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Watch for Water Quality Report

Community water suppliers must provide customers with an annual report on the quality of their drinking water.

What do you know about the quality of your public water supply?

You should know a lot more after your community water system sends you a water quality report this summer. Water suppliers issue the report to their customers shortly before July 1 each year.

""It provides the consumers with detailed information regarding the source, treatment and quality of finished drinking water available to their community,"" says Roxanne Johnson, North Dakota State University Extension Service water quality associate. ""With this information, consumers can make personal health-based decisions concerning their drinking water consumption."

Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1996 to require that all community water systems provide their customers with the annual report.

Each report must include the following information about drinking water:

  • Source of the water, such as rivers, lakes, wells, reservoirs or a combination of these sources
  • Levels of any contaminants found in the local drinking water, even though they don't exceed the maximum contaminant level
  • Typical source of any detected contaminants in the local water supply and the susceptibility of a water supply to potential contamination
  • Maximum contaminant levels that the Environmental Protection Agency considers potentially harmful
  • Any violation of drinking water standards and an explanation of the water system's actions to make the water safe again
  • Educational statement on Cryptosporidium, a water-borne pathogen that causes a diarrheal illness, and the need for certain vulnerable populations to avoid exposure to it

The report also includes information on contaminants that are not harmful, including silica, sodium and potassium, and other factors that affect the water, such as pH (acidity) level, color, odor, hardness, alkalinity and temperature.

""These issues are not health-related but may make your water less appealing,"" Johnson says.

If you do not receive the report, you may want to check your community's Web site or call your local water department and request a copy of the most recent document.


Agriculture Communication

Source:Roxanne Johnson, (701) 231-8926, roxanne.m.johnson@ndsu.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
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