On January 3, 2013, EPA interpreted the existing federal regulations pertaining to direct delivery of Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs) as allowing several options for electronic delivery (e‐delivery).  No changes were made to the CCR regulation.  Community Public Water Systems (PWSs) must continue to meet all the same requirements (e.g., content, Good Faith Efforts to reach non‐bill paying consumers, foreign language, certification, etc.).  Please note that e‐delivery is optional.  Systems may choose to continue past delivery methods including regular mail, door‐to‐door delivery or posting in an appropriate location (when approved).

For PWSs that intend to use e‐delivery the following information is applicable:

  • MassDEP will accept e‐delivery of CCRs starting with the report due July 1, 2013.
  • Community PWSs must prominently display a message informing their customers of the option of obtaining a hardcopy CCR and how they can do so
  • MassDEP will allow e‐delivery via a mailed post card, bill stuffer, or other notice that includes a direct URL (i.e., web address), an email that contains a direct URL, or an email that contains the full CCR as part of the message (either as an attachment or as an embedded image).  Any other e‐delivery method must be approved by MassDEP prior to its use.  Direct URLs must open to the CCR without the need to browse to other web pages.
  • MassDEP will require that all CCRs be delivered to customers by July 1 of each year.  If an email method is used and it is undeliverable for any reason, a paper CCR must be mailed to that customer by July 1.
  • MassDEP will require that the CCR URL be live until the next year’s CCR is issued.
  • MassDEP has updated our CCR certification form to include e‐delivery options (http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water/approvals/drinking‐water‐forms.html#2). All community PWSs must use this new form starting with the report due July 1, 2013.
  • The signed certification can be delivered to MassDEP (program.director-dwp@state.ma.us) and Mass DPH (dph.ccr@massmail.state.ma.us) via email.  Contact your local board of health to see if they will accept their copy via email. Certification must include both a complete copy (either a hardcopy or PDF) of the CCR and the URL. Only sending the URL is not acceptable.
  • Social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) and automated phone calls do not meet the direct delivery requirement but can be used to meet Good Faith Effort requirements.

The EPA memorandum can be found on the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-12/documents/ccrdeliveryoptionsmemo.pdf.  Systems without Internet access or that are unable to download this memorandum can obtain a hardcopy by contacting the MassDEP staff listed at the end of this letter.   MassDEP strongly recommends that all systems read the EPA memorandum as it covers issues for consideration, provides helpful examples and expands on the helpful information below.

 

Good Faith Efforts and Postal Patron Mailings 

Community PWSs must mail or otherwise directly deliver a CCR to all “customers,” defined as bill‐paying consumers.  Community PWSs must also make three Good Faith Efforts to reach the non‐billed consumers.  Mailing out CCRs to the postal patrons in a PWS service area will reach more people than mailing to bill‐paying customers, but it has its limitations. Postal patrons may not include people who work in the service area but live in a different one.  If a system decides to use a postal patron mailing, they are still required to do three additional Good Faith Efforts.

 

Combinations of Delivery Methods 

In order to reach all customers, community PWSs will likely have to use a combination of e‐delivery and mailed paper copies.  Some customers prefer a hardcopy version and some will not have internet access. Both the hardcopy and the e‐copy must have all the required information in them.  The e‐copy allows the PWS to include additional information and can include links to this extra information.  If the e‐copy CCR is different from the hardcopy CCR both must be sent to MassDEP for review along with your delivery certification.

 

Web Content 

Community PWSs that post their CCR to a web page must have the site live as soon as the URL is delivered to its customers.  MassDEP will require that this site remain active until the next year’s CCR is delivered.  PWSs must keep copies of the most recent three years of CCRs; make sure when you upload a new CCR that the previous CCRs are archived properly, either online or as hardcopies in your files.  Try to make the URL as clear and distinct as possible; avoid characters that could easily be confused such as the number zero and the letter O or the capital letter L, the lower case letter l, and the number 1.  There are many URL‐shortening services out on the internet.  PWSs may use these services but do so at their own risk as these links can be broken or spam filters may prevent their delivery.  A PWS will be noncompliant with the CCR regulation if their URL is disabled.  If a system uses a web site to comply with the direct delivery requirement, that effort cannot also be counted as a Good Faith Effort.

 

Public Notice and e‐Delivery 

A CCR that includes a Tier 3 Public Notice may use e‐delivery.  All other Public Notices must follow existing delivery requirements and e‐delivery is not permitted. 

MassDEP may alter these policies over time to better meet the intent of e‐delivery.  If so we will send out another letter explaining any changes.  Should you have any questions on this information or on CCR, please contact Marie Tennant at marie.tennant@state.ma.us (617-292-5885) or Program Director at program.director-dwp@state.ma.us.