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Water Quality Standards for Bottled Water in Massachusetts

Water quality standards and licensing requirements to sell or distribute bottled water or carbonated non-alcoholic beverages in Massachusetts

The following information is provided to assist municipalities, regulators, bottling plants and other interested parties in meeting the Massachusetts licensing requirements for compliance with MDPH regulations 105 CMR 500.000 (Good Manufacturing Processes for Food) and any applicable sections of federal regulations 21 CFR Part 129 (Processing and Bottling of Bottled Drinking Water) and 21 CFR 165 (Beverages). Additional information is available on our Apply for a permit to sell or distribute bottled water or carbonated nonalcoholic beverages in Massachusetts webpage or by contacting the Food Protection Program at (617) 983-6712 or fpp.dph@state.ma.us.

Sections 105 CMR 500.090 through 500.094 list specific licensing requirements that must be met for the manufacture, collection, bottling, and labeling of bottled water and carbonated non-alcoholic beverages sold in Massachusetts. The requirements listed in 105 CMR 500.000 apply to firms whether they are based in Massachusetts or in other states or countries. The information below is intended to promote the uniform application of 105 CMR 500.000, which can be accessed here: 105 CMR 500.000, "Good Manufacturing Practices for Food".

Table of Contents

Applications

  1. Firms that sell bottled water or carbonated non-alcoholic beverages in Massachusetts are required to submit an annual application for review by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) under MGL Ch. 94, s.10A.
    • If a bottling plant is located within Massachusetts, the application is reviewed by MDPH, and recommendations for licensing are made to the local Board of Health of the town where the plant is located.
    • If a bottling plant is located outside of Massachusetts, then the plant is licensed by MDPH in accordance with applicable sections of MDPH regulations 105 CMR 500.000, "Good Manufacturing Practices for Food".
  2. Applications are reviewed for compliance with drinking water standards established by:
    • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) regulations 310 CMR 22.00 (Drinking Water)
    • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations 40 CFR Parts 141 (National Primary Drinking Water Regulations) and 143 (National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations), and
    • US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations 21 CFR Part 129 (Processing and Bottling of Bottled Drinking Water) and 21 CFR 165 (Beverages).

In cases where state and federal regulatory programs have different standards, MDPH will review applications for compliance with the stricter standard. [105 CMR 500.005(D) and 500.092]

Water Quality Standards

All untreated (raw) source water used for bottled water and carbonated non-alcoholic beverages licensed to be sold in Massachusetts must meet the federal drinking water standards established by the EPA as well as any additional requirements set for drinking water by the MassDEP. Finished bottled water must also meet the federal standards established by FDA. [105 CMR 500.092(A)-(B)]

In 2020, MassDEP amended its Massachusetts Drinking Water Regulations (310 CMR 22.00) to implement a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In accordance with section 105 CMR 500.092 MDPH regulations now require laboratory results for source and finished water to be no more than 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for six PFAS chemicals combined (sum): PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid), PFOS (Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid), PFNA (Perfluorononanoic acid), PFHxS (Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid), PFHpA (Perfluoroheptanoic acid), and PFDA (Perfluorodecanoic acid).

  1. Table 1 lists the current water quality standards (WQS) used by MDPH to review permit applications submitted by bottling plants. Table 1 also lists the minimum testing frequency required for raw water from private sources and treated water from public water supplies. [105 CMR 500.093(A)(1)]
  2. If source water comes from a public water system, and the source water is used without treatment or with only minimal treatment, then compliance with water quality standards may be satisfied by either:
    1. Submitting a copy of the public water system testing results, or
    2. Submitting copies of certificates showing full compliance with the relevant provisions of 40 CFR Parts 141. [105 CMR 500.093(A)(1)(c)]
  3. If source water from a public water system is treated, then compliance with water quality standards must be met:
    1. For bottled water only – 105 CMR 500.093(A)(1)(d)
    2. For non-alcoholic carbonated beverages – 105 CMR 500.093(A)(1)(a) and (b).
  4. For bottled water, manufacturers are required to submit test results for finished products annually. For carbonated non-alcoholic beverages, manufacturers are also required to test finished products as frequently as necessary to ensure that no product is adulterated and submit results to MDPH upon request. [105 CMR 500.093(D)]

