Safe Drinking Water Standards Set by SDWA

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)

Safe drinking water act was first launched in the year 1974 and was being amended this year 2016. It was made to ensure public safety when it comes to safe drinking water distribution. It is the government’s way of controlling and eradicating water contaminants for public safety consumption by the use of suitable treatments.


Water is considered as one of our basic needs because it comprises almost 78% of the human body. There are many water sources around us but unfortunately contains naturally occurring contaminants and as well as toxic chemicals that are dangerous to public health.


Drinking water is made up of healthy minerals but contains some waterborne contaminants too such as vinyl chloride, cadmium, copper, and lead. Some are naturally occurring, but some may be found in water due to improper ways of distributing them to the public, such as piping and poor plumbing system wherein there are rusts and other metal contaminants present along the way.

They can cause diseases from simple to chronic ones. These metals are considered as the top priority contaminants to be removed and that the government is very particular. It is their responsibility to ensure safety to provide the public for safe drinking water.


As we all knew, there are many water contaminants that you must be aware of. One of them is vinyl chloride. It is a colorless organic gas which has a sweet odor that with too much exposure to it or excess intake through drinking water can increase the risk of having cancer.


Cadmium is also one drinking water contaminant that EPA is very particular with. It is a metal found in natural deposits such as ores that if taken in excess can be of a great hazard because it can cause kidney damage.


Copper is one of them too! It is a naturally occurring metal on rocks, soil, plants and even on water. Its presence in your drinking water is not good for the health. It can cause vomiting diarrhea and stomach cramps. Lately, studies show that it can also be associated with liver damage and kidney diseases as well.


Lead is a toxic metal that is considered as the topmost toxic contaminants of drinking water according to SDWA. Lead on drinking water can cause diseases. It can lead to behavioral problems and can hamper learning capacity.


Under safe drinking water act, EPA or the environmental protection agency are required to determine the level of contaminants on drinking water. It sets levels of protection as to how to regulate and remove their presence on drinking water to prevent harmful health effect on human body.


It is the top priority of the SDWA to detect and remove unhealthy contaminants in public drinking water using the best and suitable treatments that are cost effective. SDWA sets methods on measuring drinking water contaminants, and provide protection systems aside from regulating and removing them on public water.


There are 2 drinking water standards set by SDWA namely the primary and the secondary standards. The primary standards focus or apply to legally observance and guidelines on public water systems in providing the public potable safe drinking water.

And the secondary standard that only implies guidelines set for contaminants that may cause cosmetic and aesthetic effects on water. Some states push secondary standards as a must for public drinking water where some states don’t.


EPA also set standards on treatment techniques such as disinfection and filtration, Lead and Copper detection and the by the use of pure treatment chemicals. EPA always considers what best possible treatment technique to use for providing the public its potable safe drinking water.


Corrosive water contains toxic metals that need to be removed because it can cause great damage to public health such as lead, copper, zinc and other metals. Today, consumers don’t easily understand the potential of lead as one of the water contaminants that are a health hazard.

They usually think that public water is already treated, so they assumed that it’s safe enough already. The truth is that lead can still be a threat during public distribution through its piping system.


Lead contamination can cause lead poisoning that is most dangerous most especially to children. Too much lead exposure can deeply affect the body. It may lead to greater damage to some major organs of the body such as brain, kidney, and bones.

The problem of lead exposure nowadays is that it can’t be controlled easily. It is because of the poor public distribution of water to your homes. There are some primary treatments available for lead removal. One of them is corrosion control and piping updating or checkup and not to mention the use of suitable purification and filtration system in your homes.


Water is being measured by 2 standards set by EPA. The maximum contaminant level (MCL) and the maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG). Maximum contaminant level is the maximum concentration of a chemical that is allowed in public drinking water systems. MCLG should be normally as close as the maximum contaminants level goal.

This safe drinking water act was updated and amended last May 9, 2016. It was passed as the Safe Drinking Water Act Improved Compliance Awareness Act.


This act controls and requires the public water systems to notify the public about lead contaminant level that exceeds the limit of the national primary drinking water regulation. It is EPA’s responsibility to notify or giving awareness on violations of the states or the public water system if they’ve reached the excessive level of lead.

On amended act 2016, lead-free plumbing requirements are considered as one of those primary water regulations already. They give importance on lead contamination and other metals which are not specified and given importance on the original safe drinking water act of 1974.

The federal drinking water standards are consist or organized into six important groups such as microorganisms, disinfectants, disinfection byproducts, inorganic and organic chemicals and lastly radionuclides.


This act was made to ensure the distribution of safe public drinking water. SDWA is considered as principal federal law to ensure public safe drinking water wherein under this act the environmental protection agency set standards for water quality and see to it that it is being implemented throughout the states, localities and even with those water distributors or suppliers.

The act covers all public water systems, but it doesn’t cover private wells and bottled water too because bottled waters are covered by food and drug administration.


Lastly, for EPA’s monitoring, compliance and enforcement, The SDWA still requires them to identify some of those unregulated contaminants that may still be found in public drinking water that needs or requires regulation.

So in the end, it is still wise to consider the use of suitable and perfect purification or filtration system at home.

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