We found the most comprehensive water quality comparison in an analysis by the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization that says the federal government’s standards for water quality fall short.
The group spent three years analyzing water contaminant data nationwide and found 316 contaminants. The EPA has enforceable standards for less than half of them.
Released in 2009, the database evaluated water utilities based on the total number of chemicals detected, the percentage of chemicals found of those tested; and the highest average level for a pollutant relative to legal limits or national averages. The analysis included the most common pollutants such as disinfection byproducts, nitrate and arsenic.
The group published a ranking of large cities, and Miami came in 46th place out of 100. (Several other large Florida cities or counties were listed, including Odessa, which is served by the St. Petersburg Water Resources Department, 20th; Pinellas County, 57th; Hillsborough County, 65th and Tampa, 68th.).
A Miami-Dade County budget document claimed that the county has “the nation’s highest-rated tap water.”
A county spokeswoman said that statement was an error. The water department more typically talks about the “high quality” of the water without making a national comparison.
A Forbes article concluded the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area was fourth in water quality based on a 2007 University of Cincinnati study of 12 contaminants. A more thorough national analysis by the Environmental Working Group ranked Miami-Dade County at 46th in 2009.
The claim is wrong, but it isn’t so ridiculous to earn our lowest Pants on Fire rating. We’re still going to end with one more joke and pour a cold bucket of tap water to douse this claim. We rate this claim False.