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PA Septage Management Association

Water Quality

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Consumer Confidence Report - General Information
Consumer Confidence Report – General Information
Q: What is a CCR?

A: The Consumer Confidence Report, or CCR, is an annual water quality report that a community water system is required to provide to its customers. The CCR contains information about substances detected in your drinking water, possible sources of the substances, potential health effects of the substances and other valuable information.

Q: When will I receive my Annual Water Quality Report (CCR)?

A: Community water systems are required to provide the CCR to customers by July 1 of each year. The report contains water quality information from the previous calendar year.

Q: I received a water quality report from my water system. Does this report indicate there is something wrong with the water, or that it’s unsafe?

A: Every Community Water System (CWS) is required by law to provide its customers with a water quality report also known as a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). The CCR is a general overview of the water quality. This report lists the regulated contaminants the CWS detected in treated water and the level at which they were found for the preceding calendar year.

For each detected contaminant, the report must contain the following pieces of information in a table; maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG), maximum contaminant level (MCL), level of contaminant detected, likely contaminant source, and notation of any violation. The Hotline can provide general information concerning the required content for the CCR. Contact your local water system for specific information about local water quality.

Q: What do MCL, MCLG and MRDL mean?

A: Each CCR should contain a section of definitions, which explains what these terms mean. Below is a table of definitions.

Important Drinking Water Definitions

  • MCLG: Maximum Contaminant Level Goal: The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.
  • MCL: Maximum Contaminant Level: The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.
  • TT: Treatment Technique: A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.
    AL: Action Level: The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.
  • Variances and Exemptions: State or EPA permission not to meet an MCL or a treatment technique under certain conditions.
  • MRDLG: Maximum residual disinfection level goal. The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.
  • MRDL: Maximum residual disinfectant level. The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.
  • MNR: Monitored Not Regulated
  • MPL: State Assigned Maximum Permissible Level
Cryptosporidium / Immunocompromised
Q: Why did my CCR contain information on cryptosporidium? What can I do if I am immunocompromised?

A: A section concerning cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants is required in all CCRs to provide information for immunocompromised persons such as individuals with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants. The section does not indicate the presence of cryptosporidium in drinking water. A guidance document developed jointly by EPA and CDC for people who may be immunocompromised is available online at This guidance provides important information for immunocompromised individuals. You can order hard copies of this guidance through the SDW Hotline.

Q: Does my public water system treat the water for cryptosporidium?

A: Contact your water system to inquire about its cryptosporidium removal practices.

Q: What the health effects are associated with cryptosporidium?

A: Cryptosporidium can cause gastrointestinal illness (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, cramps). Other health effects information concerning cryptosporidium is available online at

Lead in Drinking Water
Q: Is there a safe level of lead in drinking water for children?

A: EPA has set the maximum contaminant level goal for lead at zero because lead is a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels, it is persistent, and it can bioaccumulate in the body over time. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends intervention when the level of lead in a child's blood is 10 micrograms per deciliter or greater. It is important to recognize all the ways a child can be exposed to lead. Children are exposed to lead in paint, dust, soil, air, and food, as well as drinking water. Therefore, the amount of lead a child can be exposed to in drinking water before exceeding the recommended blood level depends upon the amount of lead coming from these other sources. Young children, infants, and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to lead because the physical and behavioral effects of lead occur at lower exposure levels in children than in adults. A dose of lead that would have little affect on an adult can have a significant affect on a child. In children, low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells.

Monitoring Waiver
Q: Why does the current CCR contain results from previous calendar years?

A: Federal regulations require that if a system is allowed to monitor for regulated contaminants less often than once a year, the table must include the date and results of the most recent sampling. Thus, the report may reflect the date and result of the last samples taken.

Safe Drinking Water Hotline
Q: Why is the Safe Drinking Water Hotline's 800 number listed in the report if the Hotline cannot provide local water quality information?

A: Systems are required to provide a name and telephone contact at the water system who can answer questions about the report. In addition, a toll free number for EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline is provided to offer another source of information at no cost to the customer. The Hotline provides general information about CCRs and other safe drinking water issues. Hotline staff can also direct callers to sources for additional information, and can assist people in understanding the purpose and language of the CCRs.

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