Laboratory Testing Requirements

  1. Laboratories certified by MassDEP must be used when testing in-state water sources, raw water from in-state private sources, treated water from in-state public water supplies, and finished products bottled in Massachusetts. In-state bottling firms must use testing methods specified under MassDEP regulations. Water originating from sources in other states must be tested by laboratories that are certified by the appropriate agency within the state where the laboratory is located. Water from sources outside the U.S. must be tested by laboratories certified by the EPA. [105 CMR 500.091(A) and (C)]
  2. Section 105 CMR 500.093 of MDPH regulations requires applications for all new and renewal permits to include copies of original laboratory reports for, as applicable, source water, treated source water, bottled water, and carbonated non-alcoholic beverages. The following information is required for MDPH review of laboratory reports:
    • Client's name and address.
    • Sample identification (indicating "Source" water, "Finished" water (for bottled water), or “Treated” water (for bottled water and non-alcoholic carbonated beverages)); the name of the "Source" or “Treated”, or brand of "Finished" water, and either the date water was bottled, or best buy/expiration date.
    • Sample collection date.
    • Sampler's name.
    • Laboratory name, address and certification number. 
    • Laboratory Director's signature and date.
    • Lab Sample ID #
    • Laboratory Reference #
    • For each contaminant:
      • Result in specified units;
      • Maximum contaminant level (MCL) in specified units;
      • The method detection limit in specified units;
      • Analytical method;
      • Date analyzed;
      • Space for notation if an analysis was subcontracted to another lab. Include the name, address and certification number of the sub-contracted lab;
      • A copy of the subcontracted laboratory analysis on the letterhead or report form of the subcontracted laboratory.
  3. In addition to submitting original laboratory reports, applicants must provide the information outlined in Table 2 for each sample in the application.

Table 1 - Water Quality Standards for Source and Bottled Water

 

Parameter

WQS (mg/L)1

Sampling Frequency

 

Microbiology

E. coli

1 per 100 mL

monthly

 

Total Coliforms

1 per 100 mL

monthly

 

Radionuclides

Gross Alpha Activity

15 pCi/L

annually

 

Radium 226 and 228

5 pCi/L

annually

 

Gross Beta Particle Activity

50 pCi/L

annually

 

Uranium

0.03

annually

 

Inorganic Compounds

Aluminum

0.22

annually

 

Antimony

0.006

annually

 

Arsenic

0.01

annually

 

Asbestos (fiber length > 10 µm)

7 MFL

annually3

 

Barium

2

annually

 

Beryllium

0.004

annually

 

Cadmium

0.005

annually

 

Chloride

2502,4

annually

 

Chromium (total)

0.1

annually

 

Copper

1.02

annually

 

Cyanide (as free CN)

0.2

annually

 

Fluoride

0.8

annually

 

Iron

0.32,4

annually

 

Lead

0.005

annually

 

Manganese

0.052,4

annually

 

Mercury (inorganic)

0.002

annually

 

Nickel (salts)

0.1

annually

 

Nitrate (as N)

10

annually

 

Nitrite (as N)

1

annually5

 

Nitrate/Nitrite (Total)

10

annually

 

Perchlorate

0.002

annually

 

Selenium

0.05

annually

 

Silver

0.12

annually

 

Sodium (Required to determine if sodium labeling or nutritional labeling is required.)

20

annually

 

Sulfate

2502,4

annually

 

Thallium

0.002

annually

 

Total Dissolved Solids

5002,4

annually

 

Zinc

52,4

annually

 

Organic Compounds

Alachlor (Lasso)

0.002

annually

 

Atrazine (Atranex, Crisazina)

0.003

annually

 

Benzo(a)pyrene

0.0002

annually

 

Carbofuran (Furadan 4F)

0.04

annually

 

Chlordane

0.002

annually

 

Dalapon

0.2

annually

 

Di(2-ethylhexyl)-adipate

0.4

annually

 

Di(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate

0.006

annually

 

1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP)

0.0002

annually

 

2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)

0.07

annually

 

Dinoseb

0.007

annually

 

Diquat

0.02

annually

 

Endothall

0.1

annually

 

Endrin

0.002

annually

 

Ethylene dibromide (EDB)

0.00002

annually

 

Glyphosate

0.7

annually

 

Heptachlor

0.0004

annually

 

Heptachlor epoxide

0.0002

annually

 

Hexachlorobenzene

0.001

annually

 

Hexachlorocyclopentadiene

0.05

annually

 

