Consumer Confidence Reports for Drinking Water systems


Delivering Your Report to Your Customers Early (before July 1)

You must deliver your Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) to your customers and the state before July 1 of each year. You may deliver it any time after you complete last year's monitoring requirements and receive your lab results. As long as the report contains the most recent information through December of last year, it can be delivered any time between January 1 and July 1 of the new year.

Extension Information if You're Not Able to Meet the July 1 Due Date for this Year's Report

The CCR summarizes the results of water quality monitoring through December of last year. You have six months (January through the end of June) to produce and distribute the report. We will not grant extensions beyond July 1 because six months is enough time for you to produce and distribute the report.

If Your CCR is Late—After July 1

Your CCR an important key in communicating with your customers. The report has meaningful information about the source of your community's drinking water, its water quality, and the potential health effects of any contaminants that may be in it. By communicating with your customers through the CCR, you are empowering them to make important personal health decisions. You are also strengthening your relationship with your best allies. After all, your customers support your business. You provide a vital resource to everyone.

It is important to understand that purveyors who do not submit a CCR to their customers and the state before the annual due date of July 1 are in violation of a state regulation. Despite a status of non-compliance, it is important to the State Department of Health that you produce and distribute the CCR, even if it is late. We urge you to produce and distribute your CCR to your customers and your Drinking Water Regional Office as soon as possible.

State CCR Requirements vs. old Federal CCR Requirements

The state adopted the federal Consumer Confidence Report regulation "as is." State CCR requirements are the same as federal CCR requirements. State regulations read differently than the old federal regulations because we rewrote it clarity and simplicity. The requirements have not changed.

We support your efforts to communicate with your customers frequently and consistently. Although you do not need to include any additional information beyond state required minimums. The CCR as an invaluable opportunity for you to inform and educate your customers about the many daily activities at your water system. Ideas for and information about activities you may wish to highlight in your report can be found under the topic Report Writing Assistance on this homepage.

Making the Report Available in Other Languages

Depending on your community and the languages spoken, you may need to offer translations. The CCR intent is to inform the public about the quality of their drinking water. If a large proportion of residents living in a community speak languages other than English, it is your responsibility to let them know this water quality information is available in their language.

To determine whether your community has a large proportion of non-English speaking members, look at census information for your county. Go to the U.S. Census Bureau's website. Once you are there, click on State and County Quick Facts, select Washington State and the county you are interested in; go into the Demographics section and select Race information. You also may consider conducting a very short informal survey of your customers—as a postcard mailing or over the phone—asking what language is typically spoken in their household.

The state regulation does not require you to produce the whole report in languages other than English or to provide a translator. The report needs to contain at a minimum only a sentence or two, in appropriate non-English language(s), that says the report contains information about drinking water quality and for the reader to seek help in having it translated.

The utility guidance document offered by EPA has boilerplate sentences in common non-English languages that are available for copying into reports. (See the topic Preparing Your Drinking Water Consumer Confidence Report under this homepage.)

If your customers ask for translation help, ask if they have any multi-lingual family members or friends who could read it to them. Multi-lingual members of your community may be willing to help your non-English speaking customers. You may also suggest that the consumer look into hiring a translator themselves. For the names of translators, look in the Yellow Pages under Translators & Interpreters.

What is Meant by Required "Source Water Assessment" Information (Refer to WAC Chapter 246-290-72003[2] and [3].)

We are required by EPA to conduct a source water assessment of all drinking water sources of Group A public water systems. We use information provided by purveyors through their wellhead protection program, watershed control program, and submitted susceptibility assessment data as the basis for these assessments.

Until we contact a water system and provide the purveyor with the results of our source water assessment, the purveyor is not required to include information about source water assessments in their CCR. While waiting for the results of the state assessment, however, EPA and DOH strongly encourage purveyors to include in their CCR other readily available information about potential sources of contamination to the system's drinking water sources. Such information could include the results of sanitary surveys, wellhead protection studies, watershed control studies, susceptibility studies and the like.

Your CCR is your opportunity to inform and educate your customers about the impacts that they and others may have on the quality of their source water or to explain how your community's drinking water supply is being protected. You also may want to provide pollution prevention tips or information about local cleanup activities.

