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Image: Glass containers filled with contaminants.


Certain contaminants have been found to exist in water distribution systems in trace amounts or amounts below set Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). MCL is the maximum concentration of a chemical allowed in public drinking water systems. These include:

  • lead,
  • arsenic,
  • antimony, and
  • radium.

Normally, trace amounts of known contaminants do not pose a health risk. However, the accumulation and rerelease of these contaminants in concentrated amounts could result in higher levels at our taps. Many communities may face potential health concerns.


Research shows corrosion deposits and scale (hard mineral coatings) on distribution system piping and storage facilities serve as a place where trace contaminants accumulate. Concentrated amounts of these contaminants can be rereleased into the water supply.

Regulated contaminants, such as arsenic, nitrite, barium, and others are regulated only at the point where the water leaves the treatment plant. The potential health impact for rereleased pollutants is not known.

Results and Impacts


Technical Contacts

Darren Lytle

Michael Schock

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