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Consumer Confidence Report for Public Drinking Water Systems

Monday, May 27, 2019 - 8:45am

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about consumer confidence report for public drinking water systems. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Dr. Jason Barrett, Mississippi State University Assistant Extension professor. So, Dr. Barrett the consumer confidence report is actually really important for those on public drinking water systems. What is this consumer confidence report?

Jason Barrett: Thanks Amy. The consumer confidence report is actually a rule, what's called the consumer confidence report rule which gives the framework for what we will see as the annual drinking water quality report. And this is a compilation of sample results over the course of a calendar year for any community drinking water system. It's a compilation of those sample results over the course of that calendar year, January 1 through December 31.

Amy Myers: Why is this report important and what should a consumer expect to learn or be informed of as a result of reading this consumer confidence report?

Jason Barrett: On a monthly basis every community water system in the state is pulling samples, drinking water quality samples in which they are tested. The state health lab and those results are sent back to the system. This consumer confidence report which we see as the annual drinking water quality report gives the summary of those sample results and it compiles them so that every customer can see the levels that are screened or tested, those results, over the course of the year. So, you can see if your system is in full compliance, if their levels are meeting the standards or below the standards which we all desire to see. But they can see what those results are.

Amy Myers: And if a customer doesn't want to wait until the end of the year when the report comes out can they get that info another way?

Jason Barrett: Sure. The community water system with their monthly samples, they actually get a report monthly from the state health department letting them know the results. So, if a customer ever has any question to me their first response should always be check with your local community water system. Call the office. You can ask to speak to the manager or you could ask to speak to the certified water operator and ask them about those monthly results. If there were issues, if any of these results exceeded the acceptable levels or those action levels the community water system has a response in which they will take and must take. So, they will hear about it if there are issues. But yes, you could definitely call your local community water system if you need answers.

Amy Myers: What are some things that are being tested? What are some items that the levels are screened for?

Jason Barrett: Now, each system may be a little different but some common things you might see which may fall under the in organics, may be copper, may be lead, may be fluoride. And then also, you'll see some results from your chlorine treatment which is our disinfection used to control for microbes. Just the common things that may be seen or found within your water system depending on where you are.

Amy Myers: So Jason what do you see as the benefits of looking up this information and using it?

Jason Barrett: Well, I would say this. You kind of have three points that truly are what I feel are benefits to the consumer confidence report. One, we are increasing the consumer's knowledge about their drinking water quality. So, if the consumer actually looks into the report they can gain that. As well as increasing the awareness that the consumer has about their drinking water supply and protecting their drinking water supply. And then finally, I'm going to say it's increasing that dialogue between the customer and the community water system.

Amy Myers: And if someone wants to get information about this report or if someone wants to locate this report what should they do?

Jason Barrett: Well, there are some pretty strict requirements about posting of it. So, if you're with a community water system that's less than 500 people you may simply see a notice on your bill or at the office stating that it's available upon request. If your community water system is between five hundred and ten thousand it's very likely you'll see it posted in the newspaper. You may also see a notice on your bill saying it's available upon request. But local newspapers where we'll see a lot of these reports come up. July 1 is the deadline for reporting so you'll see them from now till July 1, a lot of times in your local paper.

Amy Myers: Okay. So, that's the consumer confidence report for public drinking water systems. Today we've been speaking with Dr. Jason Barrett, Mississippi State University Assistant Extension Professor. I'm Amy Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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