Click here for more information about Source Water Protection and the Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP). If you have questions about SWAP, email Nikki Guillot or call 360-236-3114.

Report Distribution

Where to Send Your Report

Southwest Regional

  • For systems located in Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Skamania, Thurston, and Wahkiakum counties.

Northwest Regional

  • For systems located in Island, King, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties.

Eastern Regional

  • For systems located in Adam, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima counties.

Methods for Transmitting Your CCR and Certification form to Us

You can do any of the following.

  • Hand-deliver a hard copy to the appropriate regional office.
  • Email with a word processing file or PDF attachment.
  • Request the appropriate regional office download your report from an Internet website if you provide a specific URL link.
  • Request a folder through our administrative staff. allows you to easily transfer very large files.

Where to Download the CCR Certification Form to Attach to Your Report

You will find mailing instructions in Consumer Confidence Report Certification Form 331-203-F (PDF)Print, complete, sign and date, and attach it to the copy of the report you send to us. Keep a copy for your files.

How to Distribute my CCR to People Living in Apartment Complexes, Nursing and Retirement Homes, Work at Office Buildings or Spend Time at Schools

Federal regulation requires you to make a good faith effort to ensure the report is available to consumers who do not have a direct service connection with the water system. Tailor an adequate good faith effort to best inform members of your community about the availability of the report. Use at least two methods to satisfy this good faith distribution requirement.

Suggested methods include posting the report your website; mailing it to postal patrons in metropolitan areas; advertising the availability of the report in the news media; publishing it in local newspapers; posting it in public places such as cafeterias or lunch rooms of public buildings; delivering multiple copies for distribution by single-billed customers such as apartment buildings or large private employers; delivering to community organizations. If you think of other distribution methods that best suit your community's situation, they could count towards satisfying this required good faith effort.

No Waivers From Delivering Reports to Each Customer for Small Water Systems (Serve Less Than 10,000 People) 

The federal CCR regulation gave states the option of offering to small water systems a waiver for the direct delivery requirement when the state made the regulation a state requirement. After discussion, we decided not to offer the waiver for at least the first several years that the CCR requirement is a state regulation. As a public health agency, we believe the information is important for the public to receive. We may be evaluating in the coming years whether it is appropriate to offer the waiver, but for the present, the waiver is not available.

Please note that the direct delivery waiver, even if it becomes available to small water systems at a future date, would not alleviate the purveyor from being responsible for producing the report. If the waiver is offered in the future, alternative requirements would apply depending on system size. Systems that serve between 500 and 10,000 persons would have to publish the report in local newspaper(s), prominently post it in conspicuous locations, and make it available upon request to anyone who asks for it.

For systems that serve less than 500 persons, the purveyor would have to make the report available upon request and provide notice of its availability to each customer at least once a year. Regardless of whether the waiver is granted, purveyors would still have to send a copy of the report to the state before the July 1 annual due date.

Chemical Reporting

Using the Word "Contaminant" in Your CCR

Even though state regulations and EPA's utility guidance document make consistent references to contaminants, you are not required to use this word in your CCR. You must use the word contaminant for mandatory language required by the regulation. Other words you may want to use include analyte, chemical, compound, substance, or element. You may use terms for your customers' understanding, especially where you add any substance to the water for health purposes (e.g., fluoride).

List all Your Water Quality Monitoring Data in Your CCR. How to Know whether You have a Detected or Non-Detected Value in Your Lab Report

The CCR regulation does not require you to list all the chemicals that you test and have results for. You need to include only detected chemicals—that is, those that are reported as positive values by your laboratory. To understand "detected," here's a quick lesson in analytical chemistry jargon.

"Zero" is the absence of a chemical. Laboratory equipment is not typically designed to look for zero chemical in a water sample. Equipment has a limit to how low a concentration it can detect when it looks for a specific chemical.

The detection limit (DL) or method detection limit (MDL) is the lowest concentration that a piece of laboratory equipment can detect when it looks for a specific chemical. Chemicals that are not detected are typically shown with a "ND" (for not detected), a "U" (for undetected) or will be shown as a value preceded by a "

Chemicals that are detected are typically shown as positive numbers without any letters or signs associated with them.

