Understanding a Drinking Water Quality Report

Why Is It Important to Understand What’s In My Water?

Aging water infrastructure, natural disasters, and improper waste disposal can all lead to contaminants reaching the water that’s piped into your home. Many of these contaminants, even in small amounts, can pose a threat to your family’s health. A drinking water quality report from an accredited lab can tell you a lot about the water you’re consuming every day.

What Is a Consumer Confidence Report?

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was passed in 1974 to protect public health by regulating the nation’s public drinking water supply.

To demonstrate that their water meets mandated quality standards, community water suppliers are required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to send their customers a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) by July 1 each year. The Consumer Confidence Report gives you a snapshot of the health of your public water supply when the testing was conducted. If you don’t receive it in the mail, you can contact your local water supplier or look it up online at the EPA website.

What Is In a Drinking Water Quality Report?

A typical drinking water quality report is pretty easy to understand. The specific format of your local report may vary, but it will often include useful information about the local water system and a table of information similar to this:

Image of a sample water report with contaminants, concentrations amounts and sources of the contamianant
  • Contaminant: The Safe Drinking Water Act defines “contaminant” as any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substance or matter in water. The EPA has drinking water regulations for over 90 contaminants.
  • Units: The level of a contaminant’s concentration. In water, milligrams per liter (mg/L) is about 1 part per million (ppm). Some contaminants may be measured in parts per billion (ppb).
  • Range: The lowest and highest levels of a contaminant detected during the testing period.
  • Average: The average level of a contaminant detected during the testing period.
  • Sample Date: The date(s) of testing. Some contaminants may not be tested every year.
  • Violation: This column indicates if a contaminant exceeds the recommended EPA level.
  • Source: Information about where the contaminant is commonly found.

What are MCLG and MCL?

MCLG: Maximum Contaminant Level Goal The MCLG is the maximum level of a contaminant in drinking water at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons would occur, allowing an adequate margin of safety. MCLGs are non-enforceable public health goals.

MCL: Maximum Contaminant Level The MCL is the maximum level allowed of a contaminant in water which is delivered to any user of a public water system. MCL is an enforceable standard.

Take Control of Your Tap Water

For more current or specific information about your home’s water quality, (especially if you are using a private well or suspect a problem with your plumbing), you may wish to have it tested by an accredited laboratory.

A water main break, natural disaster, or other water quality issue can arise when you least expect it. By the time a boil order is issued, your water may have been compromised for some time without you knowing it. Your best defense is to put a final barrier system in place to purify your drinking water on a daily basis. Take control of your family’s water with a Berkey® water purification system.

2020-02-20T12:46:20-05:00February 14th, 2020|Education|
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