SWAPP: Potential Contaminant Sources
Potential Sources of Contamination

Potential sources of contamination are those facilities, sites, and activities that have the potential to affect the underlying ground water aquifers or nearby surface waters used for public drinking water supply. Many of these potential sources ared regulated by DEP, and the location and status of these sites are maintained within DEP databases. By utilizing in-house databases, and a geographical information system (GIS), DEP can access and illustrate the relationships of potential contaminant sources to the approximately 12,000 public water supply intakes in Florida.

It should be noted that the potential sources of contamination identified by this assessment project are just that: potential sources. Many of these facilities are regulated and operate under stringent construction and maintenance requirements designed to protect both human health and the environment. The purpose of conducting the source water assessments is to provide information that will lead to actions to reduce current risks or avoid future problems. The next phase of the SWAP Program will involve using what we have learned in our assessments to protect our state’s sources of drinking water.


Potential Contamination Source Scoring

To complete the assessment, we calculate a score for each facility which could potentially produce contamination of a PWS well.

The calculation used is:

(Cancer Group + Toxicity) * Mobility

--------------------------------------------------- = PCS SCORE

(Aquifer Value * Management Practice)

The Cancer Group (values 1 - 50), Toxicity (values 1- 50), and Mobility (values 1- 10) are predefined based on a chemical of concern for the facility, which is supplied by the program. The Aquifer Value (values 3,6,9) is determined by comparing the Florida Geological Survey's FAVA (Florida Aquifer Vulnerability Assessment) GIS coverage value with the public water system well. The Management Practice (value 1 - 15) is also determined by the program area and are based on the preventative controls enacted at the site (1 = no controls, 15 = many controls).


Potential Sources Not Included in this Assessment

Because this is a GIS based project, location data for the public water supply intakes and for the potential sources of contamination are extremely important. SWAPP is funding several ongoing projects to evaluate and correct locational data in the DEP databases. As locational data are improved, and more information is moved to an electronic format that can be used in a computer- based assessment, it is anticipated that additional potential sources of contamination will be added to future assessments.
Potential sources of contamination not included in this assessment include:
  • Mining Areas, including phosphate mining areas
  • Petroleum Clean Up Sites
  • Class 5 Underground Injection wells
  • Storm Water Discharges
  • Agricultural Facilities

Work continues on including these potential sources in the next assessments to be conducted in 2010.

Brownfields Program (Top)

A “brownfield site” is a site that is generally abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by actual or perceived environmental contamination. A “brownfield area” is a contiguous area of one or more brownfield sites, some of which may not be contaminated, and which has been designated by a local government resolution. Such areas may include all or portions of community redevelopment areas, enterprise zones, empowerment zones, closed military bases or other such designated economically deprived communities and areas, and EPA designated brownfield pilot projects. Designation of a “brownfield area” by a local government is the first step for a brownfield site to participate in and to receive various economic and regulatory incentives under the Brownfields Redevelopment Program.

DEP Brownfields Website:


CERCLA (Superfund) Program (Top)

For further information, please contract:
Teresa Booeshaghi   850/245-8989

Domestic Wastewater Program (Top)

Domestic wastewater is wastewater derived principally from dwellings, business buildings, institutions, and includes sanitary wastewater and sewage. Domestic wastewater in Florida is treated either by on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems (i.e., OSTDS or septic tanks) or by centralized domestic wastewater treatment facilities (WWF). The Florida Department of Health - Onsite Sewage Program has responsibility for regulating approximately 1.9 million OSTDS which treat roughly one-fourth of our state's domestic wastewater. The remainder of the state's domestic wastewater (approximately 1.7 billion gallons per day) is treated by larger onsite systems or by centralized WWFs which are the regulatory responsibility of DEP. DEP is responsible for permitting and compliance activities for approximately 2,700 domestic wastewater treatment facilities in the state.

DEP Domestic Wastewater Website:


Drycleaning Program (Top)

The Florida Legislature has established a state-funded program to cleanup properties that are contaminated as a result of the operations of a drycleaning facility or wholesale supply facility. The program is administered by DEP. The statute was sponsored by the drycleaning industry to address environmental, economic, and liability issues resulting from drycleaning solvent contamination. The program limits the liability of the owner, the operator and the real property owner of drycleaning or wholesale supply facilities for cleanup of drycleaning solvent contamination if the parties meet the conditions stated in the law. The data set contained in this assessment represents all locations that have been registered as an operating or a former drycleaning facility regardless of the property's eligibility status in the Drycleaning Solvent Cleanup Program.

