Aside from the problem in the atmosphere and the increasing temperatures caused by global warming, a potable and clean water source is becoming a problem due to the continuous effects of water pollution. According to Cordy (2001), several tests are done in bodies of water to consider if they are fit for human consumption or if they are contaminated with harmful substances. Water quality standards are determined in three factors: biological, chemical, and physical. These three factors cover characteristics that would determine if it is safe to drink the tested water. In biological attributes, scientists determine the number and organism count found in samples or bodies of waters. The poorer quality of water sample, there is a substantial chance that the number and types of organisms in the sample are fewer. On the other hand, chemical attributes cover the aesthetic nature of water bodies such as looks, taste, and even its scent as it can easily note if a water sample is contaminated. Finally, physical attributes mostly concerns the location in which a sample is taken, whether or not the waterway shows significant signs of life such as moving water, riffles and even waves. .
Two terms often appear when it comes to water quality standards: water quality criteria pollutants and maximum contaminant levels. According to Anderson and Rapier (2007), water quality criteria pollutants are pollutants that can cause contamination to any given water source. This can either be from organic chemicals to minerals, and it can also affect qualities of the water sample in terms of taste and scent. Meanwhile, maximum contaminant levels are normal legal standards that would identify the limit of substances that must be seen in a given water sources. In the US, the MCL is applied by determining if the contaminants in the water source have no health effects. Afterwards, the MCL would set the cost of treatment of the body of water and patient .
Anderson, J., & Rapier, A. (2007). Federal MCL Regulatory Standards and Common Law Causes of Action: A Discussion on Why the MCL has No Place in Common Law Causes of Action. Retrieved September 13, 2012, from Vermont Journal of Environmental Law: http://www.vjel.org/journal/VJEL10061.html
Cordy, G. (2001). A Primer in Water Quality. Washington D.C: United States Geological Survey.