The state reporting level (SRL) is the concentration that the state requires laboratory equipment to be able to go down to when looking for a specific chemical. The SRL may be the same as or higher than the detection limit or the method detection limit.

Lastly, there are the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), the Action Level (AL) and the Treatment Technique (TT) standards which are state or federal standards that determine compliance with drinking water regulations.

What is required in your CCR are any chemical concentrations that your laboratory reports as higher than the state reporting level (SRL). You need to include those concentrations that are higher than the MCL or AL or TT, as well as what might appear to be trace amounts or very low concentrations that are well below the standard.

The CCR regulation requires that you NOT include non-detects in your data summary table. You can talk about them if you wish, but do not include them in the data summary table. The report is intended to provide the reader with a short "snapshot" of what was in the water in recent years. Your customers shouldn't have to wade through a long list of non-detects to find those few substances that were detected. You may summarize your non-detections by saying something to the effect that "ABC Water System tests for 16 IOCs (inorganic contaminants), 32 SOCs (synthetic organic contaminants), and 19 VOCs (volatile organic contaminants). Only 4 of these substances were detected in your drinking water last year." This would let your customers know that you are looking for many possible contaminants, but that only a few were actually found.

Reporting Chemicals with Secondary MCLs, such as Iron and Manganese

With the exception of fluoride and copper, the Consumer Confidence Report regulation does not require you to report chemicals with secondary MCLs. Secondary MCLs are not based on health effects as primary MCLs are, but are based on aesthetic and cosmetic effects. Therefore, you do not need to include detections of iron, manganese, chloride, sulfate, zinc, or silver. Although fluoride and copper do have secondary MCLs, they are special cases and the CCR regulation specifically requires that detection of these compounds be included in your report. See the FAQ in this section on fluoride and on calculating the 90th percentile copper value.

If you do have detected concentrations of substances with secondary MCLs, however, your report is a great opportunity to educate your customers about their levels and effects in drinking water. For example, you may explain that high levels of iron and manganese typically stain clothes and may result in "smelly" water at certain times of the year.

How to Address Waivers for Monitoring Requirements in Your Report

In a nutshell, you do not have to mention that you have a waiver. Waivers are typically granted because a source was determined by the state to have a low susceptibility to contamination and, for example, certain chemicals were not detected in the water. Since non-detected chemicals are not required to be included in your report, you do not have to mention them. You may, however, want to say that you have a waiver and are not required to monitor for a certain chemical or class of chemicals, and give the reason why if you know it.

Including Monitoring Data from Emergency Water Sources

If you used an emergency source of water that contained contaminants at levels above the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), then you must include this data in your report's data summary table. Your report must then also include mandatory statements about the contaminant source and possible health effects. (These statements are provided in WAC Chapter 246-290-72012 of the state regulation.) You may want to go on to explain how often and when this emergency water is typically used and why. Such additional information might help alleviate possible questions or concerns from your customers about your use of emergency sources that contain elevated levels of contaminants.

If your emergency source water monitoring results indicate MCLs were not exceeded, but you feel your use of emergency water was such that your customers could benefit from knowing about the quality of water from this source, then you might consider including the data and explaining why you used this source, when and how often. This is a case where you, the water purveyor, must use your best judgment, remembering that the intent of the CCR regulation is for you to inform your customers about the quality of water you've been serving them throughout the previous year.

If you do report your emergency source water data and the water from the emergency source was blended with water that is more regularly used, combine the emergency source water data with the "regular" water data to create your report's data summary table. If the emergency source water was not blended, present these data separately from those of your "regular" water. You could separate these different sources of water quality data by using different columns in the data summary table or presenting the results separately in a different table.

Information to Include When Monitoring for Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) Once Every Three Years; Not Collecting a VOC Sample During the Last (Most Recent) Calendar Year—This Also Applies to Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOCs)

Although each year's report focuses on summarizing information about the quality of water you served during the previous calendar year, you also need to include the most recent result of monitoring that was conducted for other chemicals that aren't tested for every year. You need go back, however, only as far as five years to report the most recent result. Along with reporting the concentration of a detected VOC or SOC, you would include the date of that last sample result in the data summary table. This information is required to be repeated in each year's report until you have new results to report from a more recent round of monitoring. Any other chemicals that you monitor for less frequently than every year are to be handled this same way.

