Highlights from United Water’s Environmental Health and Safety Conference

Every year at United Water, we host an “Environmental Health and Safety Conference (EHS),” which is attended by many of our employees and prominent leaders as featured speakers. This year’s EHS Conference was hosted by Brent Fewell, Senior Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety, in Washington D.C. We were honored to have several guest speakers, including Peter Grevatt, Ph.D, director of the U.S. EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water; Richard E. Fairfax, CIH, deputy assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health, and Jonathan Neubauer, EHS manager for EnPro, two time winner of “America’s Safest Company” award. This year, key topics and discussion points for the conference included EHS priorities for 2013, leveraging greater employee engagement and refining our tools to accelerate improvements in safety and environmental performance. Much of the offsite focus was on deploying best practices across the company, including the use of e-CCRs. During the conference, Peter Gravatt emphasized to United Water managers EPA’s CCR policy change, which allows public water providers to use electronic transmission of CCRs. He further discussed how important it is for the public to have access to drinking water quality information 365 days a year. United Water customers who do not have computer access or do not wish to receive electronic version of the report, paper copies of CCRs will remain a viable source of water quality information. Richard Fairfax shared with the participants OSHA’s enforcement priorities and promoted the Agency’s voluntary protection program as a way to help improve the safety of...

What Our Customers Should Know About Drinking Water Consumer Confidence Reports

In the United States the safety and quality of drinking water is set and enforced by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the main federal law that ensures the quality of drinking water in our country. Under this federal law, EPA along with various state and local regulatory bodies oversees the standard and safety of water provided by municipal and private water supplier. Since its inception in 1974, SDWA has played an important role in protecting public health by regulating the nation’s public drinking water supply. After 1974, SDWA was updated in 1986 and 1996 to ensure continued safety of our water. One of the key amendments made in 1996 was the requirement for all community water systems to report annually to their customers regarding the quality of their drinking water and any risks associated with contaminants detected in the water. This report, called the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), must be provided to all customers for the previous calendar year by July 1 of each year. Every year United Water mails these Water Quality Reports to our customers, which contain important information about how our drinking water complies with government standards. A new development this year related to CCR has been the electronic availability of the report. In January 2013, the EPA issued a memorandum to all water systems allowing them to electronically deliver the CCRs to their customers. Historically a physical copy of the CCR, typically 8-10 pages, was mailed to all customers. We at United Water believe that this change is not only convenient for our customers, allowing them timely and...