Five Arizona water systems receive administrative orders from EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued administrative orders to several water systems throughout Arizona that have failed to prepare, distribute and certify their Consumer Confidence Reports, a violation of federal drinking water laws.

SAN FRANCISCO, August 8, 2008 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued administrative orders to several water systems throughout Arizona that have failed to prepare, distribute and certify their Consumer Confidence Reports, a violation of federal drinking water laws.

Consumer Confidence Reports are the centerpiece of public right to know provisions under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The report is an annual snapshot of the local water quality and is required July 1st of every year. Failure to comply with the order could result in penalties of up of $32,500 per day, per violation.

"Customers deserve to know what is in their drinking water so they can make informed decisions about their health," said Alexis Strauss, Water Division director for the EPA's Pacific Southwest region. "It is important for all public drinking water systems to prepare and distribute these reports, regardless of size."

The largest water system in the group serves 900 people while the smallest serves 32.

While these orders do not necessarily indicate poor water quality or violations of federal drinking water standards, the agency considers these violations significant because consumers have a right to know what is in their drinking water and owners or operators are required to communicate how their system is operating.

Under federal law, public drinking water systems serve over 25 people year-round. Consumer confidence reporting requirements help consumers understand where their drinking water originates, how safe their drinking water is and provides information about the system. These reports require systems to disclose all violations within the last year along with a clear, understandable explanation of any potential health effects, length of the violation, and steps taken toward correcting the violation.

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