If you have ever wondered where your water comes from, or what is in your drinking water, you will find the answer to these and more questions in the annual Drinking Water Quality Report (also known as the Consumer Confidence Report). Public water suppliers must provide these reports to their water customers each year by July 1, as required by the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
These reports are full of some complex language and long words (trihalomethanes?! Cryptosporidium?!). To help you understand the terms in your drinking water quality report, here are some helpful links from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the American Water Works Association (AWWA), and NSF International:
College Station maintains water quality in the distribution system through continuous monitoring of water pressure, temperature, disinfectant residual, and turbidity. Environmental Technicians collect over 100 water samples month after month throughout College Station for analysis by the Brazos County Health Department. Health Department technicians test the samples for Total Coliform bacteria, which are usually indicators of microbial contamination of drinking water because they are often found in association with other disease-causing organisms (though hardier than most pathogens).
Your drinking water is also tested on a regular basis for organic and inorganic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, metals, minerals, and more. Any substance detected will be listed in the annual drinking water quality reports linked above. If something isn't listed, it's because it was not detected in the regular sampling.
College Station Utilities also maintains a chlorine disinfectant residual of at least 0.2 milligrams per liter (mg/L) throughout the water distribution system to prevent against bacteriological contamination after the water leaves the Dowling Road Pump Station. Having a disinfectant residual is required to prevent the spread of waterborne disease.
In January 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed lowering the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water to 0.7 mg/L. College Station's drinking water comes from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer and, as noted in the drinking water quality reports linked above, contains approximately 0.4 mg/L fluoride already. Following this change by HHS, in September of 2011 the City of College Station discontinued adding fluoride to the drinking water. A detailed explanation of this decision to discontinue fluoridation can be found in this blog post from September 2011. More information about drinking water fluoridation, including its risks and benefits, can be found at DrinkTap.org
Water Quality Reports from previous years not included above are available by calling College Station Utilities at (979) 764-3660, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.