Frequent Questions

4. What are EPA's drinking water regulations for trans-1,2-dichloroethylene?

In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law requires EPA to determine safe levels of contaminants in drinking water which do or may cause health problems. These non-enforceable health goals, based solely on possible health risks and exposure over a lifetime, are called maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG). Contaminants are any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substances or matter in water.

The MCLG for trans-1,2-dichloroethylene is 0.1 mg/L or 100 ppb. EPA has set this level of protection based on the best available science to prevent potential health problems. EPA has set an enforceable regulation for trans-1,2-dichloroethylene, called a maximum contaminant level (MCL), at 0.1 mg/L or 100 ppb. MCLs are set as close to the health goals as possible, considering cost, benefits and the ability of public water systems to detect and remove contaminants using suitable treatment technologies. In this case, the MCL equals the MCLG, because analytical methods or treatment technology do not pose any limitation.

The Phase II Rule, the regulation for trans-1,2-dichloroethylene, became effective in 1992. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to periodically review the national primary drinking water regulation for each contaminant and revise the regulation, if appropriate. EPA reviewed trans-1,2-dichloroethylene as part of the Six Year Review and determined that the 0.1 mg/L or 100 ppb MCLG and 0.1 mg/L or 100 ppb MCL for trans-1,2-dichloroethylene are still protective of human health.

States may set more stringent drinking water MCLGs and MCLs for trans-1,2-dichloroethylene than EPA.

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