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Division of Environmental and Community Health

Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention

A Division of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services

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DHHSMeCDCEnvironmental and Community HealthDrinking WaterDrinking Water ConsumersConsumer Confidence Reports

Consumer Confidence Reports

Summary

On September 18, 1998, the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) requirement of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act became law. The State of Maine Drinking Water Program (DWP) requires all community water systems to produce 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)."

Reports must be delivered to customers by July 1st each year.

CCR Rule Requirements

The CCR is an annual water quality report that includes practical information about consumers' drinking water, based on their water system's current conditions. It provides educational materials that allow consumers to make informed decisions about any potential health risks related to the quality, treatment, and management of their drinking water supply.

The CCR must include:

  • Water System Information: Name/phone number of a contact person.
  • Source(s) of Water: Description of the source of drinking water, e.g. lake name, or well location.
  • Definitions: Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL); MCL Goal (MCLG); Treatment Technique (TT); Action Level (AL); Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL); MRDL Goal (MRDLG) Level 1 Assessments (L1A), Level 2 Assessments (L2A); Variances and Exceptions.
  • Detected Contaminants: A table summarizing reported concentrations and relevant MCLs, MCLGs, etc.; known source of detected contaminants; health effects language.
  • Information on Monitoring for Cryptosporidium, Radon, and Other Contaminants (if detected).
  • Compliance with Other Drinking Water Regulations (any violations and Ground Water Rule special notices, requirements to perform Level 1 or 2 assessments not due to an E. coli MCL).
  • Variance and Exemptions (if applicable).
  • Required Educational Information: Explanation of contaminants in drinking water and bottled water; information to vulnerable populations about Cryptosporidium; statements on nitrate, arsenic, and lead.

Optional CCR Information:

  • An explanation of the water treatment processes.
  • Source water protection efforts and/or water conservation tips.
  • Costs of making the water safe to drink.
  • Statement from the general manager.
  • Information to educate consumers about taste and odor issues, collaborations or partnerships, opportunities for public participation, etc.

Multilingual Requirements:

Water systems that have a large proportion of non-English speaking residents must include information in the appropriate language(s) indicating the importance of the CCR, or a phone number or address where residents may contact the water systems for a translated copy of the CCR or assistance in the appropriate language.

Additional resources for drinking water system owners and operators are available on EPA's Consumer Confidence Report website to assist in complying with requirements of the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) rule.

Maine DWP CCR Fact Sheet (coming soon)

EPA CCR Quick Reference Guide

Maine DWP Fillable CCR (fillable pdf)

To simplify the CCR, the DWP has an auto-generated form with data filled in specific to your water system. When you enter your PWSID# in the box provided, a fillable form (in pdf format) is 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" CCR can be found on the Fillable CCR page.

Mailing waiver for systems

Systems meeting the requirements below may request a waiver from direct delivery to all bill paying customers by publishing the entire CCR in local newspapers and informing customers prior to the publication. A written request and subsequent approval must occur.

  • Serve a population fewer than 10,000 persons
  • No outstanding violations
  • No Detection of a regulated contaminant above 50% of the Maximum Contaminant Level

Electronic Distribution

Options for delivering CCR to customers electronically:

  • Posting CCR on a website. Systems must provide customers with a short URL (web address) that links directly to the CCR.
  • Attach CCR to an e-mail.
  • Insert CCR into the body of an e-mail

If a community water system opts for electronic distribution, they must inform consumers that a hard copy will not be mailed out unless requested.

Systems may notify customers of the availability of the CCR online by mail and this notice must be included on every mailing. For example, a statement on water bills.

A system which sends the CCR via e-mail must state that a paper copy will be provided upon request.

Systems must automatically send a paper copy to any bounce-back emails.

Systems must send a paper copy to any consumers without a recorded e-mail address.

Water systems with auto bill and auto-pay customers must send a dedicated e-mail to inform customers of the availability of the CCR each year.

Methods that do not meet the CCR distribution requirements include:

  • A URL requiring additional navigation (clicks) to the CCR;
  • Social media such as Facebook or Twitter; and
  • Automated phone calls.

Certification for Electronic Delivery:
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 a copy of the e-mail containing the CCR 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

CCRs as Public Relations Tools

Water systems have an opportunity to use the CCR as a positive public relations tool and describe the good things their water system does.

Communication Tips:

  • Be consistent, simple, truthful, and straightforward with your message. Avoid acronyms, initials, and jargon.
  • Provide links to useful information.
  • Don't be wordy - write short sentences and keep paragraphs short.
  • Assume that consumers will only read the top half of the notice or what can be read in 10 seconds.
  • Have important elements in bold and/or large type in the top half of the notice.
  • Do not make your text too small.
  • Use graphics, photos, maps, and drawings to illustrate your message.
  • Consider printing CCR on recycled paper or take other steps to make your CCR "environmentally friendly."
  • Use the CCR as an opportunity to tell your customers about all of the things you are doing well.

CCR Compliance

Remember, to comply with the regulations, a community water system must:

  1. 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.
  2. By October 1st each year: Send written certification to the DWP that the CCR has been distributed and that the information is correct.

Additional Resources