In the 1980s, there was a television commercial for spaghetti sauce with the catch phrase, “It’s in there.” With spaghetti sauce, the right ingredients make it delicious. Generally speaking, consumers don’t want multiple ingredients in tap water so if “it’s in there,” we want to know about it.
Enter the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). The CCR, as mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), includes information on drinking water sources used, if any contaminants are detected, and if so, which ones. Regulatory compliance and educational information are also included in the report.
All 54,000 U.S. water utilities must publish their annual CCR, which is also called a water quality report or drinking water quality report, must be available to consumers by July 1.
As a consumer, this report is an opportunity to learn more about the water you and your family are drinking, bathing in and irrigating your lawn with. People who don’t pay their own water bills, such as those who live in apartments, should either contact their building manager or check online for their water utility’s CCR.
Private groundwater well users do not get CCRs but should test their water regularly. EPA offers some helpful tips.
You can learn more about local U.S. watersheds by visiting EPA’s “Surf Your Watershed” webpage. To access data about Canadian drinking water systems visit the Health Canada website.
You can find additional information about CCRs on DrinkTap.org.