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In 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was enacted, providing a cohesive federal set of standards for water quality delivered to consumers. As a result, utilities were required to meet Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) of certain constituents prior to water entering the distribution point. Today, the SDWA regulates 87 primary contaminants and the EPA publishes and maintains a Contaminant Candidate List and is required to make regulatory determinations (ie a decision to regulate or not) for at least five potential contaminants every five years.

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