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Drinking Water Contaminants- Cyanide


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Inorganic ContaminantsArsenicAntimonyAsbestosBariumBeryllium232CadmiumChromiumCopper CyanideFluorideLeadlead removalMercuryNitrate/NitriteSeleniumThallium

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How will Cyanide be detected in and removed from my drinking water?

The regulation for cyanide became effective in 1992. Between 1993 and 1995, EPA required your water supplier to collect water samples once and analyze them to find out if cyanide is present above 0.2 ppm. If it is present above this level, the system must continue to monitor this contaminant every 3 months.

If contaminant levels are found to be consistently above the MCL, your water supplier must take steps to reduce the amount of cyanide so that it is consistently below that level. The following treatment methods have been approved by EPA for removing cyanide: Ion Exchange, Reverse Osmosis, Chlorine

How will I know if Cyanide is in my drinking water?

If the levels of cyanide exceed the MCL, the system must notify the public via newspapers, radio, TV and other means. Additional actions, such as providing alternative drinking water supplies, may be required to prevent serious risks to public health

This is a factsheet about a chemical that may be found in some public or private drinking water supplies. It may cause health problems if found in amounts greater than the health standard set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Drinking Water Standards:

MCLG: 0.2 ppm

MCL: 0.2 ppm

Cyanide Releases to Water and Land, 1987 to 1993 (in pounds):


Top Ten States

Major Industries
Blast furnaces + steel747,97053,404
Metal heat treating0430,886
Ind organic chems49,09882,912
Plating + polishing29,48629,636

As part of the Drinking Water and Health pages, this fact sheet is part of a larger U.S. EPA publication:
EPA National Primary Drinking Water Regulations

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