URI Home*A*Syst
About Water Quality Reports

Requirements of Water Companies
Water companies must test the water on a regular basis. Once a year, they must give the state Department of Health and their customers the results of the water tests and let them know what types of chemicals they found. The water company will mail Water Quality Reports (or Consumer Confidence Reports) to their customers with the water bills and make a good faith effort to reach non bill-paying customers by delivering the reports to libraries and the town hall. You can always call your water supplier and ask them to send you a copy of the report.

Water Quality Report Format
The reports follow a standard format by the order of Congress. All reports must include the name and phone number of a contact person at the water department. They must explain the type, name and location of the water sources and they must give information about significant sources of pollution. All reports include a table (see below) summarizing data on detected pollutants and explanations about where these pollutants probably came from. They must also provide information about any health effects that may result from the pollutants. If violations occurred, the Water Quality Report must describe the violation and the steps taken to correct it.

How to Read a Table
Usually, lakes, ponds, and streams contain many naturally occurring chemicals. So, almost every water company will find some chemicals in the water supplies. These chemicals will be listed in a table in the Water Quality (Consumer Confidence) Report.

A number in the table will tell how much of the chemical was found in the water. If this number is small, there is not a health threat. But, if the number is larger than the limit set by the government, people could get sick. This is called a violation. The water quality report tells you if your water ever had a violation.

Some water companies get their water from more than one source or buy water from a neighboring town. These water suppliers will often include one table for each water supply. Some water quality reports will have two or three tables. Many people are not sure how to read the tables. Studying this sample table will help you understand the Water Quality Report.



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For more information contact Alyson McCann, Program Coordinator
Phone: 401-874-5398
E-mail: alyson@uri.edu


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