Arsenic in Drinking Water

Revised August 2017


In January 2001, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a new standard for arsenic in drinking water that would require public water supplies to reduce arsenic to 10 ppb. Compliance to the standard became mandatory January 23, 2006 The EPA used its discretionary authority under the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act to set the new standard.

According to the EPA, arsenic can enter drinking water supplies from natural deposits or from agricultural and industrial practices, and has been linked to various cancers (i.e. bladder, lung, skin) and non-cancer effects such as digestive issues (i.e. stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea) and paralysis.

The average increase in household cost depends on the size of the water system and number of people served per the EPA. For those water systems serving fewer than 10,000 people, the annual cost increase ranges between $38 - $327. For water systems that serve greater than 10,000 people, the annual cost increase ranges between $0.86 - $32.


Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) is concerned about the cost of regulations to further remove arsenic beyond the current EPA requirement. Acknowledging that arsenic is a naturally occurring substance in drinking water supplies, PMI promotes that Drinking water standards must ensure the safety of Americans in a cost-effective manner and be based on sound science.