LAKE MARY, Fla. — In Seminole County, water sampling in potable wells within the county’s service area will soon begin.

What You Need To Know

  • An investigation by the Orland Sentinel reported that the toxic chemical 1,4-dioxane was found in some Seminole County drinking water

  • Officials say the county's water is safe to drink, but wanted to make sure the chemical was removed

  •  Parts of Lake Mary, Heathrow, Sanford and some areas of Seminole County are impacted

The notice comes days after Spectrum News 13 partner the Orlando Sentinel published an investigative report that revealed a toxic chemical has been contaminating drinking water in northwest parts of the county for years.

According to the report, water in Lake Mary, Sanford and other parts of the county contains 1,-4 dioxane, which is used as a stabilizer for chlorinated solvents.

The Environmental Protection Agency says 1,-4 dioxane has been linked to liver and kidney cancer, among other illnesses.

Seminole County District 3 Commissioner Lee Constantine says water in the county is, and always has been, safe to drink. However, Constantine said toxins like 1,4 dioxane need to be eradicated from the water systems.

Stuart Baumgarten moved to Lake Mary in 1996 from California. He admits he’s typically always preferred bottled water to tap, but everything else he’s done in Seminole County for nearly 30 years has been from the tap.

“My showering, my bathing, sink for shaving,” Baumgarten said. “Washing clothes to doing dishes.”

Hearing the news of the Orlando Sentinel's report now has him having the same thoughts of many in the county.

“I’m really concerned that I have been using this water all these years,” Baumgarten said.

According to the Seminole County website, 1,-4 dioxane is present in common house cleaning products, paint strippers, dyes, greases, antifreeze and aircraft fluids. The site also says it’s a concern if it remains in groundwater for an extended period of time. 

“It is frustrating that the departments that should have given us this information did not,” Constantine said. “However, now that we have the knowledge, Seminole County will do everything it can to ensure the water is not only safe today, but it will be safe for the future.”

Despite not reaching any health advisory warning levels, Constantine said the county will do a countywide analysis of the water system.

Stuart, who was once the CEO of two different medical device companies,said he is fortunate to now be a vice president with Smart Water Treatment Technologies.

“You got a system over here that uses reverse osmosis,” Stuart said, opening the cabinet under his kitchen sink.

Reverse osmosis is a multi stage water purifying system that has a cartridge filter that helps remove dust, rust, and sediment.

According to Water Science and Technology a carbon filter for a home can reduce 1,-4 dioxane by 50% — but in combination with a reverse osmosis system, data show that users can achieve reduction rates up to 96%.

Experts say there is not a home test for the chemical, so the only true way to know for residents to know if 1,-4 dioxane is in their water at home is to have it tested by an EPA certified lab.

As for the source of the water, Seminole County leaders say environmental services will begin collecting samples from 25 wells.