Distinguish between water quality criteria & maximum contaminant levels

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jerichorayel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

United states Environment Protection Agency (US EPA) has set a standard on different parameters that can affect the environment and human health. Some of which are related to air, water and soil pollution, contamination level, endangered species and hazardous level.

Water quality criteria are a standard of measurement that assures the safety of the water being consumed by humans, plants and animals. The clean water act of United States directs the US EPA a measurement for water quality for human health and aquatic life. This is mainly focused on the specific pollutants that can cause the changes in the growth, function and metabolism of the organisms which are dependent on water sources. 

Maximum contaminant level is also a standard set by the US EPA for drinking water quality. This determines the maximum allowable content of substance in the drinking water. Maximum contaminant level measures microorganisms, disinfectants, by products of reactions, inorganic chemicals, organic chemicals and radionuclides.

Water quality criteria focuses on the effects of a particular pollutant to the living things dependent on the water systems. The water contamination levels give a quantitative measurement of allowable contaminant/pollutant in the drinking water.