One of the best ways to learn about local water quality conditions is to obtain a copy of your community’s Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), says a recent press release from NSF International. Issued around July 1 each year, these water quality reports provide customers of public and private water utilities with information regarding the source of their local community’s drinking water supply, as well as the quality of the finished drinking water supply.

Most water suppliers have been required to issue CCRs since 1998. Consumers sometimes find the technical information included in these reports difficult to understand. In response, NSF International created a special section on its Web site ( http://www.nsf.org/consumer/drinking_water/dw_quality.asp?program-WaterTre) to helps consumers learn more about these reports and make informed decisions about their water.

The site covers the following topics:
  • An Introduction to Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs)
  • Understanding Your Report
  • Common Units of Measurement
  • Common Abbreviations
  • How to Interpret the Results on Your Report
  • Frequently Asked Questions
All water quality reports will contain a phone number to the local water utility, which the consumer can call with questions regarding their local water supply or the type of treatment the water receives. These reports will also include the phone number for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) safe drinking water hotline, which is staffed with individuals that can answer general questions about regulation of public drinking water supplies in the United States.

Consumers with questions regarding drinking water quality in general, including the use of home water treatment devices, can turn to NSF International, a not-for-profit public health and safety organization. NSF evaluates a wide range of consumer products, including pitchers, tap filters and other home water treatment systems, for performance against many different contaminants that can be found in drinking water supplies.