The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has the responsibility to ensure that the best standards are set for the quality of drinking water throughout the nation. Its acts and directives are based on the federal law called the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The 1974 SDWA applies to all systems in the USA that distributes water to the public. EPA ensures that the SDWA is complied with by all entities supplying water.
Water Data Information Compliance
All utility services that supply water are under the scrutiny of the EPA, and all are bound — by a law enacted in 1998 — to publish a report called a CCR, or Consumer Confidence Report, every year. The report should contain the below information:
- The source of the water that reached your home
- The contents of the water
- Whether any contaminants listed in a contaminant schedule were found
Water suppliers can include details about the procedures used in treating the water before it reached consumers as well as other pertinent information.
When Will You Receive A CCR?
The 1998 act specifically states that the CCR should be sent by mail to all customers. The report should reach them before the 1st of July each year. If a water supplier has over 100,000 users, the CCR must also be made available online as well.
In case, a consumer of the supplier failed to receive a copy by post, it can be remedied by the following measures:
- Call up the service provider and inform about the non-receipt.
- It can be viewed online by clicking on the map for your relevant location on the EPA website.
Common Reasons for Not Receiving the CCR
You may not be directly paying your water bill due to the following reasons:
- You live in an apartment
- You live in a condo
- You live in a rental property
- You get your water from a private source within your premises
In the case of community living, the CCR will be with the property management body and you can get it from the manager. Those who are living in rented properties can access the report from the building owners.
In any event, the CCR can be viewed from the EPA website using the link provided above.
Understanding Your CCR
You can check and understand the data table in the report to get a good idea about the water that you are using. The table contains eight important figures that determine the quality of the water supplied by the service. The items considered are:
- MCLG: Maximum Contaminant Level Goal
- MRDLG: Maximum Residual Disinfection Level Goal
- MCL: Maximum Contaminant Level
- TT: Treatment Technique
- MRDL: Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level
- Range detected: Each contaminant has a set value for high and law as prescribed by the EPA. The levels are mentioned against this entry
- Violation: This figure will let you know if the water had any pollutant contrary to the limits permitted by federal laws
Best Practices Suggested by EPA
The EPA is very clear on the purpose of the CCR: consumers should be well informed about their drinking water. The EPA further suggests the below points for consideration by the suppliers in preparing the annual report:
- Write in simple language so that customers understand the contents.
- Avoid using acronyms and technical terms as much as possible
These are only options provided by the agency and there is no compulsion on the part of the suppliers to comply with them.
EPA places considerable importance on environmental conservation. The agency encourages suppliers to include content that makes consumers aware of the best environmental practices. The content can include the steps taken to promote green infrastructure that can promote water quality as well.
Suppliers can include photos of people indulging in activities that conserve water and nature.