Acrylamide is an organic solid of white, odorless, flake-like crystals. The greatest use of acrylamide is as a coagulant in drinking water treatment. Epichlorohydrin is a colorless organic liquid with a pungent, garlic-like odor. Epichlorohydrin is generally used to make glycerin and as an ingredient in plastics and other polymers, some of which are used in water supply systems. There are currently no acceptable means of detecting either acrylamide or epichlorohydrin in drinking water. Instead, EPA has set a treatment technique to control the level of both chemicals that enter into the drinking water supply by limiting their use in drinking water treatment processes. The regulations in 40 CFR Part 141, Subpart K require that each water system must certify in writing to the state, using third-party or manufacturer's certification, that when acrylamide and epichlorohydrin are used in drinking water systems, the combination (or product) of dose and monomer level does not exceed the following levels:
Acrylamide = 0.05% dosed at 1 mg/L (or equivalent)
Epichlorohydrin = 0.01% dosed at 20 mg/L (or equivalent)
What are acrylamide and epichlorohydrin, and how are they regulated as drinking water contaminants?
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