| EPA issues revised requirements for Consumer Confidence Reports
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EPA issues revised requirements for Consumer Confidence Reports

U.S. drinking water utilities will be required to provide water quality information with greater clarity and with accessibility in mind under the final Consumer Confidence Report Rule Revisions announced this week. 

The rule’s first compliance date is Jan. 1, 2027, meaning that water systems are expected to comply with the revisions beginning with Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs) due July 1, 2027 (summarizing data from 2026).

With input from member volunteers, Sections, and partner organizations, the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Government Affairs Office provided detailed comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the substance and process of the proposal, including suggestions for clarifying language and revising unmanageable deadlines. Responding to AWWA comments on the proposed rule, EPA removed language that brought into question if water could be described as “safe,” even if it met all standards.

A requirement in America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA) tasked the EPA with ensuring that annual drinking water quality reports are more understandable and accessible to the public. In April 2023, EPA proposed updates to the rule. 

Some key changes in the final CCR rule include:

  • A requirement that water systems serving greater than 10,000 people must provide a CCR twice per year. The deadline for the first report will remain July 1, with the second delivery taking place by the end of that year. 
  • Increased requirements for translation and accessibility of the CCR for those with limited English proficiency and/or disabilities. This includes information where consumers can either obtain a translated copy of the report or assistance in the appropriate language.
  • Addition of a summary section at the beginning of the CCR containing specific key elements. This should include information about any violations and compliance, contact information, and how to request a paper copy of the report.
  • Codification of most existing electronic delivery options into regulation. It is valid for water systems to provide notice via mail or email that the CCR is available, with a direct link to the report. 
  • Shortened timeline for certification of CCR delivery to the primacy agency. The rule requires that water systems certify that delivery of the CCR has been completed within 10 days of the delivery deadline. The previous deadline was three months.
  • Primacy agencies are required to provide all compliance data annually to EPA. This includes all compliance monitoring and related monitoring data for national primary drinking water standards. States have three years before the first submission is due.

“All U.S. community water systems are impacted by the revised CCR Rule, and we encourage them to begin planning now for these changes and to collaborate with their primacy agency on how to implement them well in advance of the 2027 deadline,” said Adam Carpenter, AWWA’s energy and environmental policy manager. 

“The collaboration of AWWA and its member volunteers, Sections and partners was very effective in helping the EPA develop constructive revisions to the CCR Rule that will hopefully strengthen communications and trust between drinking water providers and their communities and consumers,” said Matt Junker, vice chair of AWWA’s Public Affairs Council.