Each year, community water systems are required to provide customers with a short report known as a Consumer Confidence Report, or CCR, that tells where their drinking water comes from and what pollutants were found in it the previous year.
What is a Consumer Confidence Report?
Among other information, the CCR provides details about the likely source of contaminants in the water supply. You can learn what types of pollutants you may need to be concerned about and where (generally) they are coming from.
A Consumer Confidence Report is an annual report provided to customers of a Community Water system about the quality of drinking water provided. Community water systems are public water systems that have at least 15 service connections or regularly serve at least 25 year-round residents.
These reports are also known as annual water quality reports or drinking water quality reports. CCR’s are part of the public right-to-know provisions of the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) published final regulations on August 19, 1998.
What Information Must be Provided in a Consumer Confidence Report?
While water systems are free to enhance their reports in any useful way, EPA (under the Safe Drinking Water Act) requires each report to provide consumers with the following fundamental information about their drinking water:
- The source of drinking water (lake, river, aquifer, another water system, etc.) and the common name of that source;
- a brief summary of the susceptibility to contamination of the local drinking water source, based on the source water assessments by states;
- how to get a copy of the water system’s complete source water assessment;
- the level (or range of levels) of any regulated contaminant found in local drinking water, as well as EPA’s health-based standard (maximum contaminant level) for comparison;
- the likely source of that contaminant in the local drinking water supply (whether from human activity or a natural source);
- the potential health effects of any contaminant detected in violation of an EPA health standard, and an accounting of the system’s actions to restore safe drinking water;
- the water system’s compliance with other drinking water-related rules and any violations incurred by the water system over the previous year;
- Information about how vulnerable populations can avoid Cryptosporidium;
- educational information on nitrate, arsenic, or lead in areas where these contaminants may be a concern; and
- phone numbers of additional sources of information, including the water system and EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).
In addition, when any contaminant exceeds the Maximum Contaminant Level or MCL, an Action Level (AL), or a Treatment Technique (TT), the following information is required:
- The health risks in drinking water containing that contaminant.
- What actions are being taken to remedy the situation.
The report is required to be distributed by mail or otherwise directly delivered to all customers. To view EPA Website on CCR’s, click here>>
Source Water Protection and Consumer Confidence Reports
Some water systems share updates on their source water protection efforts with customers in their CCR’s.
Here is an example of a how a Pennsylvania water system, Philadelphia Water Department, includes source water protection information in its 2014 Consumer Confidence Report: Philadelphia Water Department. Click image below to view their report>>
Here is another example from the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s 2014 CCR – see page 2 for source water protection information.