Consumer Confidence Reports

Understanding the Quality of your Drinking Water

Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs), also known as water quality reports or drinking water quality reports, provide you with important information about the quality of your drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requiresexternal icon every community water supplier to provide a CCR to its customers.

Community water suppliers must provide CCRs to their customers by mail or onlineexternal icon. If you don’t pay your water bill directly—for example, if you live in an apartment, condominium, or rental house where a management company pays the water bill—you may need to contact a building manager or landlord for more information. You could also check online to see if your CCR is posted.

Only community water systems that serve the same people year-round provide CCRs. If you receive water from a non-community systemexternal icon (for example, a hospital that has its own water system or a system that provides water in a place like a gas station or campground), you may need to contact a building manager for drinking water quality information.

People who get their water from a private ground-water well do not receive CCRs.EPA does not regulate private wells, so there is no requirement for a CCR as there is for community water systems. To learn more about safe water when using private well systems, maintaining private wells, and well testing, please visit CDC’s Private Ground Water Wells page.

Understanding Your Consumer Confidence Report

Information in your report is often tailored to local water systems, so not all CCRs look alike. Some of the water quality information included in your report can help you understand how your drinking water can affect your health. For example, your water source may contain harmful germs, chemicals, and minerals. Some of these contaminants occur naturally (for example, arsenic), while others come from environmental contamination like sewage discharge, industrial waste, or runoff from plant or animal farming. Not all contaminants are bad. Some things listed as “contaminants” in your CCR can improve water quality, such as the appropriate amount of a disinfectant that keeps your water safe from harmful germs. For example, if your water utility adds chlorine or chloramine to the water, these disinfectants will be listed as contaminants even though they protect your health and kill harmful waterborne germs.

Contaminants marked as “violated” are present at levels higher than EPA allows. Knowing what levels of contaminants are in your water source—and whether those contaminants are harmful—can help you determine whether you should take additional actions to protect yourself and your family from potential water-related illnesses. EPA determines what levels of contaminants are safe to have in drinking water. Your CCR will show whether your water source has a higher level of contaminants than recommended.

CCRs must explain violations, how they may affect your health, and how the problem will be fixed. Review of your last several CCRs may help you understand if the violation is an ongoing issue (keeping in mind even single violations may be concerning).

Ask your local water utility, your local health department, and your healthcare provider for more information about how the quality of your drinking water may affect your health.

EPA requires a CCR section on Cryptosporidium. This section does not necessarily mean that your drinking water has the Cryptosporidium parasite. All CCRs are required to provide an educational statement about avoiding this parasite for people who are in groups with a higher risk of illness from it. This parasite can cause severe diarrheal illness and can be dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, even at low levels. It is also hard to kill, even with chlorine disinfection of water.

For information on drinking water options for people with weakened immune systems, see the “Drink safe water” tab on the web page Cryptosporidiosis Prevention & Control – Immunocompromised Persons.

Sample CCR

Learn how to read and interpret your report by looking through the sample CCR below.

Section 1 – Introduction, Precautions, and Sources 

  • Date
    Report shows the findings of required water testing. The current CCR will display information about your drinking water from the past year.
  • Multilingual audiences
    In areas where many residents don’t speak English, water systems must provide CCR information in the relevant languages.
  • Is my water safe?
    A water provider may choose to include an introductory statement about the past year’s water quality results and compliance.
  • Do I need to take special precautions?
    CCRs must state that some people may be more at risk of getting ill than others from harmful chemicals or germs that can be found in water. It will list examples of people who should ask their doctor about drinking water.
  • Where does my water come from?
    The report must include the source of the water delivered by a water provider (wells vs. rivers or lakes) and generally where that source is located.

Section 2 – Water Assessment, Contaminants, Monitoring, and Involvement 

  • Source water assessment and its availability
    If your water source went through laboratory testing or other assessments, this section will tell you how to get the results. The report may also show these results, such as the quantity and names of any chemicals and germs found.
  • How can I get involved?
    All CCRs must tell the public how they can participate in decisions that affect the quality of local drinking water.
  • Monitoring and reporting of compliance data violations
    If your water has unsafe levels of contaminants, the report must explain the violations, including how they may affect your health and how the problem will be fixed. To learn about EPA limits for contaminants, see the EPA’s National Primary Drinking Water Regulations websiteexternal icon.

