Level Detected Range of Results Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Level Detected Range of Results MCLG MCL Likely Source of Contamination
Alpha Emitters6 (pCi/L) No 2/21 ND ND 3/21 ND NA 4/21 3.4 ND-3.4 0 15 Erosion of natural deposits
Radium 226 + 228 [Combined Radium] (pCi/L) No 2/21 1.78 ND-1.78 3/21 ND NA 4/21 1.2 0.4-1.2

 

0 5 Erosion of natural deposits
Uranium (ppb) No 2/21 0.34 NA-0.34 3/21 ND NA 4/21 0.68 ND-0.68 0 30 Erosion of natural deposits

 

Inorganic Contaminants

    City of Clearwater 

Pinellas County Utilities Tampa Bay Water       
Contaminant and Unit of Measurement MCL Violation (Yes/No) Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Level Detected Range of Results Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Level Detected Range of Results Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Level Detected Range of Results MCLG MCL Likely Source of Contamination
Arsenic (ppb) No 2/21 6.9 ND-6.9 3/21 0.4 NA NA NA NA 0 10 Erosion of natural deposits; runoff from orchards; runoff from glass and electronics production wastes
Barium (ppm) No 2/21 0.0177 0.0073-0.0177 3/21 0.0134 NA NA NA NA 2 2 Discharge of drilling wastes; discharge from metal refineries; erosion of natural deposits
Chromium (ppb) No 2/21 ND NA 3/21 0.8 NA NA NA NA 100 100 Discharge from steel and pulp mills; erosion of natural deposits
Fluoride (ppm) No 2/21 0.66 0.6-0.66 3/21 0.68 NA NA NA NA 4 4.0 Erosion of natural deposits; discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories; water additive that promotes strong teeth when at the optimum level of 0.7 ppm
Nickel (ppb) No 2/21 ND NA 3/21 3.1 NA NA NA NA NA 100 Pollution from mining and refining operations; natural occurrence in soil
Nitrate [as Nitrogen] (ppm) No 2/21 0.16 0.028-0.16 3/21 0.17 NA NA NA NA 10 10 Runoff from fertilizer use; leaching from septic tanks, sewage; erosion of natural deposits
Selenium (ppm) No 2/21 1.8 ND-1.8 3/21 ND NA NA NA NA 50 50 Discharge from petroleum and metal refineries; erosion of natural deposits; discharge from mines
Sodium (ppm) No 2/21 71 47.2-71 3/21 27.4 NA NA NA NA NA 160 Salt water intrusion, leaching from soil

Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection By-Products

    City of Clearwater 
Pinellas County Utilities 
   
Tampa Bay Water        
Contaminant and Unit of Measurement MCL Violation (Yes/No) Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Level Detected Range of Results Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Level Detected Range of Results Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Level Detected Range of Results MCLG or [MRDLG] MCL or [MRDL] Likely Source of Contamination
Bromate(ppb) No 1/21-12/21 1.73 ND–2.8 NA NA NA 1/21-12/21 1.5 ND–3.98 0 10 By-product of drinking water disinfection
Chlorine(ppm) No 1/21-12/21 2.86 0.4-4.8 1/21-12/21 3.8 1.67-4.98 NA NA NA [4] [4.0] Water additive used to control microbes

 

    City of Clearwater 
Pinellas County Utilities  Tampa Bay Water      
Contaminant and Unit of Measurement Acute Violations (Yes/No) Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Non-Acute Violations (Yes/No) Level Detected Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Non-Acute Violations (Yes/No) Level Detected Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Non-Acute Violations (Yes/No) Level Detected MRDLG MRDL (at the entrance to the distribution system) Likely Source of Contamination
Chlorine Dioxide (ppb) No NA NA NA NA NA NA 4/199 NA 0.5 800 800 Water additive used to control microbes

 

    City of Clearwater

Pinellas County Utilities Tampa Bay Water       
Contaminant and Unit of Measurement MCL Violation (Yes/No) Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Highest Monthly Average (three sample set collected in the distribution system) Highest average (three sample set) following a daily MCL violation at the entrance to the distribution system Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Highest Monthly Average (three sample set collected in the distribution system) Highest average (three sample set) following a daily MCL violation at the entrance to the distribution system Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Highest Monthly Average (three sample set collected in the distribution system) Highest average (three sample set) following a daily MCL violation at the entrance to the distribution system MCLG MCL Likely Source of Contamination
Chlorite10  (ppm) No NA NA NA NA NA NA 1/21-12/21 0.01413 NA 0.8 1.0 By-product of drinking water disinfection

 

    City of Clearwater

Pinellas County Utilities Tampa Bay Water       
Contaminant and Unit of Measurement TT Violation (Yes/No) Dates of Sampling (mo/yr) Lowest Running Annual Average, Computed Quarterly, of Monthly Removal Ratios Range of Monthly Removal Ratios Dates of Sampling (mo/yr) Lowest Running Annual Average, Computed Quarterly, of Monthly Removal Ratios Range of Monthly Removal Ratios Dates of Sampling (mo/yr) Lowest Running Annual Average, Computed Quarterly, of Monthly Removal Ratios Range of Monthly Removal Ratios MCLG MCL Likely Source of Contamination
Total Organic Carbon (ppm) No NA NA NA NA NA NA 1/21-12/21 3.34 <2.0-3.9 NA TT Naturally present in the environment

 

Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection By-Products

    City of Clearwater

Pinellas County Utilities Tampa Bay Water       
Contaminant and Unit of Measurement MCL Violation (Yes/No) Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Level Detected Range of Results Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Level Detected Range of Results Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) Level Detected Range of Results MCLG MCL Likely Source of Contamination
Haloacetic Acids (five) [HAA5] - Stage 2 (ppb) No 2/21, 5/21, 8/21, 11/21 30 11.7-32.1 2/21, 5/21, 8/21, 11/21 25.052 10.31-41.59 NA NA NA NA 60 By-product of drinking water disinfection
TTHM [Total trihalomethanes] - Stage 2 (ppb) No 2/21, 5/21, 8/21, 11/21 60.3 39.5-59.8 2/21, 5/21, 8/21, 11/21 39.326 12.61-55.09 NA NA NA NA 80 By-product of drinking water disinfection

 

Lead and Copper (Tap water samples were collected from sites throughout the community.)