DEP Drycleaning Website:


Delineated Areas Program (Top)

In 1988, the Florida Legislature directed the DEP to implement the Delineated Areas Program for potable water well construction and water testing standards within areas of known ground water contamination under Chapter 62-524, F.A.C. This action was taken to protect public health and ground water resources, and to promote the cost-effective remediation of contaminated potable water supplies.

From 1962 to 1983 the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services conducted widespread field applications of Ethylene Dibromide (EDB), an agricultural pesticide, to control nematodes in citrus groves. EDB was also used on row crops such as peanuts and soybeans and on golf courses. Discovery of EDB in ground water in other states prompted Florida to begin testing potable water wells in 1983.

Under the Delineated Areas Program approximately 427,897 acres in 38 counties have been delineated for ground water contamination. Of these areas, the majority are delineated for EDB contamination with a few additional areas delineated for solvents and gasoline. Delineated areas are mapped and adopted by rule under Chapter 62-524, F.A.C. These areas are typically mapped using a 1000-foot protective setback from a contaminated well or site.

Within delineated areas more stringent well construction standards are required for new drinking water well construction, along with testing of well water for the chemicals of concern and clearance for potable use by the Florida Department of Health. Contaminated potable water wells are typically remediated by installation of a granular activated carbon filtration system or by connection to a municipal water system. In addition, community and non-transient noncommunity public water systems with wells located within a delineated area routinely monitor for EDB and solvents.

DEP Delineated Areas Website:


Hazardous Waste Program (Top)

    A TSD is a Treatment, Storage or Disposal facility for hazardous waste. All TSDs require hazardous waste permits, or corrective action orders, to perform treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous waste. The permits and orders are processed and issued by DEP's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) staff. TSD facilities handle a wide array of potentially hazardous substances including, dioxins, metals, solvents, PAHs and other materials. Potential contaminants vary depending upon the types of wastes, management of those wastes and degradation products. There are 159 TSDs in Florida.

    A Large Quantity Generators (LQG) is a facility that generates 2,200 pounds or more of hazardous waste per month or 2.2 pounds or more of acute hazardous waste (such as some pesticides, toxics or arsenic and cyanide compounds) per month. Many wastes that are recycled are included in this quantity determination. There are 351 LQGs in Florida.

DEP Hazardous Waste Website:

Industrial Wastewater Program (Top)

Industrial facilities vary highly in the amount and types of wastewater they discharge. Industries that discharge large amounts of wastewater include North Florida's pulp and paper mills, Central Florida's phosphate mines, and the many electrical power plants throughout the state. Smaller industrial facilities, such as car washes and laundromats, have distinctly different wastes. Agriculture is one of the biggest industries in Florida. Many agricultural production and processing activities, such as citrus processing, dairies and aquaculture facilities, are regulated under DEP's Industrial Wastewater Program. There are approximately 1,430 industrial wastewater facilities in Florida.

DEP Industrial Wastewater Website:


Injection Wells Program (Top)

DEP's Underground Injection Control (UIC) program consists of a team of geologists and engineers dedicated to protecting the State's underground sources of drinking water (USDW) while maintaining the option of using underground injection wells for the disposal of fluids. A USDW is defined as an aquifer that contains ground water with a total dissolved solids concentration of less than 10,000 milligrams per liter. The UIC regulations are also designed to prevent the degradation of the quality of other aquifers adjacent to the injection zone. Subsurface injection, the practice of emplacing fluids in a permeable underground aquifer by gravity flow or under pressure through an injection well, is one of the many waste disposal methods used in Florida.

Class I wells are used to inject hazardous waste (new hazardous waste wells were banned in 1983), nonhazardous industrial wastewater, or municipal wastewater below the lowermost USDW. There are approximately 125 active Class I injection wells in Florida. The majority of the Class I injection facilities in Florida dispose of nonhazardous, secondary treated effluent from domestic wastewater treatment plants. Class I injection wells are also increasingly being used for the disposal of desalinization concentrate.

At locations where hydrogeologic conditions are suitable and where other disposal methods are not possible or may cause contamination, subsurface injection below all USDWs is considered a viable disposal method. There are favorable hydrogeologic conditions in Florida where the underground formations have the natural ability to accept and adequately confine the injected fluid. The injection wells are required to be constructed, maintained, and operated so that the injected fluid remains within the injection zone, and the unapproved interchange of water between aquifers is prohibited. Class I injection wells are monitored so that if migration of injection fluids were to occur it would be detected before reaching the USDW. Testing is conducted on all Class I injection wells at a minimum of every five years to determine that the well structure has integrity.

