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Understanding Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR)

What is a CCR?

Every community water supplier must provide an annual report, sometimes called a Consumer Confidence Report, or "CCR," to its customers. The report provides information on your local drinking water quality, including the water's source, the contaminants found in the water, and how consumers can get involved in protecting drinking water.

All Consumer Confidence Reports must contain basic information mandated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including:

  • Source of drinking water.
  • Levels and/or range of levels of any contaminant found in local drinking water.
  • EPA’s health-based standard (maximum contaminant level)
  • Information on Cryptosporidium. Do not be alarmed to see information about Cryptosporidium listed on your report. Every community water utility must test for Cryptosporidium spp. and supply an educational statement about Cryptosporidium spp., even if it was not found in local drinking water.
  • Other important drinking water information

Every CCR should also list phone numbers for more information, including the phone number for the water system and that of EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791). For more basic information about CCRs and to see if your CCR is posted online, visit EPA's Safe Water site.

If you are getting your water from a private ground water well, you will not receive a Consumer Confidence Report. To learn more about safe water and wells, please visit CDC’s Private Ground Water Wells site.

Possible Sources of Contaminants in Drinking Water
Contaminant Examples Source
Microbial Contaminants Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Norovirus Sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife
Inorganic Chemical Contaminants Arsenic, Copper, Fluoride, Lead Naturally occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, soil and gas production and mining or farming
Disinfectants Chlorine, Chloramine Water additive for inactivating microbial contaminants
Disinfection Byproducts Trihalomethane, Haloacetic acid Byproduct of drinking water chlorination
Organic Chemical Contaminants Pesticides and Herbicides, Benzene, Toluene Agriculture, stormwater runoff, byproducts of industrial processes and petroleum production, gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems
Radioactive Contaminants Radium, Uranium Naturally occurring or result from oil and gas production and mining activities

For a complete list of regulated contaminants, please visit EPA’s Drinking Water Contaminants page.

Abbreviations Used in Consumer Confidence Reports

Your local drinking water CCR may have a list of definitions in order to help you, the consumer, better understand the report. Some typical definitions include:

Action Level; the concentration of a contaminant that triggers a treatment or other requirement from a water system.
Maximum Contaminant Level; the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water.
Maximum Contaminant Level Goal; the level of a known contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health.
Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level; the highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water.
Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal; the level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health.
Nephelometric Turbidity Unit; a meaure of the cloudiness of water; can be a good indicator of the effectiveness of the filtration system.
PPM is "parts per million" and PPB is "parts per billion" as units of measurement for contaminants
Treatment Technique; required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water. EPA uses treatment techniques to regulate some microorganisms because it may not be economically or technologically feasible to measure them and regulate by setting an MCL.

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