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What's Wrong With the Water In Orlando?

Updated on April 10, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years successful experience in medicine, psychology, STEM, and aerospace education (Active Air Force Civil Air Patrol).

A lot of beautiful water is seen in Orlando, but is it all drinkable?
A lot of beautiful water is seen in Orlando, but is it all drinkable? | Source

Stories of Water Treatment

If the taste and smell of the tap water in Orlando Florida is bad, my first notion is that this is the fault of the water treatment system. The cleanest, freshest water I have seen outside of a clear mountain spring is that begin in California during the 1990s, as shown in a television documentary.

In this Californian water treatment plant, chemicals and machines were replaced by plants and a long system of roots through which the waste waters flowed. The plants standing in the waters flowing through their roots lived from the nutrients still within the passing water. It was a rt of greenhouse affair as well, with much light allowed through to the plants for chlorophyll development. At the end of the channel of flowing water and roots, the resulting clean water was pure, without having had to use chemicals.

A portion of the Everglades.
A portion of the Everglades. | Source

If the taste and smell of the tap water in Orlando Florida is bad, my first notion is that this is the fault of the water treatment system.

A Wide, Shallow, Slow-Moving River

Orlando Florida:
Orlando, FL, USA

get directions

Key West Florida:
Key West, FL, USA

get directions

Interestingly, Central and Southern Florida is covered by a 6" deep shallow river about 500 miles wide, originating up around Orlando and flowing southward slowly through the Everglades and out to the ocean.

This river is called a river of grass, because it is often filled with grasses throughout its coverage. The wide marsh-river slows through the greenery of the plants, rather than the root systems, and is likely not filtered enough for drinking and cooking water. This is where Floridian water treatment plants come in to play.

The Wide River of Grass, Always Moving

River of Grass (the Everglades)
River of Grass (the Everglades) | Source

The 500-mile-wide river that eventually flows into the Everglades is not stagnant or standing swamp water. It is moving water and is not the water that is the drinking water for towns and cities in Florida.

Water for drinking in Orlando is filtered in several stages by city water treatment facilities.

Orlando Water Treatment Plant:
2544 Jmt Industrial Dr, Orlando, FL 32810, USA

get directions

Purple Gallinule Bird in the Everglades.
Purple Gallinule Bird in the Everglades. | Source

What is in Orlando Water?


Orlando is home to numerous water treatment companies that advertise making Orlando city water more drinkable, clean, and pure; thus, there must be a market for their services and some residents must not like the taste of the local water.

The City of Orlando itself features three waste water treatment plants, through which the city reports 36,000,000 gallons of industrial and home-use waste water passing per day.

Officials also indicate that pre-treatment is required of much of the industrial waste water. This may suggest heavy loads of pollutants or toxins in the water. At the same time, they indicate that bacteria and other microorganisms are used to clean the waste waters.

Next, the water is treated with chlorine and called "reclaimed water" that you can use for watering the lawn but not for drinking. Some of this water is filtered through sand and sent to drinking water reserves.

All the water from one of the three water treatment plants, the Iron Bridge plant, is used to maintain a wetlands in Orlando. The area even hosts a Wetlands Festival in this park every year.

At this point in the water treatment process, there may be some elements still in the water that produce bad tastes and bad smells. In Ohio, well water is affected this way by the content of either iron or sulfur.

Iron Bridge Water Treatment Plant northeast of Orlando.
Iron Bridge Water Treatment Plant northeast of Orlando. | Source
Iron Bridge Water Treatment Plant:
601 Iron Bridge Cir, Oviedo, FL 32765, USA

get directions

City of Orlando Waste Water Works:
5100 L B McLeod Rd, Orlando, FL 32811, USA

get directions

Opinions of Residents

Beautiful Orlando water.
Beautiful Orlando water. | Source

Residents of Orlando in Central Florida have expressed several opinions about the drinking water in the area and posted on forums answering questions about water for travelers.

Some say that they believe Disney World® activities affect the local water supply by inadvertently dumping water containing chemicals or elements not filtered out by the several bacterial and sand stages used in city water treatment. This would leave tastes and smells, hopefully not harmful to humans.

Other Orlando area residents say that the local water has an overly chlorinated taste that they ignore. Still others say that they need a home water filtering system to make the water palatable.

Solutions for Off Flavor Water

Travel advisors tell tourists to bring their own small filtering system with them to Florida, such as a small filter that fits onto a commercial water bottle itself, or to pack their own drinking water.

