How to Read a Water Quality Report

If the water supply for your home comes from a municipal facility, you are likely to have seen an annual water quality report. It is usually included in water bills, but many consumers dismiss it as they don’t really understand how to read it. This document actually provides a fantastic array of data that can let you know the good and bad about your water supply.How to Read a Water Quality Report

The Water Quality Report Basics:

A water quality report or its more formal name of Consumer Confidence Report is a vital source of information, rating the condition of your water supply. The report contains a plethora of details from where your drinking water is sourced to any contaminants found during the year, In addition to reporting the contaminant levels, any potential health effects are also documented. In basic terms, your water quality report provides the first line of defense to know what is happening with your home’s water supply.

Reading Your Report:

The first page of the report explains the standards that are being upheld in your municipality to provide you with the safest water. It may also include where your water was sourced, detailing the river, lake, reservoir or large well. Any possible contamination will also be explained with any filtration efforts made by the municipality will also be indicated.

Understanding Contaminants:

After the summary for your water source, you water quality report will contain a detailed chart to break down any contaminants detected in your water supply. Many people find understanding this chart to be a little challenging as it contains codes and abbreviations that look technical.

To understand the contaminant chart, you should know some of the common terms. This includes the contaminant name, which is the substance that was analyzed in the water. You will also see the term MCL, which is maximum contaminant level or the highest amount of the contaminant that is permitted in drinking water according to EPA standards. The report will also detail MCLG, or the maximum contaminant level goal. This is the minimum amount of any contaminant that is permitted in drinking water. MCGLs provide a safety boundary for consumers for any contaminants detected. The chart also contains a column for violations. There would be a yes or a tick in this column if any contaminants detected in the water supply exceeded the MCL.

Although violations are not common, you should be aware that if any contaminant is detected above the MCL, there is a potential for detrimental health effects. Your municipality is required to disclose any such violation in water reports to adhere to EPA regulations.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University.  He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.)

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999 Baltimore Road York SpringsPA17372 USA 
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