Safe Drinking Water Act (Federal Law)

  • A federal law which ensures safe drinking water for Americans
  • Under this law the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets standards for water quality of drinking water and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.
  • EPA sets standards for approximately 90 contaminants in drinking water

State Safe Drinking Water Act (State Law)

  • South Carolina state law that ensures safe drinking water for the citizens of South Carolina.

State Primary Drinking Water Regulations

  • South Carolina State Regulations that implement and enforce the State Safe Drinking Water Act.

Flow Chart of Regulations National Primary Drinking Water Regulations

  • EPA requires public water systems to meet these standards.
  • For a list of contaminants and their maximum contaminant levels (MCL), visit EPA's Drinking Water Contaminants Web site.
    • Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) is the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water.

National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations (NSDWRs)

  • NSDWRs are guidelines for 15 contaminants that may cause cosmetic or aesthetic effects in drinking water (i.e. skin or tooth discoloration, taste, odor, etc.), but pose no known health risk.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends these secondary standards to public water systems, but does not require water systems to comply.
  • States may choose to adopt secondary standards as enforceable standards.
  • For more information, visit EPA's Secondary Drinking Water Regulations Web Site


  • Richard Welch, Jr. P.E., Manager, Drinking Water & Recreational Waters Compliance, (803) 898-3546
  • Wendi Smith, Program Manager, Drinking Water Compliance Monitoring Section, (803) 898-2382


Drinking Water Regulations