    City of Clearwater 

Pinellas County Utilities Tampa Bay Water         
Contaminant and Unit of Measurement AL Violation
(Yes/No)
Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) 90th Percentile Result No. of sampling sites exceeding the AL Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) 90th Percentile Result No. of sampling sites exceeding the AL Dates of Sampling (mo./yr.) 90th Percentile Result No. of sampling sites exceeding the AL MCLG AL (Action Level) Likely Source of Contamination
Copper [tap water]9 (ppm) No 6/21-7/21 0.29 0 7/2011 0.5 0 NA NA NA 1.3 1.3 Corrosion of household plumbing systems; erosion of natural deposits; leaching from wood preservatives
Lead [tap water] (ppb) No 6/21-7/21 2.5 1 7/2011 0.8 1 NA NA NA 0 15 Corrosion of household plumbing systems, erosion of natural deposits

Footnotes

1 Footnote for City of Clearwater: The City of Clearwater collects a least 110 water samples a month for Total Coliform Bacteria Analysis.

Footnote for Pinellas County Utilities: Pinellas County Utilities collects at least 210 water samples a month for Total Coliform Bacteria Analysis.

3 Although E. coli was detected, the water system is not in violation of the E. coli MCL.

4 Routine and repeat samples are total coliform-positive and either is E. coli-positive, or system fails to take repeat samples following E. coli-positive routine sample or system fails to analyze total coliform-positive repeat sample for E. coli.

5 Footnote for Tampa Bay Water: The result on the lowest monthly percentage column is the lowest monthly percentage of samples reported in the Monthly Operating report meeting the required turbidity limits. Turbidity is a measure of the clarity of the water. The Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU) in excess of 5 NTU is just visibility noticeable to the average person. Turbidity is monitored because it is a good indicator of the effectiveness of the water treatment filtration system. High turbidity can hinder the effectiveness of disinfectants. The turbidity results that were reported are lower than the turbidity limits

6 Results in the Level Detected columns for radioactive contaminants are the highest average at any of the sampling points or the highest detected level at any sampling point, depending on the sampling frequency. All the Level Detected and Range of Results reported were below the MCL.

7 For bromate the level detected is the highest running annual average (RAA), computed quarterly of monthly averages of all samples collected. The Level Detected and Range of Results reported were below the MCL.

8 For chloramines, or chlorine, the level detected is the highest running annual average (RAA), computed quarterly, of monthly averages of all samples collected. The range of results is the highest and lowest result of all the individual samples collected during the past year.

9 Footnote for Tampa Bay Water: For chlorine dioxide, the level detected is the highest single daily sample collected at the entrance to the distribution system. For 2021, the facility did not use any chlorine dioxide in its operation.

10 Footnote for Tampa Bay Water: The Highest Monthly Average was below the MCLG and the MCL.

11 Footnote for Pinellas County Utilities: The state allows Pinellas County Utilities to monitor for some contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants do not change frequently. This data is from 2020 and is still representative though it is more than one year old.

Special Footnote for Chlorine Dioxide for Tampa Bay Water: For chlorine dioxide, the level detected is the highest single measurement collected at the entrance to the distribution system. Acute MRDL violation: If any daily sample taken at the entrance to the distribution system exceeds the MRDL, and on the following day one or more of the three samples taken in the distribution system exceed the MRDL, then the system is in violation. In addition, failure to take samples in the distribution system the day following an exceedance of the chlorine dioxide MRDL at the entrance to the distribution is also considered an acute MRDL violation. Nonacute MRDL violation: If any two consecutive daily samples taken at the entrance to the distribution system exceed the MRDL and all distribution system samples are less than the MRDL, the system is in violation of the MRDL.

Special Footnote for Tampa Bay Water TOC: The monthly TOC removal ratio is the ratio between the actual TOC removal and the TOC rule removal requirements.

Table Definitions

ppm (parts per million): One part substance per million parts water (or milligrams per liter).

ppb (parts per billion): One part substance per billion parts water (or micrograms per liter).

pCi/L (picocuries per liter): A measure of radioactivity.

NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Units): Measurement of the clarity, or turbidity, of water. Turbidity in excess of 5 NTU is just noticeable to the average person.

AL (Action Level): The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.

MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level): The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

MCLG (Maximum Contaminant Level Goal): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

MRDL (Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level): The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

MRDLG (Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal): The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

NA: Not applicable

ND (Not detected): Indicates that the substance was not found by laboratory analysis.

TT (Treatment Technique): A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

LRAA (Locational Running Annual Average): The average of sample analytical results for samples taken at a particular monitoring location during the previous four calendar quarters.

SMCL (Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level): These standards are developed to protect aesthetic qualities of drinking water and are not health based.

90th percentile: The levels reported for lead and copper represent the 90th percentile of the total number of sites tested. The 90th percentile is equal to or greater than 90% of our lead and copper detections.

Level 1 Assessment: A Level 1 assessment is a study of the water system to identify potential problems and determine (if possible) why total coliform bacteria have been found in our water system.

Level 2 Assessment: A Level 2 assessment is a very detailed study of the water system to identify potential problems and determine (if possible) why an E. coli MCL violation has occurred and/or why total coliform bacteria have been found in our water system on multiple occasions.