A study of raw well water at 50 homes in Golden Gate Estates found elevated levels of sodium at 70 percent of the homes, the Collier County Health Department announced Friday.
The levels ranged from 33 parts per million to 380 parts per million, according to test results. The state Department of Environmental Protection’s maximum contaminant level for sodium is 160 parts per million. The study also found elevated levels of chloride.
Sodium, a naturally occurring metal, and chloride, an inorganic ion, combine to create table salt. Limiting the amount of sodium in drinking water is designed to help people who are on a salt-restricted diet. There is generally no health threat from elevated levels of chloride, according to the health department.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that people on a no-salt diet drink water with less than 20 parts per million of sodium, according to the health department.
The DEP has established a drinking water standard for chloride of 250 parts per million. The Golden Gate Estates samples contained chloride ranging from 60 parts per million to 900 parts per million, according to test results.
Environmental Health and Engineering Director Ken Rech said in a statement released Friday that raw water often has sodium in it as it is found naturally in soils in Southwest Florida.
For most people, the higher levels of sodium are not a health risk, but people with high blood pressure or kidney problems might want to consult their physician if they drink well water on a regular basis, Rech said in the statement.
Treating water with a reverse osmosis system or using bottled water may limit the health concern, the statement said.
The health department study was prompted by a concern from a Garland Road resident that his water was killing his plants, health department spokeswoman Dep Millsap said. She said the study samples water at homes north of Interstate 75, south of White Boulevard and east of Collier Boulevard, within a 1-mile radius of the Garland Road location.