DEP Injection Wells/UIC Website:


National Priority List (Superfund) Program National Priority List (Superfund) Program (Top)

Years ago there was less understanding of how dumping or improper managment of chemical wastes might adversely affect public health and the environment. The result of such practices was that hazardous substances contaminated thousands of properties across the nation. Congress passed legislation in 1980 that established the Superfund Program in order to locate, investigate and cleanup these sites. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers the Superfund Program in cooperation with the individual states and tribal governments.

The Hazard Ranking System (HRS) is the principal mechanism EPA uses to evaluate sites for the National Priorities List (NPL). It is a numerically based screening system that uses information from initial, limited investigations — the preliminary assessment and the site inspection to assess the potential of sites to pose a threat to human health or the environment. Sites are listed on the NPL upon completion of Hazard Ranking System screening, public solicitation of comments about the proposed site, and after all comments have been addressed. The responsible parties may clean up the Superfund site under an agreement with EPA; or, EPA may clean up the site under a cost-share agreement using federal and state funds.

Complete information on the Superfund Program and individual Superfund sites is available on the EPA Superfund Sites Website:


Petroleum Storage Tanks Program (Top)

There are over 20,000 petroleum storage tanks (both underground and aboveground) in Florida that are designed to contain regulated substances such as motor fuels, residual oils, waste oil, lubricants, petroleum solvents, and petroleum based substances. The Storage Tank Regulation Section is part of the Bureau of Petroleum Storage Systems in the DEP Division of Waste Management. Since Florida relies on groundwater for approximately 92 percent of its drinking water needs, DEP has a very active petroleum contamination prevention and cleanup program and some of the most stringent rules in the country.

Leak Prevention is an important part of Florida's program. DEP's underground and aboveground storage tank rules require that all new and replacement storage tank systems have secondary containment. The rules also establish deadlines for owners of existing storage tank systems to replace their systems with those that have secondary containment. In addition, DEP has contracts with all 67 counties in the state to perform compliance verification and enforcement activities. The counties perform routine inspections of every facility within their counties on an annual basis, inspect the installation and removal of all storage tank systems, and complete investigations of discharges from regulated facilities.

DEP Regulated Underground Storage Tank Facilities Website:


Responsible Party Waste Cleanup Program (Top)

Responsible Party Waste Cleanup sites are those sites for which the property owner or some other interested party is performing the site cleanup in cooperation with the department. Sites covered by other cleanup programs (e.g., petroleum, drycleaning) are typically not included as responsible party cleanup sites. There is a broad range of types and sizes of sites and a broad range of pollutants as well. For more information, please contact Brian Dougherty at 850/245-7503.

Waste Cleanup Program (Top)

Waste cleanup sites are hazardous waste sites and EPA federal Superfund NPL sites, that are in the process of being cleaned up.

DEP Waste Cleanup Website:


Solid Waste Program (Landfills) (Top)

Class I and II landfills are lined landfills which accept all solid wastes (primarily municipal solid wastes) which are not hazardous wastes and which are not prohibited from disposal in a lined landfill. Class III landfills are landfills which accept yard trash, construction and demolition debris, processed tires, asbestos, carpet, cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, furniture other than appliances, and other materials approved by DEP that are not expected to produce leachate which poses a threat to public health or the environment. Florida has 488 landfills that are either Class I, II, or III. Of these landfills, 100 are active and the remainder are closed. Some of the older landfills were closed before permits were required.

Groundwater contaminants associated with Class I, II, and III landfills will vary depending on the type of wastes disposed, quantities of wastes disposed, whether or not the landfill is lined, the site specific hydrogeologic setting, and the age of the landfill. The permitting of landfills, the inspections to ensure landfills are in compliance with the rules, and any enforcement actions to bring landfills back into compliance with the rules are performed by the District office for the region where the landfill is located.

DEP Landfills/Solid Waste Website:


State Funded Cleanup Program (Top)

The state-funded cleanup program is designed to address sites with soil or groundwater contamination when legal efforts have been exhausted to find and obtain funds from the responsible parties. Remediation efforts are triggered when a DEP District Office, in collaboration with the Office of General Counsel, refers a site for state-funded cleanup. Sites are then scored using the EPA Hazard Ranking System to determine the severity of contamination. A site is adopted for state cleanup if it poses an imminent hazard and does not qualify for Superfund or is a low priority for EPA.

State-funded cleanup is managed by the Hazardous Waste Cleanup Section in the Bureau of Waste Cleanup and is accomplished using hazardous waste contractors who implement the DEP authorized remedial action at the site. Remedial activity may include contamination assessments, risk assessments, feasibility studies, design and construction of treatment systems, operation and maintenance of treatment systems, and removal of contaminated media when necessary. Funding for these remedial efforts comes from the Water Quality Assurance Trust Fund.

DEP State Funded Cleanup Sites Website: