Tuesday, October 29th, 2019 by Mike Ohlinger
If your home’s water is supplied by a municipal water source, you may have noticed that your water bill feels a little heavier once a year, usually around the middle of summer. That extra padding in the envelope is your municipality’s annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), a water quality report card that shows you exactly what’s in your drinking water, provided that you understand how to read it.
A CCR can be a little intimidating to take in, especially if you’re unfamiliar with common water contaminants, their acceptable levels, and how they become integrated into your water source. Taking a little time to learn about the contaminants listed on your CCR can quell those concerns and give you a better understanding of how your municipality works to make your water safe.
The history of the CCR dates back to 1998 when the EPA imposed the Consumer Confidence Rule. This rule requires that public water suppliers must provide customers with an annual water quality report. Municipalities must distribute these reports by July first of each year and are typically mailed with a water bill.
Though the reports may look different depending on the municipality that’s distributing it, the Consumer Confidence Rule of 1998 stipulates what information is required to be in every report. The information that you will find in your CCR is:
More information may be included by the municipality, including content required by state regulation, but all CCRs must include the content listed above at a minimum.
The first page of your CCR will typically include specific information about your municipality’s water source. This may also include any of the challenges or issues faced over the previous year and how your municipality has addressed them. Sometimes, new technology or processes that have been adopted will be described, speaking towards your utility’s ability to provide safe and treated water that complies with regulation.
The pages following contain the meat of the report, the outline of contaminants and how much is found in your water. The chart below may look a bit different from what you might see in your CCR, but it contains the same information.
Though this may look a little intimidating, focusing on these four columns in the following order can make your CCR reading experience a little easier.
In addition to the naturally occurring contaminants listed on your water quality report, you may find chlorination by-products as another “contaminant” that appears on the list. Your municipality treats your source water with chlorine to protect the water from microorganisms and bacteria that may be present in your city’s pipelines before it reaches your tap. The residual chlorine that’s leftover from this treatment makes its way into your home and can affect the taste and smell of your water. If your CCR shows a high level of chlorine by-product, there are solutions like Evolve’s RC system which removes chlorine with its carbon-filled top chamber while also providing soft water with the lower resin chamber.
Speaking of soft water, since municipalities regard the minerals that make up hard water as “aesthetic” only, hardness is not treated by the municipality even though it may appear in your CCR. As a result, these minerals will travel to your home, causing significant problems to your plumbing, water-using appliances, and family’s skin or hair.
If you are questioning some of the results on your CCR or if you want to just learn more about your home’s water, call your local Evolve dealer today and schedule a water test. Testing your home’s water can give you a more in-depth gauge on what specifically is in your water. The results of a professional test can reveal which contaminants are affecting you and your home the most and is the first step in finding the right water treatment solution for you!
If you would like to learn more about the history of the CCR, or if you would like to obtain an electronic copy of your municipality’s report, visit the EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/ccr.