About 286 million Americans use and drink municipal water every day. Do you? Have you ever thought about what is in your water? There’s no way the water you drink every day could be unhealthy for you, right? What kind of contaminants can be in your water?
The Water Everyone Uses and Drinks
Municipal water, sometimes known as city water, is what most people in the U.S. use as their primary source of water in their home. Because of this, municipalities collect, filter, and distribute thousands and thousands of gallons of water every day. In fact, Tennessee uses anywhere from 500 million to a billion gallons of water every day.
Due to the mass collection, filtration, and distribution of water, it would be costly to produce water that was high-quality and deliver that water to your home. Despite the many filtration challenges that would arise, much of America’s waterways are still galvanized iron pipe, maintaining high-quality through those would be nearly impossible.
With those considerations in mind, the EPA has set standards and regulations that municipalities must follow in regards to water quality, including water sample testing, etc.
There are two primary categories you should know about when it comes to the water you and your family drink, bathe in, wash with, use, and cook with every day. These two categories come straight from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), because the regulations and standards of municipal water is a federal matter.
The first category is contaminants that are known to exist and show up in municipal water that are regulated. And the second category is contaminants that are known to exist and show up in municipal water that are NOT regulated.
We believe it’s important to know what is in your water so keep reading. Just know once you have the knowledge, there is a solution. You can take control of your water.
Contaminants that are Regulated in Municipal Water
These regulations are called the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR), which are instituted and enforced by the EPA. According to the EPA, these are the primary standards and treatment techniques that protect public health by limiting the levels of contaminants in drinking water.
This is the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations document that anyone can find on the EPA website.
There are a few things you need to understand when reading this document, they are outlined below:
Information Regarding NPDWR:
MCL (mg/L) – Maximum Contaminant Level – The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water under the NPDWR.
TT – Treatment Technique – A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in the drinking water.
Public Health Goal or Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) – This is the best case scenario on that particular contaminant level. Notice the MCLG is often different than the MCL.
Contaminants – This is a list of 88 contaminants that are regulated under the NPDWR. It includes disinfectants, disinfection byproducts, inorganic chemicals, microorganisms, organic chemicals, and radionuclides. These contaminants are present or expected to be present in public municipal water.
National Secondary Drinking Water Regulation – At the bottom of the NPDWR, a list of 15 contaminants is found under the name of the National Secondary Drinking Water Regulation. These regulations are non-enforceable guidelines that the EPA recommends to Municipalities but does not force them to adopt these standards.
Contaminants that are NOT Regulated in Municipal Water or the CCL 4
The Contaminant Candidate List 4, according to the EPA, “is a list of contaminants that are currently not subject to any proposed or promulgated national primary drinking water regulations, but are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems“.
There have been 4 iterations of the CCL, therefore the “CCL 4” is the 4th iteration.
Due to lack of mass filtration methods, pure cost of filtration, or there not being substantial enough evidence to be harmful to public health, these one-hundred and eleven contaminants are not regulated in any way.
The EPA states three criteria for a Contaminant to be put onto the NPDWR:
The contaminant may have an adverse effect on the health of persons;
The contaminant is known to occur or there is substantial likelihood the contaminant will occur in public water systems with a frequency and at levels of public health concern;
In the sole judgment of the Administrator, regulation of the contaminant presents a meaningful opportunity for health risk reductions for persons served by public water systems.
See below the two full documents. We have red-inked some areas of interest.
Chemical Contaminants – CCL 4
Final CCL 4 Chemical Contaminants
|1,1-Dichloroethane||75-34-3||It is an industrial solvent and an intermediate in the synthesis of other compounds.|
|1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane||630-20-6||It is an industrial solvent and used in the synthesis of other chlorinated compounds.|
|1,2,3-Trichloropropane||96-18-4||It is an industrial solvent, cleaning and degreasing agent as well as an intermediate in the synthesis of the other compounds.|
|1,3-Butadiene||106-99-0||It is used in the production of rubber and plastics.|
|1,4-Dioxane||123-91-1||It is used as a solvent for cellulose formulations, resins, oils, waxes and other organic substances. It is also used in wood pulping, textile processing, degreasing, in lacquers, paints, varnishes, and stains; and in paint and varnish removers.|
|17alpha-estradiol||57-91-0||It is an estrogenic hormone found in some pharmaceuticals.|
|1-Butanol||71-36-3||It is a solvent and used in production of other chemicals. compounds. It is present in a number of commercial products such as perfumes.|
|2-Methoxyethanol||109-86-4||It is used in a number of consumer products, such as synthetic cosmetics, perfumes, fragrances, hair preparations, and skin lotions.|
|2-Propen-1-ol||107-18-6||It is used in the production of other chemicals.|
|3-Hydroxycarbofuran||16655-82-6||It is a pesticide degradate, the parent, carbofuran, is used as an insecticide.|
|4,4′-Methylenedianiline||101-77-9||It is used in the production of polyurethanes foams, glues, rubber and spandex fiber.|
|Acephate||30560-19-1||It is an insecticide.|
|Acetaldehyde||75-07-0||It is a disinfection byproduct from ozonation; it is used in the production of other chemicals.|
|Acetamide||60-35-5||It is used as a solvent and plasticizer.|
|Acetochlor||34256-82-1||It is an herbicide for weed control on agricultural crops.|
|Acetochlor ethanesulfonic acid (ESA)||187022-11-3||Acetochlor ESA is an environmental degradate of acetochlor.|
|Acetochlor oxanilic acid (OA)||184992-44-4||Acetochlor OA is an environmental degradate of acetochlor.|
|Acrolein||107-02-8||It is used as an aquatic herbicide, rodenticide and industrial chemical.|
|Alachlor ethanesulfonic acid (ESA)||142363-53-9||Alachlor ESA is an environmental degradate of the pesticide alachlor (an herbicide for weed control on agricultural crops).|
|Alachlor oxanilic acid (OA)||171262-17-2||Alachlor OA is an environmental degradate of alachlor.|
|alpha-Hexachlorocyclohexane||319-84-6||It is a component of benzene hexachloride (BHC) and was formerly used as an insecticide.|
|Aniline||62-53-3||It is used as an industrial chemical, as a solvent, in the synthesis of explosives, rubber products and in isocyanates.|
|Bensulide||741-58-2||It is an herbicide.|
|Benzyl chloride||100-44-7||It is used in the production of other substances, such as plastics, dyes, lubricants, gasoline and pharmaceuticals.|
|Butylated hydroxyanisole||25013-16-5||It is used as a food additive (antioxidant).|
|Captan||133-06-2||It is a fungicide.|
|Chlorate||14866-68-3||Chlorate compounds are used in agriculture as defoliants or desiccants and may occur in drinking water because of use of disinfectants such as chlorine dioxide and hypochlorites.|
|Chloromethane (Methyl chloride)||74-87-3||It is used as a foaming agent and in the production of other substances.|
|Clethodim||110429-62-4||It is an herbicide.|
|Cobalt||7440-48-4||It is a naturally-occurring element and was formerly used as cobaltous chloride in medicines and as a germicide. It is a part of the vitamin B12 molecule|
|Cumene hydroperoxide||80-15-9||It is used as a catalyst is used in the production of other substances.|
|Cyanotoxins||Not applicable.||Toxins naturally produced and released by cyanobacteria (“blue-green algae”). The group of cyanotoxins includes, but is not limited to: anatoxin-a, cylindrospermopsin, microcystins, and saxitoxin.|
|Dicrotophos||141-66-2||It is an insecticide.|
|Dimethipin||55290-64-7||It is an herbicide and plant growth regulator.|
|Diuron||330-54-1||It is an herbicide.|
|Equilenin||517-09-9||It is an estrogenic hormone used in hormone replacement therapy.|
|Equilin||474-86-2||It is an estrogenic hormone and is used in hormone replacement therapy.|
|Erythromycin||114-07-8||It is used an antibiotic.|
|Estradiol (17-beta estradiol)||50-28-2||It is an isomer of estradiol found in some pharmaceuticals.|
|Estriol||50-27-1||It is a weak estrogenic hormone used in veterinary pharmaceuticals.|
|Estrone||53-16-7||It is a precursor of estradiol used in veterinary and human pharmaceuticals.|
|Ethinyl estradiol (17-alpha ethynyl estradiol)||57-63-6||It is an estrogenic hormone and is used in veterinary and human oral contraceptives.|
|Ethoprop||13194-48-4||It is an insecticide.|
|Ethylene glycol||107-21-1||It is used as antifreeze, in textile manufacturing and is a canceled pesticide.|
|Ethylene oxide||75-21-8||It is a fungicidal and insecticidal fumigant.|
|Ethylene thiourea||96-45-7||It is used in the production of other substances, such as for vulcanizing polychloroprene (neoprene) and polyacrylate rubbers and is a metabolite of some fungicides.|
|Formaldehyde||50-00-0||It is an ozoneation disinfection byproduct, can occur naturally and has been used as a fungicide.|