Including Distribution Results or IOC Results When Reporting Lead or Copper Detections

It is possible that you may need to report both. If you have detections from your Inorganic Chemical (IOC) monitoring results, you need to include this information in your data summary table. If you have detections as a result of your distribution monitoring, you need to report the 90th percentile of your last sampling round. (See the next FAQ in this section on how to calculate the 90th percentile value.) If you have detections in only one type of monitoring, just report those results. No detections? No reporting of lead or copper.

How to Calculate the 90th Percentile Value to Report Lead and Copper Distribution Sample Results

The following instructions (taken from Chapter 246-290-025 WAC, 40 CFR Section 141.80) are written using lead as the example, but they apply in the same way to copper results.

Put all of your lead results in increasing order, starting with the smallest value and ending with the largest value, including non-detects. You'll probably have several non-detects listed first, followed by a few detections. Make sure your detections are in increasing order.

Multiply the number of samples you took by 0.9. Round this result up to the next highest whole number.

Go to your ordered list of lead sample results and identify the sample that corresponds to the whole number from step 2 above.

The concentration of that sample is the 90th percentile.

Here is an example:

32 samples were collected.
32 x 0.9 = 28.8. Round to 29.
Identify the 29th sample in your list of ordered samples (ordered from lowest to highest).
The concentration of lead for the 29th sample is the 90th percentile.

What to Report if You Have One Unsatisfactory (Positive) Total Coliform Result and All Required Follow-Up Samples were Satisfactory

The CCR regulation requires that any and all unsatisfactory samples be reported even if all required follow-up samples are satisfactory. The unsatisfactory result needs to be included in your data summary table along with its MCL, MCLG and typical source language (provided in WAC Chapter 246-290-72012). Having only one unsatisfactory sample is not a violation if the four immediate repeat samples plus the following month's five samples all are satisfactory. In this case, you may want to explain in the text of your report that all follow-up samples were satisfactory and that one unsatisfactory sample does not necessarily represent a public health threat. (Note: If you collect fewer than 40 total coliform samples per month, the MCL is "1" for total coliform. The MCLG is "0".)

How to Report Fluoride in Your CCR

Simply put, if fluoride has been detected in the water you serve, you are required to include this result in your report. If your lab reports a "non-detect" for fluoride, do not include fluoride in your report.

Overall, whether fluoride is naturally present, your system fluoridates, or you purchase fluoridated water, it is important for you to communicate to your customers that fluoride levels in drinking water vary. Levels may not always be within the desirable therapeutic range of 0.6 to 2.0 mg/L (or parts per million, ppm) at their tap. (Note that this therapeutic range includes the levels of 0.8 to 1.3 mg/L that are required by WAC 246-290-460 to be maintained in the distribution system of water systems that fluoridate.) Fluoride levels reported in your CCR should not be used by medical or dental professionals as a basis for prescribing fluoride supplements. You should encourage your customers to contact you for system-specific information on your fluoridation practices.

Now for a bit more detail:

Fluoride is an element with a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 4 mg/L. If you have fluoride levels above the state reporting level (SRL) of 0.2 mg/L, you are required to include these results in your report's data summary table. You also must include the MCL, MCL Goal and typical source language that are provided in WAC Chapter 246-290-72012.

If your system purchases water from another system, and the water that you purchase has fluoride above 0.2 mg/L, you are required to report this to your customers. This information should be in the water quality report that the system supplying your water is required to provide to you by April of this year.

Fluoride is a beneficial chemical at levels of 0.6 mg/L to 2.0 mg/L whether it occurs naturally or is added during water treatment.

To avoid confusion among your customers when reporting levels of fluoride above 0.2 mg/L and below 2.0 mg/L, we recommend you refer to fluoride using terms such as substance, compound, chemical, element or analyte. Fluoride does not need to be listed as a "contaminant."

If you need to report fluoride levels at or above 2.0 mg/L and below 4.0 mg/L, we suggest you mention that fluoride at levels above 2.0 mg/L may result in mottled teeth.

If you need to report a fluoride level that is above its MCL of 4.0 mg/L, you also need to include the required possible health effects language provided in WAC Chapter 246-290-72012 of the regulation.

