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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 590. Waterworks Regulations
6/30/2022

12VAC5-590-545. Consumer confidence reports.

A. Purpose and applicability.

1. The owner of a community waterworks shall deliver to the owner's customers an annual report that contains information on the quality of the water delivered by the waterworks and characterizes the risks, if any, from exposure to contaminants detected in the drinking water.

2. For the purpose of this section, customers are defined as billing units or service connections to which water is delivered by a community waterworks.

3. For the purpose of this section, a contaminant is detected when the laboratory reports the contaminant level as a measured level and not as "non-detect," "not detected," "ND," or less than a certain level. These express that an analyte in a test sample cannot be reliably detected with the test equipment or laboratory instrumentation and the method used.

B. Effective dates.

1. The owner of an existing community waterworks shall deliver the report by July 1 annually.

2. The owner of a new community waterworks shall deliver the first report by July 1 of the year after its first full calendar year in operation and annually thereafter.

3. The owner of a community waterworks that sells water to a consecutive waterworks shall deliver the applicable information necessary to comply with the requirements contained in this section to the consecutive waterworks by April 1 annually, or on a date mutually agreed upon by the seller and the purchaser and specifically included in a contract between the parties.

C. Content.

1. The owner of a community waterworks shall provide the owner's customers an annual report that contains the information on the source of the water delivered as follows:

a. The report shall identify the source of the water delivered by the community waterworks by providing information on:

(1) The type of the source water (e.g., surface water, ground water); and

(2) The commonly used name, if any, and location of the body of the source water.

b. Where a source water assessment has been completed, the report shall:

(1) Notify consumers of the availability of the assessment;

(2) Describe the means to obtain the assessment; and

(3) Include a brief summary of the waterworks' susceptibility to potential sources of contamination.

c. The owner is encouraged to highlight in the report significant sources of contamination in the source water area if the information is readily available.

2. For the purpose of compliance with this section, the report shall include the following definitions:

a. "Maximum contaminant level goal" or "MCLG" means the level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

b. "Maximum contaminant level" or "MCL" means the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

c. The report for a community waterworks operating under a variance or an exemption issued by the commissioner under 12VAC5-590-140 and 12VAC5-590-150 shall include the following definition: "Variances and exemptions" means state or EPA permission not to meet an MCL or a treatment technique under certain conditions.

d. The report that contains data on contaminants that EPA regulates using any of the following terms shall include the applicable definitions:

(1) "Treatment technique" means a required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

(2) "Action level" means the concentration of a contaminant that, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements that an owner shall follow.

(3) "Maximum residual disinfectant level goal" or "MRDLG" means the level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

(4) "Maximum residual disinfectant level" or "MRDL" means the highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for the control of microbial contaminants.

(5) "Level 1 assessment" means a study of the waterworks to identify potential problems and determine, if possible, why total coliform bacteria have been found in waterworks.

(6) "Level 2 assessment" means a very detailed study of the waterworks to identify potential problems and determine, if possible, why an E. coli PMCL violation has occurred and why total coliform bacteria have been found in waterworks on multiple occasions.

3. Information on detected contaminants.

a. This section specifies the requirements for information to be included in the report for contaminants subject to a PMCL, AL, MRDL, or treatment technique as specified in 12VAC5-590-340.

b. The data relating to these contaminants shall be displayed in one table or in several adjacent tables. Any additional monitoring results that an owner of a community waterworks chooses to include in the report shall be displayed separately.

c. The data shall be derived from data collected to comply with EPA and state monitoring and analytical requirements during the calendar year preceding the year the report is due, except that where an owner is allowed to monitor for contaminants specified in subdivision C 3 a of this section less often than once a year, the table shall include the date and results of the most recent sampling, and the report shall include a brief statement indicating that the data presented in the report are from the most recent testing done in accordance with this chapter. No data older than five years need be included.

d. For detected contaminants subject to a PMCL, AL, MRDL, or treatment technique as listed in Tables 340.1 through 340.7, the tables shall contain:

(1) The PMCL for that contaminant expressed as a number equal to or greater than 1.0 as provided in 12VAC5-590-546;

(2) The MCLG for that contaminant expressed in the same units as the PMCL as provided in 12VAC5-590-546;

(3) If there is no PMCL for a detected contaminant, then the tables shall indicate that there is a treatment technique, or specify the AL, applicable to that contaminant, and the report shall include the definitions for treatment technique, AL, or both, as appropriate, specified in subdivision C 3 d of this section;

(4) For contaminants subject to a PMCL, except turbidity and E. coli, the highest contaminant level used to determine compliance and the range of detected levels is as follows:

(a) When compliance with the PMCL is determined annually or less frequently, the highest detected level at any sampling point and the range of detected levels expressed in the same units as the PMCL.

(b) When compliance with the PMCL is determined by calculating an RAA of all samples collected at a sampling point, the highest average of any of the sampling points and the range of all sampling points expressed in the same units as the PMCL. For the PMCLs for TTHM and HAA5, the owner shall include the highest LRAA and the range of individual sample results for all sampling points expressed in the same units as the PMCL. If more than one location exceeds the TTHM or HAA5 PMCL, then the owner shall include the LRAAs for all locations that exceed the PMCL.

(c) When compliance with the PMCL is determined on a system-wide basis by calculating an RAA of all samples at all sampling points, the average and range of detection expressed in the same units as the PMCL. The range of detection for TTHM and HAA5 shall include the individual sample results for the purpose of establishing the monitoring locations for EPA's "Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule" initial distribution system evaluation.

(5) For turbidity, the highest single measurement and the lowest monthly percentage of combined filter samples meeting the turbidity limits specified in 12VAC5-590-395 A 2 b for the filtration technology being used. The report should include an explanation of the reasons for measuring turbidity;

(6) For lead and copper, the 90th percentile value of the most recent round of sampling and the number of sampling sites exceeding the AL;

(7) For E. coli, the total number of positive samples; and

(8) The likely source or sources of the detected contaminants. Specific information regarding contaminants may be available in sanitary surveys and source water assessments, and should be used when available to the owner. If the owner lacks specific information on the likely source, then the report shall include one or more of the typical sources for that contaminant listed in 12VAC5-590-546 that are most applicable to the system.

e. If the owner of a community waterworks distributes water to the owner's customers from multiple hydraulically independent distribution systems that are fed by different source waters, then:

(1) The table shall contain a separate column for each service area and the report shall identify each separate distribution system; or

(2) The owner shall produce a separate report tailored to include data for each service area.

f. The table shall clearly identify any data indicating violations of PMCLs, MRDLs, or treatment techniques and the report shall contain a clear and readily understandable explanation of the violation including:

(1) The length of the violation;

(2) The potential adverse health effects using the relevant language of 12VAC5-590-546; and

(3) Actions taken by the owner to address the violation.

4. Information on Cryptosporidium, radon, and other contaminants:

a. If the owner has performed any monitoring for Cryptosporidium, which indicates that Cryptosporidium may be present in the source water or the finished water, then the report shall include:

(1) A summary of the results of the monitoring; and

(2) An explanation of the significance of the results.

b. If the owner has performed any monitoring for radon, which indicates that radon may be present in the finished water, then the report shall include:

(1) The results of the monitoring; and

(2) An explanation of the significance of the results.

c. If the owner has performed additional monitoring that indicates the presence of other contaminants in the finished water, then the report should include any results that may indicate a health concern, as determined by the commissioner or department. Detections above a proposed MCL or health advisory level may indicate possible health concerns. For these contaminants, the report should include:

(1) The results of the monitoring; and

(2) An explanation of the significance of the results noting the existence of a health advisory or a proposed regulation.

5. Compliance with other regulations. In addition to the requirements of subdivision C 3 f of this section, the report shall note any violation that occurred during the year covered by the report of a requirement listed in this subdivision 5:

a. Monitoring and reporting of compliance data;

b. Filtration and disinfection prescribed by 12VAC5-590-395. For an owner who has failed to install adequate filtration or disinfection equipment or processes or has had a failure of such equipment or processes that constitutes a violation, the report shall include the following language as part of the explanation of potential adverse health effects: "Inadequately treated water may contain disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches";

c. Lead and copper control requirements prescribed by 12VAC5-590-375. For that fails to take one or more of the prescribed actions, the report shall include the applicable language of 12VAC5-590-546 for lead, copper, or both;

d. Treatment techniques for acrylamide and epichlorohydrin prescribed by 12VAC5-590-395 B. For an owner who violates the requirements of that section, the report shall include the relevant language from 12VAC5-590-546;

e. Recordkeeping of compliance data;

f. Special monitoring requirements for sodium; and

g. Violation of the terms of a variance, an exemption, or an administrative or judicial order.

6. Variances and exemptions. If a waterworks is operating under the terms of a variance or an exemption issued by the commissioner under 12VAC5-590-140 and 12VAC5-590-150, then the report shall contain:

a. An explanation of the reasons for the variance or exemption;

b. The date on which the variance or exemption was issued;

c. A brief status report on the steps the owner is taking to install treatment, find alternative sources of source water, or otherwise comply with the terms and schedules of the variance or exemption; and

d. A notice of any opportunity for public input in the evaluation or renewal of the variance or exemption.

7. Additional information.

a. The report shall contain a brief explanation regarding contaminants, which may reasonably be expected to be found in drinking water including bottled water. This explanation shall include the exact language of subdivisions 7 a (1), 7 a (2), and 7 a (3) of this subsection or the owner shall use comparable language following approval by the department. The report also shall include the exact language of subdivision 7 a (4) of this subsection.

(1) The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes or reservoirs, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.

(2) Contaminants that may be present in source water include: (i) microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife; (ii) inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming; (iii) pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and residential uses; (iv) organic chemical contaminants, including SOCs and VOCs, which are byproducts of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems; and (v) radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

(3) To ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in the water provided by waterworks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health.

(4) Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).

b. The report shall include the telephone number of the owner, operator, or designee of the community waterworks as a source of additional information concerning the report.

c. In communities with a large proportion of non-English-speaking residents, as determined by the department, the report shall contain information in the appropriate languages regarding the importance of the report or contain a telephone number or address where the residents may contact the waterworks to obtain a translated copy of the report or assistance in the appropriate language.

d. The report shall include the following information about opportunities for public participation in decisions that may affect the quality of the drinking water. The owner should consider including the following additional relevant information:

(1) The time and place of regularly scheduled board meetings of the governing body that has authority over the waterworks; and

(2) If regularly scheduled board meetings are not held, then the name and telephone number of a waterworks representative who has operational or managerial authority over the waterworks.

e. The owner may include additional information as deemed necessary for public education consistent with, and not detracting from, the purpose of the report.

f. For a community groundwater system:

(1) Where there is a significant deficiency that is uncorrected at the time of the report or an E. coli-positive source water sample that is not invalidated in accordance with 12VAC5-590-380 at the time of the report, the owner shall report the following:

(a) The nature of the significant deficiency or the source water, if known, of the E. coli contamination;

(b) The date the significant deficiency was identified by the department or the date or dates of the E. coli-positive source water samples;

(c) Whether the E. coli contamination has been addressed in accordance with 12VAC5-590-421 and the date of the action;

(d) The department-approved plan and schedule, including interim measures, progress to date, and which interim measures have been completed for correcting the significant deficiency or E. coli contamination; and

(e) The potential health effects language in 12VAC5-590-546 for an E. coli-positive source water sample that is not invalidated in accordance with 12VAC5-590-380.

(2) If directed by the department, where there are significant deficiencies that have been corrected at the time of the report, then the owner shall report the significant deficiencies, how the deficiencies were corrected, and the date or dates of correction.

D. Additional health information.

1. All reports shall prominently display the following language: Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).

2. The owner that detects arsenic at levels above 0.005 mg/L, but equal to or below the PMCL of 0.010 mg/L, shall include in the report the following informational statement about arsenic: "While your drinking water meets EPA's standard for arsenic, it does contain low levels of arsenic. EPA's standard balances the current understanding of arsenic's possible health effects against the cost of removing arsenic from drinking water. EPA continues to research the health effects of low levels of arsenic, which is a mineral known to cause cancer in humans at high concentrations and is linked to other health effects such as skin damage and circulatory problems."

Instead of the statement required in this subdivision, the owner may include the owner's educational statement after receiving approval from the department.

3. The owner that detects nitrate at levels above 5 mg/L, but below the PMCL, shall include in the report the following informational statement about the impacts of nitrate on children: "Nitrate in drinking water at levels above 10 ppm is a health risk for infants of less than six months of age. High nitrate levels in drinking water can cause blue baby syndrome. Nitrate levels may rise quickly for short periods of time because of rainfall or agricultural activity. If you are caring for an infant, then you should ask advice from your health care provider."

Instead of the statement required in this subdivision, the owner may include the owner's own educational statement after receiving approval from the department.

4. All reports shall prominently display the following language: "If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. (Name of Utility) is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to two minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, then you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791)."

Instead of the statement required in this subdivision, the owner may include the owner's educational statement after receiving approval from the department.

E. The owner of a community waterworks required to complete a Level 1 or a Level 2 assessment that is not due to an E. coli PMCL violation shall include in the report the text specified in subdivisions E 1, E 2, and E 3 of this section as appropriate, filling in the blanks accordingly, and shall include in the report the text specified in subdivision E 4 of this section, if appropriate.

1. "Coliforms are bacteria that are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other, potentially harmful, waterborne pathogens may be present or that a potential pathway exists through which contamination may enter the drinking water distribution system. We found coliforms indicating the need to look for potential problems in water treatment or distribution. When this occurs, we are required to conduct assessments to identify problems and to correct any problems that are found."

2. "During the past year, we were required to conduct (insert the number of Level 1 assessments) Level 1 assessments. (insert the number of Level 1 assessments) Level 1 assessments were completed. In addition, we were required to take t (insert the number of corrective actions) corrective actions and we completed (insert the number of corrective actions) of these actions."

3. "During the past year (insert the number of Level 2 assessments) Level 2 assessments were required to be completed for our waterworks. (insert the number of Level 2 assessments) Level 2 assessments were completed. In addition, we were required to take (insert the number of corrective actions) corrective actions and we completed (insert the number of corrective actions) of these actions."

4. An owner that failed to complete all of the required assessments or correct all identified sanitary defects shall also include one or both of the following statements, as appropriate:

a. "During the past year, we failed to conduct all of the required assessments."

b. "During the past year, we failed to correct all identified sanitary defects that were found during the assessments."

F. The owner of a community waterworks required to conduct Level 2 assessments due to an E. coli PMCL violation shall include in the report the text specified in subdivisions F 1 and F 2 of this section, filling in the blanks accordingly, and shall include in the report the text specified in subdivision F 3 of this section, if appropriate.

1. "E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Human pathogens in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a greater health risk for infants, young children, the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. We found E. coli, indicating the need to look for potential problems in water treatment or distribution. When this occurs, we are required to conduct assessments to identify problems and to correct any problems that are found."

2. "We were required to complete a Level 2 assessment because we found E. coli in our waterworks. In addition, we were required to take (insert number of corrective actions) corrective actions and we completed (insert number of corrective actions) of these actions."

3. Any owner that has failed to complete the required assessment or correct all identified sanitary defects shall also include one or both of the following statements, as appropriate:

a. "We failed to conduct the required assessment."

b. "We failed to correct all sanitary defects that were identified during the assessment that we conducted."

4. If E. coli is detected in a waterworks and the E. coli PMCL is violated, in addition to completing the table as specified in subdivision C 3 d of this section, the owner shall include one or more of the following statements to describe any noncompliance, as applicable:

a. "We had an E. coli-positive repeat sample following a total coliform-positive routine sample."

b. "We had a total coliform-positive repeat sample following an E. coli-positive routine sample."

c. "We failed to collect all the required repeat samples following an E. coli-positive routine sample."

d. "We failed to test for E. coli when any repeat sample tested positive for total coliform."

5. If E. coli is detected in a waterworks and the E. coli PMCL is not violated, in addition to completing the table as specified in subdivision C 3 d of this section, the owner may include a statement that explains that although E. coli was detected, the owner is not in violation of the E. coli PMCL.

G. Report delivery and recordkeeping.

1. The owner of a community waterworks shall mail or otherwise directly deliver one copy of the report to each customer, except as follows:

a. The owner serving fewer than 10,000 persons shall have the option to either mail (or otherwise directly deliver) a copy of the report to each customer or publish the report in a local newspaper or newspapers of general circulation serving the area in which the waterworks is located by July 1 of each year; and

b. If the owner chooses to publish the report, then the owner shall inform customers, either in the newspaper in which the report is to be published or by other means approved by the department, that a copy of the report will not be mailed to them and that a copy of the report will be made available to the public upon request.

2. The owner of a community waterworks shall make a good faith effort to deliver the report to the consumers who are served by the waterworks but are not bill-paying customers, such as renters or workers. This good faith effort shall include at least one, and preferably two or more, of the following methods appropriate to the particular waterworks:

a. Posting the reports on the Internet;

b. Mailing to postal patrons in metropolitan areas;

c. Advertising the availability of the report in the news media;

d. Publishing in a local newspaper;

e. Posting in public places such as libraries, community centers, and public buildings;

f. Delivering multiple copies for distribution by single-biller customers such as apartment buildings or large private employers;

g. Delivering to community organizations; or

h. Other methods as approved by the department.

3. No later than July 1 of each year, the owner of a community waterworks shall deliver a copy of the report to the department, followed within three months by a certification that the report has been distributed to customers and that the information in the report is correct and consistent with the compliance monitoring data previously submitted to the department.

4. No later than July 1 of each year, the owner of a community waterworks shall deliver the report to any other agency or clearinghouse specified by the department.

5. The owner of a community waterworks shall make the report available to the public upon request.

6. The owner of a community waterworks serving 100,000 or more persons shall post the current year's report to a publicly accessible site on the Internet.

7. The owner of a community waterworks shall retain copies of the report for no less than three years.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-170 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 21, eff. August 3, 2000; amended, Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 24, eff. September 6, 2006; Volume 25, Issue 5, eff. December 10, 2008; Volume 27, Issue 1, eff. October 13, 2010; Volume 28, Issue 5, eff. December 7, 2011; Volume 28, Issue 11, eff. March 1, 2012; Volume 33, Issue 3, eff. November 2, 2016; Volume 37, Issue 20, eff. June 23, 2021; Errata, 37:22 VA.R. 3448 June 21, 2021.

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