Lindane

0.0002

annually

 

Methoxychlor (DMDT, Marlate)

0.04

annually

 

Oxamyl

0.2

annually

 

Pentachlorophenol

0.001

annually

 

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)6

0.000020

annually

 

Picloram

0.5

annually

 

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (Arochlor)

0.0005

annually

 

Simazine

0.004

annually

 

2,3,7,8-TCDD (Dioxin)

3 x 10-8

annually

 

Toxaphene

0.003

annually

 

2,4,5-TP (Silvex)

0.05

annually

 

Volatile Organic Compounds

Benzene

0.005

annually

 

Carbon Tetrachloride

0.005

annually

 

1,2-Dichlorobenzene (0-DCB)

0.6

annually

 

1,4-Dichlorobenzene (p-DCB)

0.005

annually

 

1,2-Dichloroethane

0.005

annually

 

1,1-Dichloroethylene

0.007

annually

 

1,2 (cis)-Dichloroethylene

0.07

annually

 

1,2 (trans)-Dichloroethylene

0.1

annually

 

Dichloromethane

0.005

annually

 

1,2-Dichloropropane

0.005

annually

 

Ethylbenzene

0.7

annually

 

Monochlorobenzene

0.1

annually

 

Phenols (Recoverable Phenolics, Total)

0.001

annually

 

Styrene

0.1

annually

 

Tetrachloroethylene

0.005

annually

 

Toluene

1

annually

 

1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene

0.07

annually

 

1,1,2-Trichloroethane

0.005

annually

 

1,1,1-Trichloroethane

0.2

annually

 

Trichloroethylene

0.005

annually

 

Vinyl Chloride

0.002

annually

 

Xylenes (total)7

10

annually

 

Disinfectant By-Products in Finished Water

Bromate

0.01

annually

 

Chlorite

1

annually

 

Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)

0.06

annually

 

Chloramines

4

annually

 

Chlorine (Total chlorine residual)

4

annually

 

Chlorine Dioxide

0.8

annually

 

Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM)8

0.08

annually

 

 

KEY

MFL = Million Fibers per Liter (for fiber length greater than 10 microns)

mg/L = milligrams per liter

pCi/L = picocuries per liter

WQS = Water Quality Standard

Table 2

*Table 2 in the application requests the following laboratory and sample information in Tables 2a and 2b.

Table 2a (Laboratory Required Information) asks applicants to provide:

  • Laboratory Report Name
  • Laboratory Certification #
  • Lab Reference #

Table 2b (Samples in Application Package) contains 6 sub-tables:

  1. Source water chemical sampling results (including PFAS) less than 12 months old
  2. Source water radiological sampling results less than 12 months old
  3. Source water microbiological contaminants results less than 4 weeks old
  4. Finished water chemical sampling results (including PFAS) less than 12 months old
  5. Finished water radiological sampling results less than 12 months old
  6. Finished water microbiological contaminants results less than 4 weeks old

Each sub-table in 2b asks applicants to provide:

  • Source name
  • Laboratory Report Name
  • Sample description on report
  • Lab Sample ID(s)
  • Sample date
  • Sampler’s Name

Additional Resources

List of Bottlers

All of the firms listed below hold valid licenses to sell or distribute bottled water or carbonated non-alcoholic beverages in Massachusetts.  The list only includes bottlers licensed after they provided test results which show that their bottled water or beverages comply with drinking water standards for PFAS and other contaminants established by:

  • The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection,
  • The US Environmental Protection Agency, and
  • The US Food and Drug Administration.

Weblinks are provided to search for products sold in Massachusetts. Licenses are renewed annually, and this list will be updated quarterly.

Download

Contact

Fax

(617) 983-6770

Address

305 South St.
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Table

1 All concentrations in mg/L, unless otherwise specified

2 Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level

3 If no asbestos is detected in first round of testing, frequency of testing may be reduced to once every nine years.

4 Not applicable to mineral water.

5 Sampling requirement will increase if nitrite is > 50% of the MCL

6 Includes perfluorooctanesulfonic acid or perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA); sum must not exceed WQS for PFAS. Also see: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/per-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas

7 Includes o-xylene (1,2-dimethylbenzene), m-xylene (1,3-dimethylbenzene), p-xylene (1,4-dimethylbenzene), m/p-xylene

8 Includes chloroform, bromoform, chlorodibromomethane, bromodichloromethane

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