Water Qualities | |
Environmental Science - 1006
How are water quality standards determined? Distinguish between water quality criteria pollutants and maximum contaminant levels. |
Water quality is determined by three main classes which includes biological, chemical, and physical. There are standards of water quality set for each of these three classes. The national standard for drinking water is developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All public water supplies mu be measured with these standards.
The EPA drinking water standard is categorized in primary and secondary drinking water. Primary drinking water standards balance organic and inorganic chemicals, microbial pathogens, and radio active elements that could affect safety drinking water. These standards set the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) in the highest concentrations of certain chemicals that are allowed in drinking water supplied by public water system.
Secondary drinking water standards are balanced with chloride, color, copper, corrosity, foaming agents, iron, manganese, odor, pH, sulfates, total dissolved solids, and zinc. All that could affect qualities of drinking water like taste, odor, color, and appearance. The concentration limit of these contaminants is known as Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMEL).
State agencies are responsible for monitoring public water supplies and enforcing the primary and secondary drinking water standards set by EPA. Local water districts must test and treat drinking water and maintain the EPA standards for quality and they are also responsible for informing the public when the water quality standards aren’t up to code.
Wright, Richard T. & Boorse, D.F. (2008) Environmental Science: Toward a sustainable future. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Perarson Prentice Hall