Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs), also known as water quality reports or drinking water quality reports, provide you with important information about the quality of your drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires every community water supplier to provide a CCR to its customers.
Understanding Your Consumer Confidence Report
Information in your report is often tailored to local water systems, so not all CCRs look alike. Some of the water quality information included in your report can help you understand how your drinking water can affect your health. For example, your water source may contain harmful germs, chemicals, and minerals. Some of these contaminants occur naturally (for example, arsenic), while others come from environmental contamination like sewage discharge, industrial waste, or runoff from plant or animal farming. Not all contaminants are bad. Some things listed as “contaminants” in your CCR can improve water quality, such as the appropriate amount of a disinfectant that keeps your water safe from harmful germs. For example, if your water utility adds chlorine or chloramine to the water, these disinfectants will be listed as contaminants even though they protect your health and kill harmful waterborne germs.
Contaminants marked as “violated” are present at levels higher than EPA allows. Knowing what levels of contaminants are in your water source—and whether those contaminants are harmful—can help you determine whether you should take additional actions to protect yourself and your family from potential water-related illnesses. EPA determines what levels of contaminants are safe to have in drinking water. Your CCR will show whether your water source has a higher level of contaminants than recommended.
CCRs must explain violations, how they may affect your health, and how the problem will be fixed. Review of your last several CCRs may help you understand if the violation is an ongoing issue (keeping in mind even single violations may be concerning).
Ask your local water utility, your local health department, and your healthcare provider for more information about how the quality of your drinking water may affect your health.
EPA requires a CCR section on Cryptosporidium. This section does not necessarily mean that your drinking water has the Cryptosporidium parasite. All CCRs are required to provide an educational statement about avoiding this parasite for people who are in groups with a higher risk of illness from it. This parasite can cause severe diarrheal illness and can be dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, even at low levels. It is also hard to kill, even with chlorine disinfection of water.