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What do the "Acceptable Limit" numbers mean?

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes standards for acceptable levels of contaminants in drinking water for public water systems.  In 2018, the State of Maine adopted the EPA standards as its own (previous to this Maine published its own "Maximum Exposure Guidelines" (MEGS)).

These standards represent EPA scientists' best effort to establish levels of contamination that will cause the least health risk to the most people over a given span of time, and are subject to change.  Not every pollutant has an established health exposure standard.  For more, see our webpage EPA Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Standards.

Your MEL drinking water lab report lists the EPA Drinking Water Maximum Contaminant Level next to your results for comparison purposes.

Additional Resources for Interpreting Your Results

New Hampshire "Be Well Informed" Test Results Interpreter Website: This cool online form lets you input your water test results, and returns information and suggestions for treatment for each test parameter:

Ohio Watersheds Network of Ohio State University Water Interpretation Tool - Does the same thing as the NH tool, above.

Video: Maine CDC, "Understanding Your Well Water Test Results" (3:24)

EPA DW Standards 2009  (Current 2020) - 7 pg. pdf

2018 EPA DW Standards and Health Advisories - 20 pg. pdf