For the past two decades, Panama City has been facing water quality issues. The Bay of Panama was so polluted that shellfish and other organisms could not survive due to the lack of water filtration infrastructure, which allowed untreated urban wastewater to be discharged directly into the river system. To tackle this environmental degradation, the Panamanian government implemented a plan to invest in water and wastewater treatment systems. The most hazardous bacteria is ingested in raw seafood, but recent deaths have been attributed to people who have gotten into the water with broken skin. In addition, the useful life of hotel equipment can be reduced by half due to the accumulation of encrustations caused by the hardness of the water.
The recommendations made by Hazen & Sawyer have had a long-lasting effect on Panama City, improving the lives of more than 1.2 million people by reducing diseases, boosting tourism, increasing business development, enhancing the ecology of the bays and increasing recreational opportunities. The warnings for Rick Seltzer Park (SP) branch at 7419 Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach, Beach Drive (SP) location on US-98 West Beach Drive and Dupont Bridge (SP 1) at the end of Oakshore Drive, Panama City are still in effect. The Florida aquifer produces well water with a hardness of less than 180 PPM in northwest and central Florida, providing moderately hard water to cities such as Tallahassee (126 PPM), Gainesville (140 PPM) and Orlando (129 PPM).