Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)

Definition - What does Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) mean?

Maximum contaminant level (MCL) is the highest concentration of chemicals permitted in drinking water systems. In the United States, it is established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). At present, there are about 100 chemicals where MCL has been recognized.

According to the EPA, MCL can be established when the levels of chemicals are set close to health goals and they are based upon various factors such as feasibility, affordability, treatment technology as well as the cost for removal of toxic substances.

Corrosionpedia explains Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SWDA) was ratified in order to maintain the quality and safety of drinking water in the US. The act requires the EPA to set standard levels for water contaminants that may have unfavorable effects on people's health.

Regulations commonly include quality standards that identify the legally permitted concentrations of harmful chemicals known as maximum contaminant levels. These levels are established in order to be as near to levels that are known to be without anticipated severe effects on health as is economically and technically viable.

In order to set the MCL for a particular contaminant, the EPA identifies the level of contaminant that can be present without causing adverse effects on health. This is known as the maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG). Then, the legally implemented MCL is set close to the MCLG.

Establishing MCLs is very helpful in controlling corrosion and contamination in water. Contaminants in water can cause unpleasant odors, tastes, discoloration and cosmetic problems. With MCLs, the contaminants in drinking water can be regulated effectively.

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