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National Drinking Water Database

National Drinking Water Database - Chemical Contaminants

Foaming agents (surfactants)

Status: For this chemical EPA has established a non-enforceable guideline called a "secondary standard," regulating it for aesthetic or cosmetic concerns (taste, odor, tooth discoloration, etc.)

Foaming agents (surfactants) are detergents or detergent-like substances used as cleaning agents in industrial and consumer goods such as personal care products; they are also used as inert ingredients in pesticides.

Found above
health guidelines
Found above
legal limit
Water utilities
People Served

Foaming agents (surfactants) Exposure by State

Water utilities in 8 states have reported detecting Foaming agents (surfactants) in treated tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies.

StateWater Suppliers with Foaming agents (surfactants) contaminationWater suppliers reporting Foaming agents (surfactants) above health-based limits
New Jersey24832,66200
New Mexico9214,71700

The Most Polluted Communities

142 water utilities reported detecting Foaming agents (surfactants) in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies

Ranked by highest average Foaming agents (surfactants) level

RankSystem Population Served Positive test results of total reported tests Average Level
1Arlinghaus Property
Burlington, KY
361 of 2905 ppb
(0 to 1810 ppb)
2St. George City
Saint George, UT
70,0001 of 1730 ppb
(730 ppb)
3Senator G.W. Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospit
Glen Gardner, NJ
5501 of 1360 ppb
(360 ppb)
4Brigham City
Elwood, UT
18,5001 of 1328.75 ppb
(328.75 ppb)
5Winchester Municipal Utilities
Winchester, KY
34,1191 of 3290 ppb
(0 to 870 ppb)
6South River W Dept
South River, NJ
14,0001 of 1220 ppb
(220 ppb)
7Rockville Pipeline Co
Rockville, UT
1951 of 1190 ppb
(190 ppb)
8Centerville City
Centerville, UT
16,0001 of 1180 ppb
(180 ppb)
9Kanarraville Water System
Kanarraville, UT
3501 of 1170 ppb
(170 ppb)
10Kennecott - Zone A Ro
Bingham Canyon, UT
03 of 3163.33 ppb
(80 to 250 ppb)

Health Based Limits for Foaming agents (surfactants)

National Secondary Drinking Water RegulationsA National Secondary Drinking Water Regulation is a non-enforceable guideline regarding contaminants that may cause cosmetic effects (such as taste, odor, or color). Some states choose to adopt them as enforceable standards. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 500 ppb

Testing Summary for Foaming agents (surfactants)

Are tests routinely required for Foaming agents (surfactants) by federal law?Yes
Water suppliers reporting tests for Foaming agents (surfactants) (2004-2009):1,205 of 47,576
Average testing rate for water supplier reporting tests (2004-2009):0.3 per year

Violation Summary for Foaming agents (surfactants)

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards for Foaming agents (surfactants) since 2004

Maximum Contaminant Level Exceedance Violations0
Monitoring Violations6
Reporting Violations0