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Chemicals and Contaminants in Drinking Water
- Drinking water standards are called maximum contaminant levels (MCLs). MCLs are found in Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations. (Go to Drinking Water Regulations and Statutes).
- Primary MCLs address health concerns — here is a comparison of federal and California MCLs (PDF).
- Esthetics such as taste and odor are addressed by secondary MCLs (PDF).
- Learn about MCLs and public health goals (PHGs).
- Standards also include detection limits for purposes of reporting (DLRs), included in this list of chemicals and characteristics (Excel) associated with the submittal of analytical results by electronic data transfer (EDT).
- Also, see chemical-specific information on arsenic, hexavalent chromium, manganese (which has a secondary MCL), MTBE, nitrate and nitrite, and perchlorate; and information aboutfluoridation by public water systems.
Public Notification and Information about Contaminants
- Water systems: Use these templates — and contact your Drinking Water Program district office — when public notification is required because of chemical or microbiological contamination, or because of other conditions.
- Consumers: Information about your drinking water quality is available from your water system in its annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). A number of CCRs for California water systems are available on the US EPA’s website.
- Notification Levels: The Division of Drinking Water (DDW) uses these health-based advisory levels for certain chemicals without MCLs. Exceeding them prompts certain requirements and recommendations.
- Also, see chemical-specific information on 1,4-dioxane, 1,2,3-trichloropropane, and NDMA and other nitrosamines.
- Unregulated chemicals for which monitoring is required – these regulations were repealed October 18, 2007.
- Emerging contaminants – Information about emerging contaminants pertinent to drinking water and recycled water, along with links.
- Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins in Drinking Water – Information about harmful algal blooms and potentially associated toxins in California.
Use of Extremely Impaired Sources
- DDW follows Procedure Memorandum 97-005 (PDF) for evaluating of the use of extremely impaired sources for drinking water.
- DDW’s Water Treatment Technology Approval Process (PDF) – January 16, 2002
Sampling and Analysis
- Additional information for laboratories
- For extremely impaired sources (PDF) and recycled water analysis and reporting of non-target compounds—including tentatively identified compounds (TICs)—are these documents:
- Non-Target Volatile Organic Chemicals (PDF) – September 10, 2003 draft.
- Non-Target Semi-Volatile Organic Chemicals (PDF) – September 10, 2003 draft.
- Characterizing Severely Impaired Water Sources through Elemental Analysis (PDF) – January 26, 2004.