Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) ensures the quality of Americans' drinking water. Under SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) is authorized under the SDWA to set national health-based standards for drinking water to protect against both naturally-occurring and man-made contaminants. US EPA, states, and water systems then work together to make sure that these standards are met.

Water systems must use EPA-approved analytical methods when analyzing samples to meet federal monitoring requirements or to demonstrate compliance with drinking water regulations. Approved methods are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 40 Parts 141 - 143. Approved methods are developed by EPA, other government agencies, universities, consensus methods organizations, water laboratories, and instrument manufacturers.

Laboratories must be certified by EPA or the State to analyze drinking water samples for compliance monitoring.



EPA Approved Methods for the Analysis of Multiple Metals in Drinking Water

Method Instrumental Technique Shimadzu Model
EPA 200.5 ICP Axial ICPE-9800
EPA 200.7 ICP Radial ICPE-9800
EPA 200.8 ICPMS ICPMS-2030
EPA 200.9 GFAAS AA-7000G

EPA approved Methods for Anions in Drinking Water

Anions Method Instrumental Technique Shimadzu Model
Cyanide Standard Methods 4500 CN Manual Spectrophotometry UV-1280
Nitrate Standard Methods 4500 NO3 Manual Spectrophotometry UV-1280
Nitrite Standard Methods 4500 NO2 Manual Spectrophotometry UV-1280
Phosphate Standard Methods 4500 P Manual Spectrophotometry UV-1280
Sulfate Standard Methods 4500 SO4 Manual Spectrophotometry UV-1280

EPA Approved Methods for Organics in Drinking Water

Contaminant Group Method Instrumental Technique Shimadzu Model
Volatiles EPA 524.2 Purge & Trap GCMS
(original method - no flexibility allowed)
GCMS-QP2010SE with EST
EPA 524.3 Purge & Trap GCMS
(flexibility allowed, SIM allowed, requires sample cooling)
GCMS-QP2010SE with EST
EPA 524.4 Purge & Trap GCMS
(Nitrogen as purge gas, flexibility allowed, SIM allowed, requires sample cooling)
GCMS-QP2010SE with EST
1,4-Dioxane EPA 522 Purge & Trap GCMS
(Nitrogen as purge gas, flexibility allowed, SIM allowed, requires sample cooling)
GCMS-QP2010SE with EST
Semi volatiles EPA 525.2 Liquid-Solid Extraction Direct Injection GCMS GCMS-QP2010SE or GCMS-QP2020
EPA 525.3 SPE Direct Injection GCMS (SIM and some flexibility allowed) GCMS-QP2010SE or GCMS-QP2020
Organochlorine Pesticides and PCBs EPA 508 Liquid-Liquid Extraction Direct Injection GC with ECD GC-2030
EPA 508A Liquid-Liquid Extraction Direct Injection GC with ECD GC-2030
EPA 508.1 Liquid-Solid Extraction Direct Injection GC with ECD GC-2030
Organophosphorus and organonitrogen pesticides EPA 507 Liquid-Liquid Extraction Direct Injection GC with NPD GC-2030
Triazine pesticides EPA 536 HPLCMSMS LCMS-8050
EPA 523 Liquid-Solid Extraction GCMS GCMS-QP2010SE or Ultra
Carbamate Pesticides EPA 531.1 Direct Injection HPLC with Post Column Derivatization Carbamate Pesticide Analysis System
EPA 531.2 Direct Injection HPLC with Post Column Derivatization Carbamate Pesticide Analysis System
Chlorinated Acids (Herbicides) EPA 515.4 Liquid-Liquid Extraction, Derivatization and GC with ECD GC-2030
Haloacetic Acids and Dalapon EPA 552.3 Liquid-Liquid Extraction, Derivatization and GC with ECD GC-2030
EPA 557 Ion Chromatography ESI MSMS LCMS-8050
Glyphosate EPA 547 Direct Injection HPLC, Post Column Derivatization, and Fluorescence Detection Prominence HPLC
Hormones EPA 539 SPE HPLCMSMS LCMS-8050
PFC’s EPA 537 SPE HPLCMSMS LCMS-8050

Disinfection by Products Monitoring

Contaminant of Concern Method Shimadzu Instrument
Total Organic Carbon (TOC) Standard Methods 5310B TOC-L


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