Keep Consumer Confidence in Our Water Quality Reports
The United States has some of the cleanest, safest drinking water in the world, thanks in part to our government’s rigorous testing standards. In fact, consumer standards are actually more stringent for the quality and safety of tap water than that of bottled water. Everyone has a right to be informed about what is in their tap water, but as crazy as it sounds, the federal government may actually be about to make that a little more difficult.
But before you throw up your hands and reached for the bottle, take heart. As always, Food & Water Watch has your back.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently considering new ways to get water quality reports to the public. A water quality report, also known as a consumer confidence report, lets you know what contaminants, if any, are in your drinking water and how they may affect your health. Because of amendments made in 1996 to the Safe Drinking Water Act, customers around the country have been receiving water quality reports from their local utilities disclosing what is in their water. Water utilities are also required to make a “good faith effort” to reach renters, workers and other consumers who do not receive water bills.
Last week, the EPA held a public meeting and accepted public comments on a proposal to review electronic delivery options for water quality reports. By allowing too much flexibility for the utilities on how they get this information to consumers, the public may actually lose out by having less access to this essential information.
Water quality reports are an important tool to empower consumers to make informed choices about the water they drink. We know they can be a little hard to decipher, which is actually why we created our guide to understanding them.
Ultimately, the EPA’s focus on lessening the burden on the utilities is misguided. Instead it should focus on making these reports more consumer-friendly, and continuing to ensure that all Americans have access to safe, clean, affordable water.
What can you do to protect your right to know? Take action here.