If you're curious about the quality of your drinking water, the consumer confidence report can provide you with insight into what’s in your water. However, you might be wondering, “what is a consumer confidence report”? Also known as a CCR, this water quality report provides detailed local water quality information. In addition, the report tells you how you can participate in the process of making key decisions that affect the quality of your local drinking water.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates that every community water supplier compile this report annually and distribute the information in July. The procedure for how to get a water quality report depends on your living circumstances. If you own your home or you rent but pay your water bill directly, the CCR will come with your water bill. People who live in an apartment complex can ask the landlord or property management company for a copy. Individuals who live in long-term care facilities can usually request one from the building manager. Read on to learn more about what's included in the report and how to interpret the information it contains.
What Is Included in a Water Quality Report?
A CCR shares the following information:
-Water source: CCR tells you whether your water comes from a river, lake, aquifer or another source.
-Test results: CCR breaks down the amounts of each regulated contaminant detected in your local drinking water.
-Health information: CCR advises you of the potential health risks of drinking contaminated water and also provides tips on how you can protect yourself from these risks.
-Points of comparison: Examining the CCR lets you see how the quality of your water compares to the national standards for water quality.
-Notice of violations: If your water authority is in violation of any EPA water quality rules, the CCR will notify you.
How To Read a CCR
The CCR is a table that lists contaminants as rows and community water testing results as columns. To read one, start with the contaminant and then read from right to left, examining the number in each box. Here is what you'll find in each box:
Column 1: Contaminants
Column 1 contains the list of contaminants separated into categories.
Column 2: MCLG OR MRDLG
Column 2 contains one of two data points:
-Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG): The MCLG number tells you the maximum level of a contaminant that water can contain without any known or anticipated health effects. You'll find this information in the first column of the CCR.
-Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG): Water authorities add disinfectants to water to fight water borne germs that pose health risks. These disinfectants are generally safe up to a certain level. Because they can pose health risks at elevated levels, disinfectants are included in the CCR. When a contaminant is a disinfectant, the data found in column 1 is the MRDLG, the maximum level that water can contain without any known or anticipated health effects.
Column 3: MCL, TT or MRDL
Column 3 contains one of three data points:
-Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL): This figure tells you the maximum amount of a substance that can be present in drinking water under EPA rules. The EPA sets this limit as close to the MCLG as possible. However, it may sometimes be higher than the MCLG.
-Treatment Technique (TT): This refers to a process that is used to lower the amount of a contaminant in drinking water.
-Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL): This figure tells you the maximum amount of disinfectant that can be present in drinking water under EPA rules. The EPA establishes this limit as close to the MRDLG as possible, but it can be higher than the MRDLG.
Column 4: Your Water
This column tells you the highest levels of each contaminant actually found in the drinking water in your area. If that number is equal to or below the number in Column 2, there is unlikely to be a health risk from the contaminant. If that number is equal to or below the number in Column 3, your water authority is in compliance with EPA rules. If you see "ND" in this column, the contaminant wasn't detected in your water.
Column 5: Range (Low, High)
When testing water, providers run multiple tests from locations throughout the communities that they serve. The Range boxes tell you the lowest and highest levels of the contaminant found.
Column 6: Sample Date
This tells you when the water authority last tested for that contaminant. The EPA establishes rules regarding how frequently water suppliers must test for various substances.
Column 7: Violation
This column tells you whether your water authority is in violation of EPA rules for a particular contaminant. If it says "yes," your water authority is in violation. "No" indicates that they are not in violation.
Column 8: Typical Sources
This column tells you the most common way or ways that a particular contaminant ends up in the water supply. The data here is general information. It doesn't identify the specific source of the contaminant in your water.
Should I Test My Water?
A water quality report identifies additional insights about the local water supply. However, the report doesn't answer the question "what's in my drinking water?" Minerals and metals can also enter your water through the pipes and plumbing fixtures in your home. Testing your water will help you better understand what’s in your home’s water.
If test results show the presence of substances that are unfamiliar or potentially concerning, The Reservoir countertop water filter from Pentair Rocean will allow you to reduce levels of 76 contaminants. Its filter is made from plant-based coconut husks and can filter 390 gallons, leading to simplified maintenance. Plus, the system sits right on your countertop, so no need to worry about plumbing or extensive install in order to reap the benefits. As a result, it's a convenient solution for homes, apartments and residents of long-term care facilities.