“Water is the driver of nature.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci
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National Primary Drinking Water Standards

Primary (Health Related) Inorganic Contaminants

Contaminant

MCLG

MCL

WQA Recommended Treatment Methods

Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water

Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water

Antimony 

  • 0.006 mg/L
  • 0.006 mg/L
  • Coagulation/Filtration
  • Submicron Filtration
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Distillation
  • Increase in blood cholesterol
  • Decrease in blood glucose
  • Fire retardants
  • Ceramics
  • Electronics
  • Solder
  • Discharge from petroleum refineries

Arsenic (+5) 

  • Coagulation/Filtration
  • Submicron Filtration
  • Anion Exchange
  • Activated Alumina
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Iron Based Media
  • See Arsenic (Total)
  • See Arsenic (Total)

Arsenic (Total) 

  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Iron Based Media
  • Anion Exchange
  • Activated Alumina
  • Skin damage
  • Circulatory system problems
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Discharge from semiconductor manufacturing
  • Petroleum refining
  • Wood preservatives
  • Animal feed additives
  • Herbicides
  • Erosion of natural deposits

Arsenic (+3) 

  • Chemical Oxidation
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Iron Based Media
  • Anion Exchange
  • Activated Alumina
  • See Arsenic (Total)
  • See Arsenic (Total)

Asbestos (fibers > 10µm) 

  • 7 MFL
  • 7 MFP (million fibers per liter, >10µm)
  • Coagulation/Filtration
  • Submicron Filtration
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Distillation
  • Increased risk of developing benign intestinal polyps
  • Asbestos cement in water systems
  • Natural Deposits

Barium

  • 2.0 mg/L
  • 2.0 mg/L
  • Cation Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Circulatory system effects
  • Natural deposits
  • Discharge of drilling wastes
  • Discharge from metal refineries

Beryllium

  • 0.004 mg/L
  • 0.004 mg/L
  • Coagulation/Filtration
  • Submicron Filtration
  • Activated Carbon
  • Activated Alumina
  • Cation Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Intestinal lesions
  • Discharge from electrical, aerospace, defense industries
  • Discharge from metal refineries and coal-burning factories

Cadmium

  • 0.005 mg/L
  • 0.005 mg/L
  • Coagulation/Filtration
  • Submicron Filtration
  • Cation Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Kidney effects
  • Galvanized pipe corrosion
  • Natural deposits
  • Batteries
  • Paints

Chlorine

  • Activated Carbon
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Cancer
  • Chemical added to disinfect municipal water

Chlorine dioxide (as ClO2)

  • 0.8 mg/L
  • 0.8 mg/L
  • Activated Carbon
  • Anemia
  • Nervous system effects
  • Water additive used to control microbes

Chromium (+3)

  • 0.1 mg/L (Total chromium)
  • 0.1 mg/L (Total chromium)
  • Coagulation/Filtration
  • Cation Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • See Chromium (Total)
  • See Chromium (Total)

Chromium (+6)

  • 0.1 mg/L (Total chromium)
  • 0.1 mg/L (Total chromium)
  • Anion Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • See Chromium (Total)
  • See Chromium (Total)

Chromium (Total)

  • 0.1 mg/L
  • 0.1 mg/L
  • Ion Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Liver disorders
  • Kidney disorders
  • Circulatory disorders
  • Natural deposits
  • Steel and pulp mills

Copper

  • 1.3 mg/L
  • 1.3 mg/L (action level)
  • Cation Exchange (20% - 90%)
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Corrosion control
  • Polyphosphate/Silicate feed
  • Gastrointestinal irritation
  • Natural/industrial deposits
  • Wood preservatives
  • Plumbing

Cyanide

  • 0.2 mg/L
  • 0.2 mg/L
  • Chemical Oxidation
  • Anion Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Thyroid damage
  • Nervous system damage
  • Electroplating
  • Steel
  • Plastics
  • Mining
  • Fertilizer

Fluoride

  • 4.0 mg/L
  • 4.0 mg/L
  • Activated Alumina
  • Bone Char
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Skeletal & dental fluorosis
  • Natural deposits
  • Fertilizer
  • Aluminum industries
  • Water additive

Lead

  • zero
  • 0.015 mg/L (action level)
  • Cation Exchange (20% - 90%)
  • Coagulation/Filtration
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Kidney damage
  • Nervous system damage
  • Impedes mental and physical development
  • Natural/industrial deposits
  • Plumbing
  • Solder
  • Brass alloy faucets

Mercury (+2)

  • See Mercury (Total)
  • See Mercury (Total)
  • Submicron Filtration/ Activated Carbon
  • Cation Exchange (20% - 90%)
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • See Mercury (Total)
  • See Mercury (Total)

Mercury (HgCl3-)

  • See Mercury (Total)
  • See Mercury (Total)
  • Anion Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • See Mercury (Total)
  • See Mercury (Total)

Mercury (Total)

  • 0.002 mg/L
  • 0.002 mg/L
  • Ion Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Kidney damage
  • Crop runoff
  • Natural deposits
  • Batteries
  • Electrical switches

Nickel

  • 0.1 mg/L
  • 0.1 mg/L
  • Cation Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Heart damage
  • Liver damage
  • Metal alloys
  • Electroplating
  • Batteries
  • Chemical production

Nitrate (as nitrogen)

  • 10 mg/L
  • 10 mg/L
  • Anion Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis (sensitive to pressure)
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Methemo-globulinemia
  • Animal waste
  • Fertilizer
  • Natural deposits
  • Septic tanks
  • Sewage

Nitrite (as nitrogen)

  • 1 mg/L
  • 1 mg/L
  • Chemical Oxidation
  • Anion Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Methemo-globulinemia
  • Same as nitrate; rapidly converted to nitrate.

Selenium (+4)

  • 0.05 mg/L (Total selenium)
  • 0.05 mg/L (Total selenium)
  • Coagulation/Filtration
  • Submicron Filtration/ Activated Carbon
  • Anion Exchange
  • Activated Alumina
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Hair and fingernail loss
  • Circulatory problems
  • Natural deposits
  • Mining
  • Smelting
  • Coal/Oil combustion

Selenium (+6)

  • 0.05 mg/L (Total selenium)
  • 0.05 mg/L (Total selenium)
  • Anion Exchange
  • Activated Alumina
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • See Selenium (Total)
  • See Selenium (Total)

Selenium (Total)

  • 0.05 mg/L
  • 0.05 mg/L
  • See Selenium (+4 or +6)
  • Hair and fingernail loss
  • Circulatory problems
  • Natural deposits
  • Mining
  • Smelting
  • Coal/Oil combustion

Thallium

  • 0.0005 mg/L
  • 0.002 mg/L
  • Cation Exchange
  • Activated Alumina
  • Distillation
  • Kidney, liver, brain, intestinal damage
  • Electronics
  • Drugs
  • Alloys
  • Glass

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