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Public Water System Annual Report Cards Due July 1

Posted on 5/12/2015 by Anthony Cardno

Under the US EPA's Safe Drinking Water Act, Public Water Systems must provide customers with water fit for human consumption. This means, in part, ensuring that any contaminants in the water are present only at levels below the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) assigned in the Primary Drinking Water Standards [40 CFR 141–142]. Certain Public Water Systems are required to report annually to their customers on the quality of the water being provided.

What Is a Public Water System?

Public Water Systems are defined as "a system for the provision to the public of water for human consumption through pipes or other constructed conveyances." [40 CFR 141.2] Within this definition, Community Water Systems are further defined as any public water system that "serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents."

clean water from community water system or CWS


Consumer Confidence Reports

Under 40 CFR 141, Subpart O, Community Water Systems (CWS) are required to submit annual report cards called Consumer Confidence Reports. There is no official form for CWS to fill out to be in compliance with the regulations, but the required information must be reported to the customers "in an accurate and understandable manner."

The report must identify the sources of water the system draws from, including:
  • The source type (ground, surface);
  • The commonly used name of the source;
  • The location of the source; and
  • The availability of source water assessments and instructions on how to obtain a copy.
The report must also include information on detected contaminants, including, but not limited to:
  • Contaminants subject to mandatory monitoring;
  • Contaminants subject to specific MCLs;
  • The likely source of detected contaminants;
  • Specific violation(s) of MCLs;
  • Clear and readily understandable explanation of the violation(s); and
  • Explanation of contaminants that could reasonably be expected to be in the water based on the source.
The report must also include certain additional health information, including specifically worded statements regarding:
  • Immuno-compromised and other at-risk persons;
  • Arsenic at certain levels;
  • Nitrates at certain levels; and
  • The effects of lead in drinking water, especially on children.
The Consumer Confidence Reports must be delivered to customers by July 1 of each year. CWS must make a good-faith effort to deliver copies of the report to customers who do not receive a water bill (i.e., renters or workers). The CWS must also submit a copy of the reporting to their primacy agency (authorized states or the EPA regional office) at the same time the report is sent to customers, and then submit a follow-up certification regarding the delivery, accuracy, and consistency of the report within three months.

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Tags: EPA, Recordkeeping and Reporting, Safe Drinking Water Act

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