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
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