New Legislation Envisions Quarterly Consumer Confidence Reporting
Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives last week would force community water systems to send consumer confidence reports (CCRs) to all customers every three months – or four times as frequently as they are currently required. Sponsored by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), the full text of the legislation (H.R. 3206) was not available as of late last week. But congressional staff familiar with the proposal said that, in addition to increasing the frequency of CCRs, it would also direct EPA to undertake a new rulemaking process to improve the “understandability” of CCRs to the public.
The Safe Drinking Water Act currently requires community water systems to mail CCRs to their customers on an annual basis, and in 2013 EPA reinterpreted its rules governing CCRs to allow water systems to distribute the reports electronically, such as through an online posting that is publicized to utility customers. AMWA data indicates that this change has saved water systems hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in printing, handing and postage costs, but some congressional Democrats have criticized EPA’s move for potentially reducing the public’s access to CCRs.
H.R. 3206 will not advance through Congress independently, but Democrats are expected to attempt to add it to a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) reauthorization bill approved by a House subcommittee last week.