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Environment Matters Audio Podcast

Environment Matters
EPA Region 3
Topic: Drinking Water Quality (Consumer Confidence) Reports
Size: : 2,332k
Time: 02:29

Date: June 12, 2012

[Opening music]

Patti Kay Wisniewski: People call to ask how they can find out where their drinking water comes from and if it's safe to drink.

Nancy Grundahl:  Hi. I'm Nancy Grundahl and welcome to Environment Matters, another in our series of environmental podcasts. Today I'm talking with Patti Kay Wisniewski, a scientist with the Drinking Water Branch in our Mid-Atlantic EPA regional office.

Patti Kay Wisniewski:  If people are served by public water, not their own private well, I tell them that each year by July 1st they should receive a report in the mail from their water company.  This annual report is called a Consumer Confidence Report or Drinking Water Quality Report.

Nancy Grundahl:  I think I just received one of those from my water company along with my water bill.

Patti Kay Wisniewski:  That's it, although they're delivered separately from water bills as well.  The report lists the source of your drinking water, such as a river, a stream, a well, or a combination of these sources.   Many utilities describe the treatment used to make the water safe to drink.  The report also lists any regulated contaminants that were detected in the treated water during the last year, whether there were any violations of EPA standards and the risks these pose to your health.  And, of course, the name of a person to call at the water company if you have any questions about what you are reading.

Nancy Grundahl:  Where else can we find these water quality reports, for a college a child is attending or a nursing home where parents are living?

Patti Kay Wisniewski:  You can probably find these reports online. Any water system that serves more than 100,000 people is required to make its reports available on the web.  Even if your water company serves fewer than 100,000 people, it is possible that the report is posted on the company's website.  Be sure you know the name of the water company when searching online.  

EPA has a catalogue of links to posted reports –meaning the utilities link their reports to our site.  State environmental and health agencies also have links to reports.  EPA's website provides local drinking water information at water.epa.gov/drink/local.

Nancy Grundahl:  Patti Kay, how can we learn more about drinking water?

Patti Kay Wisniewski:  The annual water quality report you receive will point you to additional information such as EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline.  That number is1-800-426-4791, again, that number is 1-800-426-4791 or the EPA website.  EPA also offers helpful information for owners of private wells on our website.

[closing music]

Nancy Grundahl:  Thank you for being our guest today, Patti Kay, and thanks to our listeners for joining us on Environment Matters.


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