An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Seminole County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

At forum, government officials, public discuss Seminole County’s tribulations with 1,4-dioxane

A little-known chemical not thought to be safe permeated the tap water of thousands of people in Seminole County for years.

That fact — revealed in the Sentinel’s “Toxic Secret” investigation — thrusted 1,4-dioxane’s worrisome prevalence onto the public’s radar last month, irking Seminole County residents and compelling public officials to take action.

In response, Seminole County and the cities of Lake Mary and Sanford, where the chemical was found the most potent, assured residents that after making adjustments their drinking water was safe. Still, important, broader questions remained.

An onslaught of concerns from Seminole County residents were scrutinized during a free public forum hosted by the Orlando Sentinel at Seminole State College’s Sanford/Lake Mary campus Tuesday night.

Questions addressed included: What determinations can be made about the source of the chemical? Why did the overspill go unaddressed for so long? And how does one assess potential years worth of its damage?

Panel discussions with reporters, water plant system experts and government officials representing affected areas addressed a bigger need for tougher regulations and transparency. Panelists also mapped out how 1,4-dioxane infiltrated the Floridan Aquifer and chewed over the origins of the chemical, tracing it back to a shuttered Siemens factory in west Lake Mary.