EPA Designation Regulated
EPA Classification Inorganic Chemicals
EPA Levels 1,2 0.004 MCLG (mg/L)
0.004 MCLG (mg/L)
Alternative Names none
Sources Discharge from metal refineries and coal-burning factories; discharge from electrical, aerospace, and defense industries
Beryllium is a metal associated with metal refineries and combustion of fossil fuels, especially coal burning; it is released into the environment from electrical, aerospace and defense industries.


Beryllium is an inorganic metallic element in the periodic table. Because it is an element, it does not degrade nor can it be destroyed. Compounds of beryllium are either white or colorless and do not have a particular smell.


The greatest use of beryllium is in making metal alloys for nuclear reactors and the aerospace industry. Other uses are as an alloy and oxide in electrical equipment and microwave ovens.

Health Effects

Some people who drink water containing beryllium well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for many years could develop intestinal lesions.

EPA Data Source: Beryllium

EPA Definitions:

1Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) - The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) - The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG) - The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

(TT) Treatment Technique - A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL) - The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

2 Units are in milligrams per liter (mg/L) unless otherwise noted. Milligrams per liter are equivalent to parts per million.