The Safe Drinking Water Act passed in 1974 requires that state and local governments with public water systems must comply with maximum contaminant levels for the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR). Contaminant levels are determined for any ingredient of water which may adversely affect the health of persons and are set with an adequate margin of safety. Water treatment techniques for each contaminant are also prescribed under the law. The NPDWR are enforced at the federal level unless a state has requested and obtained primary responsibilities. Secondary Regulations recommended for aesthetic quality only and are not enforceable.
Prior to the purchase or sale of a home, you should require proof that your drinking water is potable and of sufficient supply. The agreement you make when purchasing a home should be contingent upon written proof that the water supplied to the residence is potable, sufficient in quality and palatable. If the water is not tested before the closing of the sale, part of the purchase price should be held in escrow to cover a new water system or the upgrade of an existing system, if this is deemed necessary through appropriate testing, by licensed pump and water well service company.
The owner of a residential property with their own private systems should supply the you with information about the following:
Location, type of well and construction Type of material used in the construction of the pipes leading to the house Age of the system Location, kind, and age of pump Location of any septic systems in relation to the well Find out what treatment your water is currently receiving and the reason for the treatment. Find out answers to these questions:
Is the water supply being softened and by what process? Is the water supply bacteriological safe? Is the present method of water treatment adequate for your needs Is the present method of treatment the best one available for your specific water problems? What is the age of your present water treatment system? Has it been checked recently by a water specialist? Water treatment methods are available to solve most problems associated with water quality. Three grades of water are advocated for residential use: utility water, as is comes from the central treatment plant or well for outside uses; working water, which is conditioned with a water softener to provide efficient usage for bathing and cleaning; and drinking and cooking water, supplied through a home water system.
The equipment needed to provide the most agreeable supply of clear, odorless and tasty water varies for each particular site. Below are some common problems with home water supply and some acceptable methods of treatment:
For pesticide contamination and/or industrial halogen compounds, use an activated carbon filtration system.
For soap scum, bathtub ring and/or spots on glassware, use an ion exchange system such as a water softener.
For unpleasant tastes, smells, or colors, use distillation, reverse osmosis, or carbon filtration systems.
For bacterial contamination, use chlorinating metering pumps, ultraviolet, venturi tube gas injection, or micro filtration.
For corrosion on pipes or water heaters, use chemical treatment.
For scaling and low sudsing action of cleaners, use an ion exchange system.
You can have your water analyzed by contacting your pump and well service company, county health department, and/or any private EPA approved laboratory. Professional advice is the best advice. Consult only properly accredited and licensed professionals.
The maximum contaminant levels established for the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or the State Health Department are shown on the following page. The maximum levels can be used as guidelines in analyzing your water.
PRIMARY CONTAMINANT LEVEL REGULATIONS Contaminant Maximum Level Inorganic Chemicals Arsenic 0.05 mg/l Barium 1.0 mg/l Cadmium 0.01 mg/l Chromium 0.05 mg/l Lead 0.05 mg/l Mercury 0.002 mg/l Nitrate 10.0 mg/l Selenium 0.01 mg/l Silver 0.05 mg/l Fluoride (depending on temperature) 1.4-2.4 mg/l Organic Chemicals Endrin 0.0002 mg/l Lindane 0.004 mg/l Methoxychlor 0.1 mg/l Toxaphene 0.005 mg/l 2,4-D 0.1 mg/l 2,4,5-TP Silverex 0.001 mg/l TTHM 0.10 mg/l Turbidity 1 - 5 TU Coliform Bacteria less than 1 per 100 (mean) Radiological Gross Alpha (excluding Radon & Uranium) 15 pCi/l Gross Beta 50 pCi/l Gross Beta (excluding Radium) 15 pCi/l Radium 226 only 3 pCi/l Radium 226 and 228 5 pCi/l Radon 222 300 pCi/l* Uranium 30 pCi/l or 20 mg/l* *proposed maximum level SECONDARY CONTAMINANT REGULATIONS Contaminant Maximum Level Aluminum 0.05 mg/l Chloride 250 mg/l Color 15 units Copper 1.0 mg/l Foaming Agents 0.5 mg/l Iron 0.3 mg/l Magnesium 50 mg/l Manganese 0.05 mg/l pH 6.5-8.5 Sulfate 250 mg/l Zinc 5.0 mg/l Total Dissolved Solids 500 mg/l mg/l = milligrams per liter ppm = parts per million ppm = mg/l pCi/l = picoCuries per liter
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