In observance of Water Week, Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) and the Citizens Environmental Research Institute (CERI) issued their fourth annual "report card" evaluation of how water suppliers across New York State have complied with state and federal consumer reporting requirements on the status and condition of drinking water for the year 2002.
"After four years of evaluating these reports, we have observed a marked improvement, overall, by water suppliers with regard to providing consumers with required information about their drinking water. The next big change in reporting will be an increased use of the internet to provide additional information on drinking water by water utilities," stated Sarah Meyland, CCE and CERI executive director. "The importance of a well-educated water consumer cannot be understated when it comes to building and maintaining support for drinking water protection," Meyland added.
Under state and federal law, public water suppliers must provide customers with specific information on drinking water quality including detected contaminants, methods of treatment, sources of water, health advisories, conservation information and system operating statistics.
CCE and CERI graded 101 water suppliers across the state to evaluate their compliance with the New York Annual Water Supply Statement Law and the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act in 2002. Both laws were enacted to enhance consumers right-to-know about drinking water quality, monitoring, stewardship and system operation.
Water suppliers are required to deliver the Annual Water Supply Statements to customers by May 31st of each year, based on data from the preceding year (2001). The water quality reports for 2002 were graded based on 23 specific criteria for water supply systems with over 1,000 customers and 17 criteria for those with less than 1,000.
The water supplier with the most outstanding publication continues to be the report from New York Citys Department of Environmental Protection. "Since their first report, New York City has set the standard for excellence. They provide a report that is full of useful and educational information, with easily understood charts and pictures, that goes well beyond just meeting the minimum information required by the law," said Meyland.
Other water suppliers receiving outstanding recognition included: The Village of Lowville, the Village of Hudson Falls, the Village of Hoosick Falls, the Village of Cobleskill, and Lake Place Village.
The evaluation, entitled Annual Water Quality Reports: A Report Card for the 2002 New York State Annual Water Supply Statements, is available from CCE and CERI upon request. It is also available on the Internet at www.citizenscampaign.org  under "Drinking Water Report Card".
CCE is an 80,000 member, not-for-profit advocacy organization working for the protection of public health and the natural environment in New York and Connecticut.
CERI is an educational research and education organization with a mission to advance prudent environmental practices and policies utilizing sound science.