By Robert Coleman, Environmental Working Group
The Environmental Protection Agency requires every U.S. public water system to send its customers an annual report on the quality of their drinking water. These Consumer Confidence Reports, or CCRs, detail the utility’s compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and disclose levels of contaminants regulated under the law that were detected through sampling and testing.
I recently received my local CCR in the mail, and was taken aback by how lacking it was in information about the contaminants my utility detected in the drinking water it provides to me and the other 681,000 residents of Washington, D.C. For me, the report raised more questions than it answered:
- How could these contaminants affect my health?
- How does my tap water compare to that in other cities across the country?
- What about other contaminants that aren’t regulated?
EWG’s recently released national Tap Water Database fills in the gaps. With a simple zip code search, you can learn a lot about your tap water that your CCR may leave out. Here’s how our database and the information it delivers stacks up against a typical CCR: