Most facilities interpret the “potable, uncontaminated” water requirement for ordinary animals as water that meets, at a minimum, the EPA drinking water standards for human consumption. What are the EPA standards?
The EPA is responsible for the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations, which are health-related standards that establish the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). MCLs are the maximum permissible level of a contaminant in water delivered to users of a public water system. MCLs are en-forceable under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The EPA has also set unenforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) at levels where no known or anticipated adverse effects on health occur and that allow an adequate margin of safety. The enforceable MCL is set as close to the MCLG as reasonable, taking into consideration the costs and treatment techniques available to public water systems.
Health advisories provide information on contaminants that can cause human health effects and are known or anticipated to be in drinking water. Health advisories are guidance values based on non-cancer health effects for different durations of exposure (e.g., one-day, ten-day, longer-term, and lifetime).
National Secondary Drinking Water Standards
National Secondary Drinking Water Standards are unenforceable federal guidelines regarding taste, odor, color, and certain other aesthetic characteristics of water. The EPA recommends them to states as reasonable goals, but federal law does not require water systems to comply with them.
The EPA drinking water standards are listed in Table 1. For the most recent regulations, you can order a free copy of Drinking Water Regulations and Health Advisories from the safe drinking water hotline.
Safe Drinking Water Hotline
Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM EST
USP (United States Pharmacopeia) Specifications
It is useful to learn about pharmaceutical water standards to see what can be applied to animal drinking water. This is especially true for bacterial contaminants. It is impossible to achieve absolutely sterile wa-ter in any piped water system, but automated watering systems can (with appropriate design and operation) achieve the quality of USP Purified Water and can approach USP Water for Injection.
What is the USP?
The United States Pharmacopeia Convention is a private, not-for-profit organization that sets standards for drugs, devices and diagnostics. It publishes two compendia (summary documents). The US Pharmacopeia (USP) contains standards for drug products. The National Formulary (NF) sets standards for drug excipients (inert substances used as carriers or dilutants).
The standards listed in the “monograph” section of the USP are legally enforceable by the FDA. The “General Information” section is not enforceable by the FDA.