EPA Review of CCR Rule a Victory for Water Systems and Consumers

January 3, 2013

Rule clarification will modernize delivery, save communities millions

Washington, D.C. – The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) today applauded an EPA interpretive memorandum, “Consumer Confidence Report Electronic Delivery Options and Considerations,” that modernizes the delivery of Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs) under the Safe Drinking Water Act and will help communities across the country save millions of dollars in printing and postage costs.

“For nearly two years, AMWA has worked with EPA and members of Congress to give consumers a wider range of options for accessing their annual CCR,” said AMWA Executive Director Diane VanDe Hei. “We are very pleased that today’s memo clarifies that a water system may fulfill the reporting requirements of the CCR rule by providing a direct URL for a web-based CCR on water bills sent to customers.”

According to EPA’s interpretive memo, community water systems will not be required to mail paper copies of annual CCRs if they publish the CCR on a public website and notify customers of its availability through a notice on a water bill, a mailed insert, or a community newsletter. If a utility has current customer email addresses, the CCR may be sent to those customers via email. In every case, utilities would notify customers that a paper copy of the CCR will be sent by mail upon request. The memo does not make any changes to the contents of CCRs.

“Metropolitan drinking water systems spent an average of $44,000 to print and mail their CCRs in 2012,” said VanDe Hei. “This translates to nearly $20 million for all drinking water systems that serve more than 100,000 people, so EPA’s memo will help communities across the country realize significant savings.”

EPA’s memo is similar to H.R. 1340 and S. 1578, legislation introduced in the 112th Congress by Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) that would have amended the SDWA statute to allow the electronic distribution of CCRs. AMWA endorsed these bills, which won bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.

“Congressman Young and Senator Toomey were instrumental in building support for electronic CCR delivery, and this momentum carried over into EPA’s review,” said VanDe Hei. “EPA’s actions show the true benefits of partnerships and cooperation.”

The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies is an organization of the largest publicly owned drinking water suppliers in the United States.

Contact: Dan Hartnett