If you add fluoride to the water, you may want to include a brief explanation in the text of your report that explains why you add fluoride to the distribution system. Perhaps, for example, your community voted for fluoridation because of its recognized positive effects on dental health.

Monitoring Waivers for Asbestos and Reporting a Monitoring Violation for Asbestos if You Don't Monitor for it

Asbestos monitoring is required under federal regulations and Chapter 246-290-300(4) of the state WAC. It is a primary inorganic chemical subject to a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) and may need to be addressed in your consumer confidence report depending on whether your system qualifies for a waiver.

DOH offers a monitoring waiver for asbestos to systems that have less than 10 percent asbestos cement (AC) pipe and that use only springs, groundwater, purchased water, or inter-tie sources. If your system fits this description, you must have completed an Asbestos Monitoring Waiver Form in order for the waiver to be in effect. If you did not file this form with DOH, you did not receive the waiver. If you have any questions about the asbestos waiver, please contact your Drinking Water regional office.

Systems that have10 percent or more AC pipe and systems that use surface water or a combination of surface water and other sources are not eligible for a monitoring waiver for asbestos.

So, as far as your CCR goes, if you did not monitor for asbestos, but your system qualifies for an asbestos monitoring waiver and you filed the form with DOH, you do not need to report a monitoring violation in your consumer confidence report.

If you did not monitor for asbestos and your system does not qualify for an asbestos monitoring waiver, you must call out an asbestos monitoring violation in your consumer confidence report. Do not include this monitoring violation in your detected data summary table. In a separate part of your report, list asbestos, its MCL, MCL Goal (MCLG) and typical source language (provided in WAC Chapter 246-290-72012). Explain the violation in the text of your report by (1) saying how long you've been out of compliance, (2) including the health effects language (provided in WAC Chapter 246-290-72012), and (3) describing any actions your system has taken or will take to correct the violation.

If you don't have an asbestos monitoring waiver and your laboratory result indicates asbestos was detected, you need to report an asbestos detection in your consumer confidence report. Please see (or click on) Writing Assistance for help with writing your consumer confidence report.

How to Talk About Radionuclides in Your CCR

Community water systems are required to monitor for radionuclides under EPA regulations and Chapter 246-290-300 (9) of the WAC. Most community systems are required to monitor for radionuclides every four years, although systems downstream from a nuclear facility may need to monitor as frequently as every three months. The CCR regulation requires you to go back as far as five calendar years for data to include in your report.

If you monitored for radionuclides during the last five calendar years and your lab report indicates radionuclides were detected, summarize the most recent of your results in your CCR data summary table. If your lab report indicates radionuclides were not detected, you do not need to include radionuclides in your report.

If you have not monitored for radionuclides during the last five years (and were required to do so), the CCR regulation requires you to report this as a radionuclide monitoring violation. Do not include this monitoring violation in your data summary table of detections. In a separate part of your report, list the type of radionuclides you should have monitored for, their MCLs, MCLGs, and typical sources (provided in WAC Chapter 246-290-72012). Explain the violation by (1) saying how long you've been out of compliance (state if and when you last monitored for radionuclides), (2) including the potential health effects language of WAC Chapter 26-290-72012, and (3) describing any actions your system has taken or will take to correct the violation (that is, for example, when you will next monitor for radionuclides).

The Department of Health determined that radionuclide monitoring is a low health priority in Washington State based on historical water quality data. You may want to explain to your customers that, although you have been required to monitor for radionuclides, we have not been actively enforcing this requirement. Although we anticipate that radionuclides will remain a low health priority, it is the responsibility of a water purveyor to comply with all state and federal drinking water regulations. Please see Writing Assistance for help writing your CCR.

Training and Assistance Opportunities

Does the state have a guidance document? Will the state send me a form that doesn't need a computer to be filled out? Will workshops be offered?

The state developed a guidance document titled Tips for Preparing User-Friendly Consumer Confidence Reports 331-296. This booklet provides a comprehensive tool for preparing CCRs.

We are currently looking into shifting some of our resources to support CCR training and education. Please check our training calendar for up-to-date information about CCR training opportunities offered by professional organizations. And last, but not least, click here for assistance with writing this year's report.