With the summer months and rising temperatures drawing near, people will be making their way to the water tap and taking back more water to cool down. It is important to be educated and know what it is in your drinking water. In 2002, at least 5 percent of the U.S. population was affected by drinking water that didn’t meat base health standards. To inform communities about their water supply, utilities distribute an annual water report that details the source of the water and if any contaminants were found in it.
In 1996, the U.S. Congress amended sections of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1976, making it a requirement for utility companies to notify public of any detected containments or water-quality violations in their drinking water. The centerpiece of those amendments was the annual Water Quality Report.
Detailing a water report
A Water Quality Report, or also called a Consumer Confidence Report, informs the community as to what contaminants, if any, are in their drinking water. The report lists all detected toxicants in the water over the previous year. Water reports are available for every customer of a community water system who provides year-round service to more than 15 households or 25 people. The reports are to be distributed by July 1 annually.
What the report must contain
An annual water report must contain several key pieces of information to ensure the public is informed as to what’s in their drinking water. 1. Source of the water 2. A summary of the state, source water assessment of the waters susceptibility to contamination. 3. EPA regulations and health goals for water contaminants. 4. A list of all contaminant’s and their levels. 5. Potential health effects of detected toxins at levels that violate the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) health standards. 6. Statement for people with weakened immune systems. 7. Contact information for water systems and EPA, Safe Drinking Water hotline.
Why is it important?
A water system should notify the public when a toxin is detected in its drinking water, and also include all detected toxins in its annual report. It is important to not drink water that is contaminated or violates EPA health standards. A second key aspect to the report is that it lists all detected contaminants. The EPA sets the maximum level on contaminants – the MCL – it will allow in drinking water. This level is based on the filtering and treatment capabilities of technology. The reports details the potentially harmful substances found in the water below their legal limit. For those who do not receive water bills on a regular basis – renters, workers – there should be different outreach programs to notify the health standards of the water supply. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/safewater/ccr/index.html.
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