State of New Mexico > Environment Department > Drinking Water Bureau



Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOCs) are organic (carbon based) chemicals that are less volatile than VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS. SOCs are used as pesticides, defoliants, fuel additives and as ingredients for other organic compunds.  They are all man made and do not naturally occur in the environment. Some of the more well known SOCs are Atrazine, 2,4-D, Dioxin and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs).


SOCs most often enter the natural environment through application of pesticide (including runoff from areas where they are applied), as part of a legally discharged waste stream, improper or illegal waste disposal, accidental releases or as a byproduct of incineration. Some SOCs are very persistent in the environment, whether in soil or water.


SOCs are generally toxic and can have substantial health impacts from both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) exposure.  Many are known carcinogens (cancer causing).  EPA has set Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) for 30 SOCs under the Safe Drinking Water Act.  You can view a List OF THE SOCs REGULATED UNDER THE SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT.


The Safe Drinking Water Act requires that all water sources of all public water systems be periodically monitored for regulated SOCs.  The monitoring frequency can be adjusted through a waiver if SOCs are not detected.



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