|Germanium||7440-56-4||It is a naturally-occurring element and is commonly found as germanium dioxide in phosphors, transistors and diodes, and in electroplating. In some cases it has been sold as a dietary supplement.|
|HCFC-22||75-45-6||It is used as a refrigerant, as a low-temperature solvent, and in fluorocarbon resins, especially in tetrafluoroethylene polymers.|
|Halon 1011 (bromochloromethane)||74-97-5||It is used as a fire-extinguishing fluid and to suppress explosions, as well as a solvent in the manufacturing of some pesticides. May also occur as a disinfection by-product in drinking water.|
|Hexane||110-54-3||It is a component of gasoline and used as a solvent.|
|Hydrazine||302-01-2||It is used as an ingredient in the production of other substances, such as rocket propellants. It is also used in the production of plastics.|
|Manganese||7439-96-5||It is a naturally-occurring element used in a variety of applications including use in steel production to improve hardness, stiffness and strength. It is an essential nutrient found in vitamin/mineral supplement and in fortified foods.|
|Mestranol||72-33-3||It is a precursor to ethinylestradiol used in veterinary and human pharmaceuticals.|
|Methamidophos||10265-92-6||It is an insecticide.|
|Methanol||67-56-1||It is used as an industrial solvent, a gasoline additive and as an anti-freeze ingredient.|
|Methyl bromide (bromomethane)||74-83-9||It has been used as a fumigant and fungicide.|
|Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE)||1634-04-4||It is used as an octane booster in gasoline, in the manufacturing of isobutene and as an extraction solvent.|
|Metolachlor||51218-45-2||It is an herbicide for weed control on agricultural crops.|
|Metolachlor ethanesulfonic acid (ESA)||171118-09-5||Metolachlor ESA is an environmental degradate of metolachlor.|
|Metolachlor oxanilic acid (OA)||152019-73-3||Metolachlor OA is an environmental degradate of metolachlor.|
|Molybdenum||7439-98-7||It is a naturally-occurring element and is commonly found as molybdenum trioxide. It is used as a steel alloy. It is an essential dietary nutrient found in foods and nutritional supplements.|
|Nitrobenzene||98-95-3||It is used in the production of aniline, and also as a solvent in the manufacturing of paints, shoe polishes, floor polishes, metal polishes, explosives, dyes, pesticides and drugs (such as acetaminophen).,|
|Nitroglycerin||55-63-0||It is used in the production of explosives, and in rocket propellants. It is also a pharmaceutical for the treatment of angina.|
|N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone||872-50-4||It is a solvent in the chemical industry, and is used in the formulation of pharmaceuticals for oral and dermal delivery.|
|N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA)||55-18-5||It is a nitrosamine used as an additive in gasoline and in lubricants, as an antioxidant and as a stabilizer in plastics. It is formed in cured foods and during high temperature cooking of meats and fish, and may be a disinfection byproduct.|
|N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA)||62-75-9||It was formerly used in the production of rocket fuels, anti-oxidants and softeners for copolymers. It is formed in cured foods and during high temperature cooking. It may be a leachate from rubber gaskets and fittings and may form as a disinfection byproduct.|
|N-nitroso-di-n-propylamine (NDPA)||621-64-7||It is formed in cured foods and during high temperature cooking of meats and fish and may be a disinfection byproduct. It is a contaminant in dinitrofluralin herbicides.|
|N-Nitrosodiphenylamine||86-30-6||It is used in the vulcanization of rubber and as an inhibitor of polymerization in the production of polystyrene. It may be a disinfection byproduct.|
|N-nitrosopyrrolidine (NPYR)||930-55-2||It is used in rubber production. It is formed in cured foods and during high temperature cooking of meats and fish and may be a disinfection byproduct.|
|Nonylphenol2||25154-52-3||The main use of nonylphenol is in the manufacture of nonylphenol ethoxylates, which have been used in a wide range of industrial applications and consumer products including laundry detergents, cleaners, degreasers, paints and coatings and other uses. Several other CASRNs are associated with nonyphenol due to varying chemical structures including: 104-40-5, 84852-15-3, 91672-41-2, and 139-84-4.|
|Norethindrone (19-Norethisterone)||68-22-4||Norethindrone is a synthetic hormone used in oral contraceptives and for hormone replacement therapy.|
|n-Propylbenzene||103-65-1||It is a constituent of asphalt and naptha and used in the manufacture of methyl styrene. It is a solvent for printing and dying of textiles.|
|o-Toluidine||95-53-4||It is used in the production of dyes, rubber, pharmaceuticals and pesticides.|
|Oxirane, methyl||75-56-9||It is an industrial chemical used in the production of other substances. It is a registered pesticide.|
|Oxydemeton-methyl||301-12-2||It is an insecticide.|
|Oxyfluorfen||42874-03-3||It is an herbicide.|
|Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)||1763-23-1||PFOS has been used to make carpets, leathers, textiles, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging, and other materials that are resistant to water, grease, or stains. It is also used in firefighting foams at airfields. Many of these uses have been phased out by its primary U.S. manufacturer; however, there are still some ongoing uses.|
|Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)||335-67-1||PFOA has been used to make carpets, leathers, textiles, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging, and other materials that are resistant to water, grease, or stains. It is also used in firefighting foams at airfields. Many of these uses are being phased out by U.S. manufacturers; however, there are still some ongoing uses.|
|Permethrin||52645-53-1||It is an insecticide.|
|Profenofos||41198-08-7||It is an insecticide and an acaricide.|
|Quinoline||91-22-5||It is a component of coal tars and used in the production of other substances, and as a pharmaceutical (anti-malarial).|
|RDX (Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine)||121-82-4||It is an explosive.|
|sec-Butylbenzene||135-98-8||It is used as a solvent for coatings in organic synthesis, as a plasticizer and in surfactants.|
|Tebuconazole||107534-96-3||It is a fungicide.|
|Tebufenozide||112410-23-8||It is an insecticide.|
|Tellurium||13494-80-9||It is a naturally-occurring element and is commonly used as sodium tellurite in bacteriology and medicine.|
|Thiodicarb||59669-26-0||It is an insecticide.|
|Thiophanate-methyl||23564-05-8||It is a fungicide.|
|Toluene diisocyanate||26471-62-5||It is used in the manufacturing of plastics.|
|Tribufos||78-48-8||It is an insecticide and used as a cotton defoliant.|
|Triethylamine||121-44-8||It is used in the production of other substances, as a stabilizer in herbicides and pesticides, in consumer products, in photographic chemicals and in carpet cleaners.|
|Triphenyltin hydroxide (TPTH)||76-87-9||It is a pesticide.|
|Urethane||51-79-6||It is a paint and coating ingredient (polyurethanes).|
|Vanadium||7440-62-2||It is a naturally-occurring element. Vanadium pentoxide is a catalyst for the production of other substances catalyst. It is sometimes an ingredient in mineral supplements but is not classified as an essential nutrient|
|Vinclozolin||50471-44-8||It is a fungicide.|
|Ziram||137-30-4||It is a fungicide.|
1Chemical Abstract Service Registration Number (CASRN#) – Chemical abstract service registry numbers are used in reference works, databases, and regulatory compliance documents by many organizations around the world to identify substances with a standardized name.
2 Due to varying chemical structures, there are several other CASRNs associated with nonylphenol in addition to 25154-52-3, including: 104-40-5, 84852-15-3, 91672-41-2, and 139-84-4. The CASRN provided by the nominator was selected for CCL 4, and the additional possible CASRNs are delineated here.
Microbial Contaminants – CCL 4
Final CCL 4 Microbial Contaminants
|Microbial Contaminant Name||Type||Diseases and Infections|
|Adenovirus||Virus||Respiratory illness and occasionally gastrointestinal illness.|
|Caliciviruses||Virus (includes Norovirus)||Mild self-limiting gastrointestinal illness.|
|Campylobacter jejuni||Bacteria||Mild self-limiting gastrointestinal illness.|
|Enterovirus||Viruses including polioviruses, coxsackieviruses and echoviruses||Mild respiratory illness.|
|Escherichia coli(0157)||Bacteria||Gastrointestinal illness and kidney failure.|
|Helicobacter pylori||Bacteria||Found in the environment capable of colonizing human gut that can cause ulcers and cancer.|
|Hepatitis A virus||Virus||Liver disease and jaundice.|
|Legionella pneumophila||Bacteria||Found in the environment including hot water systems causing lung diseases when inhaled.|
|Mycobacterium avium||Bacteria||Lung infection in those with underlying lung disease, and disseminated infection in the severely immuno compromised.|
|Naegleria fowleri||Protozoan||Parasite found in shallow, warm surface and ground water causing primary amebic meningoencephalitis.|
|Salmonella enterica||Bacteria||Mild self-limiting gastrointestinal illness.|
|Shigella sonnei||Bacteria||Mild self-limiting gastrointestinal illness and bloody diarrhea.|
To reiterate, the two lists above are the Common Contaminant List 4 by the EPA. These are contaminants that are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems, but are currently not regulated at all.
Municipal Water Testing
Municipalities do not test their water with live results, they take samples and test those samples. So that means even with the contaminants that they do test for, the sample they acquired might be okay, but other contaminated water just went by without them having any way to know, and that water ends up in your home.
What is the Solution?
Municipalities do a great job at what is required of them. They provide water that meets the standards and requirements placed on them by the EPA. To provide high-quality water all the way into your home is implausible, with today’s technology and how the municipalities are set up, it can’t happen.
The only solution to having high-quality water throughout your home is individual water purification and filtration, for whole-house water and for drinking water. Or to get a whole new water source, like rainwater harvesting.
You can take control of your water. If you want to learn more about water purification and filtration or the contaminants in municipal water, contact our team.
Want to learn even more about whole-home water purification in Knoxville and Nashville? Check out our Knoxville and Nashville Residents Guide to Water Purification.