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Are you, neighbors or customers wary of drinking treated water? Distrust of treated water often stems from various sources, such as: a fear that chemicals used to treat the water may be detrimental to health; lack of familiarity with the treatment process; or distrust of the water utility staff.

If there is distrust of treated water in your community, consider conducting or encouraging your utility manager to conduct an assessment to formally identify the reasons. Once you feel you understand the root of the distrust, use the materials in the following sections to support you or your community’s decision to trust the treated water.


Summarizing Water Quality For Customers Confidence ReportsIncreasing Awareness Through Water Treatment Plant ToursIncreasing Awareness Through Reading MaterialsPromoting Connection To Your Local Drinking Water
The more customers know about treated water, the easier it will be for them to trust and feel confident drinking it. A common method of informing community members about local drinking water quality is providing an annual water quality report, known formally as a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).

Consumer Confidence Reports
Knowledge and transparency can often replace fear and distrust. Customers who understand the water treatment process and its purpose may find it easier to trust and value treated water. A straightforward way to become familiar with your community’s treatment process is to participate in a water treatment plant tour. Your local water operator is usually the most qualified person to lead such tours. Follow the link below to get an idea of what a water treatment plant tour may include, and then share the ideas with your local operator and utility managers.
For those interested in reading about the water treatment process, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) offers an excellent resource: A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-Operator’s Guide to Drinking Water Systems. The guide provides a comprehensive introduction to drinking water systems, tracing source water to drinking water, and water distribution.
To effectively change community members’ negative perceptions toward treated water, it helps to get the community engaged in positive conversations about water. With the Promoting Connection to Local Water section, you’ll find a variety of activities and outreach approaches that will help you to engage the community about issues of trust towards the water system.