Do you know what chemicals or contaminants are in the water that you drink every day? Have you ever wondered how you can find out?

Most private residences and commercial businesses are supplied with drinking water by public utilities. Of course, there are exceptions, such as those residences with drinking water wells. As of 2005, 86% of the United States population was served by public water utilities (US Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey). These public water utilities test for a variety of contaminants, ranging from naturally occurring metals or bacteria that may be present in the source water to by-products of disinfection processes. The Safe Drinking Water Act mandates testing for certain contaminants, as well as the minimum frequency of the testing events.

The 1998 update to the Safe Drinking Water Act added a requirement that certain public water utilities publish the results of this testing in an annual Consumer Confidence Report. Any public water utility that services the same population year-round (at least 25 people or 15 service connections) must make the Consumer Confidence Report available to their customers. In addition, any public water utility that services a population of 100,000 or greater must post their report on the Internet.

The Consumer Confidence Report must include reference to the source of the water treated by the utility, as well as a summary of the risk of contamination in that source. It must also include whether any regulated contaminants have been found in the local drinking water, the potential health effects of any contaminants detected at levels exceeding what is allowed by the Safe Drinking Water Act, and an explanation of what was done to restore safe drinking water. Various information including naturally occurring contaminants in local areas, how to contact the utility provider and the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline phone number (800-426-4791) is also included in the report.

The EPA provides a website to assist people in finding the Consumer Confidence Report for their water system. Users can choose their state and then use a search function to narrow the results to their city or county. This tool can be accessed at https://www.epa.gov/ccr and then selecting “Find your local CCR” on the righthand side of the page. Larger public utilities are likely to have a searchable website on which the report will be available.

For assistance in finding your CCR, or in determining whether your water contains any contaminants of concern, give Eco Advisors a call at 561-627-1810.