Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) is the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.
For more information, view EPAs website
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A PHG is the level of a chemical contaminant in drinking water that does not pose a significant risk to health. PHGs are not regulatory standards. However, state law requires the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to set drinking water standards for chemical contaminants as close to the corresponding PHG as is economically and technologically feasible. In some cases, it may not be feasible for SWRCB to set drinking water standard for a contaminant at the same level as the PHG. The technology to treat the chemicals may not be available, or the cost of treatment may be very high. SWRCB must consider these factors when developing a drinking water standard.
For more information, view OEHHA's website
Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) is the level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.
For more information, view EPA's website