Consumer Confidence Reports
Effective September 18, 1998, the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) requirement of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act has become law. The State of Maine Drinking Water Program (DWP) is requiring all community water systems to draft and distribute an annual water quality report (or CCR) to their customers. A community water system is defined as: "a public water system which serves at least fifteen service connections or at least 25 year round residents (e.g. municipal water utilities, mobile home parks, apartment complexes)". Community water systems must deliver their first CCR before October 19, 1999 and subsequent reports are due by July 1st, annually thereafter.
CCR Rule Requirements
The CCR is an annual water quality report which includes practical information for consumers that will help them make informed choices about their drinking water, based on the water system's current conditions.
The CCR must include:
- the address and telephone number of the owner and operator of the public water system; description of the source of drinking water, e.g. lake name, or well location;
- types of human activities or natural sources which may cause contamination of the water system and preventative measures;
- how to get the results of the DWP's evaluation of their system's vulnerability to contamination (i.e. source water assessment);
- disinfection, filtration, and other pertinent water distribution system information; the current Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) and Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for any contaminant found above the applicable detection level in the drinking water;
- detected contaminants subject to an MCL (U.S. EPA regulated), other contaminants for which monitoring is required by the State and disinfection by-products or microbial contaminants for which monitoring is required by the State;
- date, explanation, status and notice of public input in the renewal of variances, waivers and/or exemptions;
- a full description of any compliance violations, including the potential health risks and an accounting of the system's actions to restore safe drinking water;
- an educational statement for vulnerable populations about avoiding Cryptosporidium and phone numbers of additional sources of information, including the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791).
- a short informational statement regarding lead in drinking water – the mandatory language is available here.
*Please read through the Federal Register 40 CFR Parts 141, 142 National Primary Drinking Water Regulation: Consumer Confidence Reports; Final Rule for a complete summary of the details and requirements of the CCR. To view the Implementation Guidance for the CCR Rule, visit the EPA Office of Water web site at www.epa.gov/safewater/ccr1.html.
In an effort to simplify the CCR, the DWP has two types of Small System Templates available for smaller community water systems serving fewer than 500 persons (e.g. mobile home parks, etc.) to use: an "auto-generated" template with data filled in specific to your water system, and a standardized "fill in the blank" template.
Auto-Generated Template (fillable pdf)
By providing your PWSID# in the box provided, a fillable form will be generated based on your water system's water tests results from the previous year. Please note, there are still areas within the form that need to be filled out before the CCR is complete. The "auto-generated" template can be found on the Auto-Generated CCR Template page.
This template uses a "fill in the blank" type of format and has all of the minimum requirements of the CCR.
Medium to Larger Sized Water Utility Template
The Maine Water Utilities Association Public Awareness Committee, in cooperation with the DWP, has developed a Utility Template that can be used by municipal water utilities to complete the requirements of the CCR regulation. This template contains more detail for the medium to larger sized community water systems, serving more than 500 persons.
- CCR Utility Template Form (rtf)
- Instructions for the Utility Template (rtf)
- Table for the Utility Template (xls)
Options for delivering CCR to customers electronically:
- A system may post the CCR on a website. System must provide a short URL (web address) that will go directly to the system’s CCR.
- Systems may attach the CCR to an e-mail.
- Systems may insert the CCR into the body of an e-mail
If a community water system wants to use the electronic distribution option, they must inform the people they serve that a copy will not be mailed out unless a paper copy is requested. The electronic availability notification may be done by mail, but the system must include the notice on every mailing (Example: a statement on water bills). If a system sends the CCR via e-mail, the system must state that a paper copy will be provided upon request. If any e-mails are returned, the system must automatically send a paper copy and they must send a paper copy to any consumers they do not have an e-mail address for. Water Utilities with auto bill and auto-pay customers must send a dedicated e-mail to inform customers of the availability of the CCR each year.
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has developed a complimentary Electronic CCR Best Practices Guide as a resource to utilities interested in developing eCCR programs.
Methods that do not meet the CCR distribution requirements include:
- A URL requiring navigation to another part of a web-site to find the CCR,
- Use of social media like Facebook or Twitter to notify customers of the availability of the CCR,
- Use of automated phone calls.
For certification purposes, if a community system decides to use an electronic delivery method, the system must provide the DWP with the URL and a copy of the notification that was provided to customers. If the CCR was distributed by e-mail the system must provide an example of the e-mail containing the attachment or embedded CCR. In all cases the system must provide a statement that paper copies were delivered upon request or to persons without e-mail.
Each community water system is encouraged to use their own original format for the report (e.g. brochure, etc.), providing that all of the minimum requirements of the report are included.
Please take advantage of the CCR as a positive public relations tool and describe the good things your water system does. Remember, in order to comply with the regulations, a community water system must:
- By July 1st each year: Distribute a copy of the previous year's CCR to all persons served by the water system and send a copy to the DWP.
- By October 1st each year: Send written certification to the DWP that the CCR has been distributed and that the information is correct.
The Drinking Water Program (DWP) contact person for the Consumer Confidence Report regulation is Carlton Gardner. He can be reached at (207) 287-8403 or fax (207) 287-4172.