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Consumer Confidence Reports


Consumer confidence reports are the centerpiece of the right-to-know provisions in the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Amendments contain several other provisions aimed at improving public information about drinking water, including the annual public water system compliance report (available from the Office of Drinking Water) and improved public notification in cases where a waterworks owner is not meeting a contaminant standard.

Every community waterworks owner must distribute a consumer confidence report annually by July I that contains information about the drinking water provided to its customers during the previous calendar year. The report must contain the following:


Water System Information

  • Name and phone number of contact person
  • Information on public participation opportunities (time and place for meetings or hearings)
  • Information for non-English speaking population (if applicable)

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Source of Water

  • Type (example: groundwater or surface water), commonly use name, and location. Location should be limited to general terms due to security concerns.
  • Availability of source water assessment. If the assessment was completed in 2002 or prior year, the following wording is suggested:

"A source water assessment of our system was conducted recently by the Virginia Department of Health. The well/spring/reservoir/river [you have to pick the appropriate source type) was determined to be of ___________________ susceptibility [choose the appropriate term from Chart A -Susceptibility Classes) to contamination using the criteria developed by the state in its approved Source Water Assessment Program."
"The assessment report consists of maps showing the source water assessment area, an inventory of known land use activities of concern, and documentation of any known contamination within the last 5 years. The report is available by contacting your water system representative at the phone number or address given elsewhere in this drinking water quality report."

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  • If applicable, treatment technique, MRDL, MRDLG, action level, variances and exemptions

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Table of detected contaminants

  • Use compliance results for samples collected in 2002. If compliance samples were not collected in 2002, then use the most recent results from compliance samples collected in 1998 through 2001.
  • List the likely source of each detected contaminant, using the best information available from the list of sources in Appendix 0 of the Waterworks Regulations.
  • (OPTIONAL) Consider including a brief statement about the lack of any compliance contaminant detections, especially for very important contaminants that the customers may be interested in. Otherwise, customers may think that no samples for those important contaminants were collected. For example, if there were no coliform detections, the waterworks owner might say "We are pleased to report to you that there were no detections of total coliforms or fecal coliforms in the monthly samples collected during calendar year 2002."
  • Use a separate table to list non-detected contaminants or non-regulated contaminants. Non-regulated contaminants include such things as iron, manganese, pH, hardness, alkalinity, MTBE, and many others.
  • Include detections for new contaminants that became effective in 2002. These include TOC (TT), HAA5 (MCL), bromate (MCL), chlorine (MRDL), and chloramines (MRDL). Also the MCL for TTHM was lowered from 0.10 mgiL to 0.080 mgiL, and the treatment technique allowance for monthly average and maximum filtered water turbidity was lowered for waterworks serving at least 10,000 population.

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  • Explain each monitoring and reporting violation that occurred in 2002 plus any MCL or treatment technique violations for any contaminants listed in the table of detected contaminants that occurred in 2002 or started in previous years and carried over into 2002. (Waterworks owners should have received a notice of violation from VDH for any such violations.)

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Required Educational Information

  • Mandatory language addressing vulnerable populations and contaminants reasonably expected to be in drinking water.
  • Informational statements on nitrate, lead, and TTHM (if applicable).
  • If arsenic was detected in the drinking water at levels greater than 5 ppb but less than or equal to 10 ppb, then educational information must be included. If arsenic was detected at levels greater than 10 ppb, then mandatory health effects language must be included.

Educational information -"While your drinking water meets EPA's standard for arsenic, it does contain low levels of arsenic. EP A's standard balances the current understanding of arsenic's possible health effects against the costs for removing arsenic from drinking water. EP A continues to research the health effects of low levels of arsenic which is a mineral known to cause cancer in humans at high concentrations and is linked to other health effects such as skin damage and circulatory problems. "
Health effects language -"Some people who drink water containing arsenic in excess of the MCL over many years could experience skin damage or problems with their circulatory system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer. "

  • EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline number (1-800-426-4791)

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General information

  • (OPTIONAL) Consider including information about water system improvements the waterworks owner intends to make or about water quality problems the customers have expressed concern about.

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NEW (March 1, 2012)

Community waterworks serving less than 10,000 persons have the option of:

  • Mailing or directly delivering a copy of the CCR to each customer


  • Publishing the report in a local newspaper of general circulation.

<Contact your ODW field office with any questions>

  • Direct delivery may include electronic delivery methods and procedures described by EPA (and accepted by the Virginia Department of Health) in a memo dated January 3, 2013.  Contact your local ODW field office for additional information.
  • Distribute the CCR to all customers (those that receive water bills) by July I and make a "good faith effort" to reach other consumers who do not receive water bills.
  • Make the CCR available to anyone who requests a copy, regardless of how or when the report was originally distributed.
  • Send a copy of the final CCR to the appropriate engineering field office of the Virginia Department of Health, at the same time the report is distributed to the customers and send a signed certification form to VDH at the same time.
  • Waterworks serving 100,000 or more persons must also post its current report on a publicly accessible site on the Internet.

Additional information may be found at the EPA web site CCR templates are available from VDH's engineering field offices and on the web at  The latter is a web-based program that allows waterworks owners and operators to create their CCRs by answering required questions and filling in blanks. It was developed by EPA, is free, and is secure.  ODW created a Field Guide to assist with the development of CCRs using CCRiWriter and is available here.

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Last Updated: 03-05-2014

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