Section 3 – Lead, Nitrate, Arsenic, and Water Quality Data Table 

  • Additional information for lead An educational statement about lead is required on each CCR, even if your water source does not contain lead.
  • Additional information for nitrate Information on contaminants like nitrate may also be included when a system detects nitrate at levels above 10 mg/L. Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of 10 mg/L could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue-baby syndrome.
  • Additional information for arsenic must be included if a system detects arsenic above 0.005 mg/L and up to and including 0.010 mg/L. In many cases, this means arsenic is a natural part of the rocks in your area, and over time it has leached out of the rocks and contaminated your water source. Levels up to and including 0.010 are considered safe.
  • Water Quality Data Table

Disinfectant Residual

Substance
(units)

Chloramine (as C12)(mg/L)

MCLG or
MRDLG

4

MCL§, TT
or MRDL∗∗

4

Amount Detected

1

  • Range Detection
    (Lowest to highest)

1-3

Violation

No

  • Typical
    Source

Water additive to control microbes

Inorganic Contaminants

Fluride (ppm)

4

4

2

1-2

No

Erosion of natural deposits; water additive which promoted strong teeth;

Contaminants: Contaminants are anything found in your water besides water molecules. Contaminants can be good or harmful for your health, depending on the particular substance and quantity.

∗MCLG: If the level of a contaminant in your drinking water is below the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) number indicated, there is no known or expected risk to your health.

†MRDLG: If the level of the drinking water disinfectant used by your water supplier is below the Maximum Residual Disinfection Level Goal (MRDLG) number indicated, there is no known or expected risk to your health. MRDLGs do not reflect potential benefits of disinfectants.

§MCL: The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water is the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). Contaminant levels above the MCL number violate the EPA standards to protect public health.

¶TT: The Treatment Technique (TT) is a required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

**MRDL: The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in your drinking water is the Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL). A certain amount of disinfectant has been shown to help control germs in the water.

Amount detected: Contaminants that exist in your water source.

Range detected: The “range” on your CCR refers to the levels—both low and high—at which contaminants were detected in your drinking water. A range of levels may exist due to changes in contaminant levels during a calendar year.

Sample date: The date on which a sample from your water system was collected.

Violation: A violation indicates that the level of a contaminant in your drinking water has exceeded the maximum level allowed for that contaminant by EPA.

Typical sources: Contaminant sources, such as runoff or erosion, are indicated here.

Contaminant name: The names of specific contaminants are indicated under each contaminant category (like chloramine under Disinfectants).

Contaminant categories: This line in the table shows what group of contaminants is being listed. This usually includes categories such as Disinfectants (like chlorine and chloramine), Inorganic Contaminants (like fluoride, nitrate, and lead), and Organic Contaminants (like atrazine and benzene), but other categories may be seen here as well depending on your water system.

Amount detected: The amount of each contaminant found in your water source will be shown here.

Section 4 – Action Levels, Violations and Exceedances

Inorganic Substance

Substance
(units)

Copper (ppm)

Lead (ppb)

MCLG or
MRDLG

1.3

0

Action Level (AL)††

1.3

15

90th Percentile Results

0.102

  • Number of Samples Above AL

0 out of 50 samples collected

0 out of 50 samples collected

Violation

No

No

  • Typical
    Source

Corrosion of household plumbing systems; Erosion of natural deposits; Leaching from wood perservatives

Corrosion of household plumbing systems; Erosion of natural deposits

  • ††Action Level: The concentration of a contaminant that signals the need for additional treatment or other required actions by the water system.
  • Violations and Exceedances: EPA requires that violations of allowable contaminant levels be explained, including the length of time the violation occurred, any potential bad health effects that the violation could cause, and how the violation is being fixed.
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