In accordance with the new “Right-to-Know” requirements of the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, all 170,000 Public Water Supplies serving 284 million people in the United States must furnish their customers an annual report of their activities and the quality of the drinking water they provide.
They are due on or before July 1 every year. Most will mail the reports, but the smallest systems with fewer than 10,000 users are permitted to use newspapers and other means, and the largest systems are required to post them on the Internet. Wherever you see a CCR, this Bulletin is to help you to get the most out of it.
Water suppliers can use nearly any format and include as much information as they wish, and the States have the authority to add other requirements or impose even tougher standards, but all CCRs must at least include the following basic information about:
1. The ultimate source of the raw water they treat and supply to you—the name of the lake or river or underground aquifer.
2. A brief summary of the types of contaminants that could possibly be present—that they would have to remove or reduce before selling it to you.
3. How to get a copy of their source water assessment.
4. The level or range of contamination that is found in the finished tap water supplied to you, compared with the health-based standards imposed by the u.s. environmental protection agency (usually a maximum contaminant level [mcl] and an mcl goal).
5. Where the contamination comes from, and the potential health effects of any contaminant that exceeds the national standard.
6. A discussion of what they are doing, or need to do, or are planning to do, to correct any water quality shortcomings that could affect your health.
7. A discussion of their compliance with other EPA or state rules regarding drinking water (such as monitoring for contaminants that are not yet regulated).
8. Information about cryptosporidium, a common parasite that is difficult to kill or remove, and what especially vulnerable people (infants, the aged, aids patients, cancer patients taking chemotherapy, transplant patients taking immuno supressants, etc.) Need to know about it.
9. Information about nitrate-nitrite, arsenic, radon, and lead in areas or systems in which these contaminants are common problems.
10. Telephone numbers of additional sources of information about drinking water quality.11. The reports must be made available in the major languages prevalent in the region.
These CCRs are not supposed to be your water utility’s only method of communicating with you. Whenever a contaminant is found in the finished tap water at a level that could affect your health, they should notify those affected right away, or at least document their test results in the next water bill, not waiting for the annual report. For emergency measures such as “Boil Water Orders” they would use the mass media.
More information can be obtained from the Water Quality Association (www.wqa.org) and through the EPA (www.epa.gov and search for “ccr”).
This article is courtesy of Pentair Everpure, Inc.