The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Finance Center, in collaboration with the...
Survey finds consumers do not consider specific contaminants when treating tap water
According to NSF Intl.’s 2013 Water Quality Survey, U.S. consumers are not doing their due diligence before buying a water treatment system. The survey of 942 American adults who use water filtration products found that less than one-fifth (17%) research the contaminants in their local water supply and purchase a water filter that has been tested and certified to reduce those contaminants.
NSF Intl.’s survey revealed that more than half of Americans (55%) who have a home water filter purchased the water treatment system for reasons unrelated to the quality of their tap water, citing the following as influencing their decision: the system came with the home (35%), was recommended by family or friends (11%) or received positive online reviews (8%).
One of the easiest ways for consumers to understand the contaminants found in their water is through Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs), also referred to as Water Quality Reports. These reports provide a snapshot of water quality in a specific city or area and detailed data regarding which contaminants have been detected in the water, the levels (amounts) at which they were detected and how these levels compare to those outlined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water regulations.
The EPA requires most community water systems to provide customers with an annual water quality report or CCR. Most homeowners will receive a copy of the report in the mail each year typically around July 1. People living in apartments or condominiums may not receive a copy directly but can access this information on their community's website or by calling their local water department.
Although these free reports contain useful information, NSF Intl.’s survey results found that many consumers are not utilizing them when buying a water filter. Only one-third (30%) of consumers surveyed who have a water filtration system read and understand the information in the water quality reports. The others do not review their reports (26%), do not know what the report is (18%) or review the report but do not understand the implications of what they are reading (9%).
Based on another independent survey conducted on behalf of NSF Intl., 48% of the U.S. population revealed that they are concerned about the safety and quality of water filters. Consumers who are concerned about a particular water quality issue or contaminant, and who are considering the use of a home water treatment product to treat this issue, can use the NSF Contaminant Guide to locate a list of products certified to address that issue.