Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) include both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds that are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. Examples of man-made VOCs are chemicals that are used and produced in the manufacture of paints, adhesives, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants. Additionally, they often are compounds of fuels, solvents, hydraulic fluids, paint thinners, and dry-cleaning agents.

VOC contamination of drinking water supplies is a human-health concern because many are toxic and are known or suspected human carcinogens. The DRBC has established stream quality objectives for VOCs to protect human health.