Tap water might not be the only water tasting and smelling strange in Orlando, though. Ice cubes made from the water may make beverages taste strange and Coca-Cola® bottled in Orlando likely uses Orlando water as well. The Coke will taste different. The Coffee and tea might taste different as well - even soups made with local water. It's a far-reaching situation.

If you are planning to visit or relocate to Orlando, call your hotel ahead of time and ask about the water quality, smells and tastes, and ask for suggestions. You might consider taking bottled water with you for your stay. Happy journey!

© 2011 Patty Inglish MS


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      2 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      @Jay - That is interesting and rather disturbing information. If soft drinks are bottled there, then the water is probably in them, too. Visitors must be well prepared water-0wsie for their visits to Florida!

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I visit Florida 1 time a year I get sick all the time from my stomach , keep in mind everyone even though you purchase bottle water , the restaurants you visit also use the water to cook with .

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      3 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I am sorry that you had to drink something that tasted like burnt charcoal! I suppose soft drinks bottled in the area taste the same way - Charcoal Pepsi!

      People, be careful of the water in Orlando!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Just got home from Disney World (Orlando), and the water tasted like burnt charcoal! My cousin stated it smelled as if it came from the bottom of a lake (Unsanitized in that regard), but I swear up and down burnt charcoal.

      I'm from West Virginia (a fairly polluted area actually), and the water here tastes funny, but it's more of a chemical taste then what was in Disney World.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I hate the smell and taste of sulfur too! Sorry you are living with it.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I grew up in Miami, drinking tap water, where we get our water from lake okeechobee (or so we're told). Moving to Orlando was the worst! The water tastes and smells like sulfur. I've been living here for close to 3 years now and I'm still not used to it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Don't believe life long Florida residents that say the water tastes fine. They've been using this water all their lives and just don't know any better! Having just moved here and through talking to other people who have also relocated to the orland area I can confirm that smell and taste of Orlando water is terrible compared to other places. Even a Brita filter doesn't really help, and showering in it is an unpleasant experience every single day. Maybe I just grew up spoiled, but I don't think I can live here long term, and the water is a big reason why!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your this very interesting post. voted up, useful, awesome, interesting.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      I didn't know this about Orlando water when I was at Disney just this past Christmas. I'll keep it in mind if ever we return, thanks for the hub, vote up, useful and interesting.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Lake Tahoe! That's nice water in many ways.

      A lot of people say they notice nothing odd about Orlando water, but it's probably similar to their home tap water. I almost always purchase spring water wherever I go. Cheers!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      7 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Wow, Patti, thanks for the heads up. I was planning on visiting Florida later on the year...I'll definitely heed your advice.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      7 years ago

      Some of the purest water out of the tap is in Lake Tahoe!! ;-)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      There's a lot of bad tasting water around, from what I am hearing.

      The reclaimed water is used to water groves of orange trees, according to the teo water treatment plants that service the plantlife and people. Sounds like it needs more filtering.

      Thanks for comments!

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      7 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Patty, even in my country, Jamaica, I don't drink the tap water that comes from the reservoir. The chemicals in the water taste so strong, I fear it will make me sick. I drink the spring water, luckily I'm from the country where we get the water directly from the springs.

      I want to point out that plants do not like chlorinated water, plants thrive better with soft water. I am not sure what the best use for the reclaimed water would be but I am sure that it's not good for the lawn, the soil or for human consumption.

    • BethBrown profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      Thank you! As a Florida resident, I purchase water for drinking, but feel I shouldn't have to. Your hub is very informative and Earth Angel, you have a great point!

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      7 years ago

      Good Morning Patty!

      We wonder why disease and dis-ease is on the rise in the U.S. and yet our water system is polluted and then treated with thousands of chemicals!

      I am allergic to bleach and hydrotetrachroride, both used regularly in "cleaning" our water! Hydrotetrachroride is also used in "dry cleaning" fluid!!

      Even if we filter our water prior to drinking, it is still in the water we use for bathing! And we wonder why autism is on the rise??

      I have a whole-house water filtration system installed at the junction before the hot water heater - as near the street before the water comes into the house!

      Water is such an important element in our health ~ and yet we pay so little attention to it!

      Thanks Patty for highlighting this critical issue!

      Blessings always, Earth Angel!


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