What is a Consumer Confidence Report?

drinking-water

The 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act implemented the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) rule. The CCR rule required all community water systems to issue annual drinking water quality reports to their consumers by July 1st of each year.

A CCR is required to include all of the following:

  • The lake, river, aquifer or other source of your drinking water
  • A brief summary of the pollution threats to the sources of your drinking water based on investigations called “source water assessments.” All states must have their source water assessments completed by May 2003.
  • Information on how to get a copy of the water company’s “source water assessment” or any “sanitary surveys” that have already been done
    1. Sanitary surveys are carried out to evaluate: (1) the capability of a drinking water system to consistently and reliably deliver an adequate quality and quantity of safe drinking water to the consumer, and (2) the system’s compliance with federal drinking water regulations.
  • The level or range of levels of certain contaminants found in local drinking water, as well as EPA’s enforceable standard MCL (maximum contaminant level), and health-based goal MCLG, (maximum contaminant level goal).
    1. The maximum contaminant level is the greatest level of contaminants allowed in water that is delivered to anyone using the public water system. Exceedances of MCLs are considered violations under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
    2. The maximum contaminant level goal is a non-enforceable concentration of a drinking water contaminant protects human health. These numbers, allowing for an adequate margin of safety, are considered to be target levels to assure no adverse effects on human health.
  • The likely point source and/or non-point source of pollution or the category of pollution for that contaminant in the water supply.
  • The likelihood of adverse health conditions from any contaminant detected in violation of an EPA standard and documentation of actions taken to restore safe drinking water.
  • The water system’s compliance with other drinking water-related rules.
  • A statement for vulnerable people about avoiding the parasite Cryptosporidium because it is thought to be present in so many drinking water sources.
    1. Cryptosporidium is a parasite that is recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease (drinking and recreational) in humans in the United States. Sources of contamination include human and fecal waste. Symptoms of the illness include diarrhea, loose or watery stools, stomach cramps, upset stomach, and a slight fever.
  • Information on the health effects of nitrate, arsenic, lead or trihalomethanes when these contaminants are found at levels above half of EPA’s standard.
    1. Nitrate is an inorganic chemical that may contaminate water by being leached from septic tanks, sewage and natural deposit erosion, as well as fertilizer use. Excess nitrate can cause “blue baby syndrome” in infants less than six months.
    2. Arsenic is an inorganic chemical that contaminates water through erosion of natural deposits and runoff from glass and electronics production wastes. Exposure to excessive levels of arsenic can cause skin damage, circulatory problems, and increased risk of cancer.
    3. Lead is a chemical that contaminates water through corrosion of household plumbing systems, and erosion of natural deposits. Exposure to lead among infants and children can result in delays in physical or mental development. Exposure to excessive levels of lead among adults can cause kidney problems and high blood pressure.
    4. Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) are by-products of drinking water disinfections. Exposure to TTHMs can cause liver, kidney, and central nervous system problems, an increased risk of cancer, miscarriages and birth defects.
  • Phone numbers of additional sources of information including the water system and the US Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Information on how an individual can find out about public meetings where decisions about your water are being made.
*Campaign for Safe & Affordable Drinking Water, Making Sense Out of Drinking Water “Right to Know Reports,” Fall 1999.