Like the Clean Water Act, the federal Safe Drinking Water
Act (SDWA) covers only some of the many toxic chemicals that may appear
in drinking water. Under SDWA, the Environmental Protection Agency sets
Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for specific chemicals. These are the
maximum levels of a contaminant that are allowed in water delivered to
users of a public water system. MCLs are set at levels designed to
protect human health - although, under 1996 amendments to the SDWA, EPA
must also perform a cost-benefit analysis on MCLs and take into account
whether the levels are technically and economically feasible to achieve.
Under the SDWA, the states have primary responsibility for meeting the
MCLs and running the public drinking water protection program.
See a list of
the chemicals covered by the Safe Drinking Water Act
More information about MCLs and the Safe Drinking Water Act: