Erie County's water customers have gotten a bonus document with their latest water bills -- a 2007 Consumer Confidence Report that serves as a "report card" for water quality during 2007.
"It goes out to every customer we have," said David Moyer, the county's water superintendent.
The annual reports are mandated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Sandusky and Huron mail out similar reports to their customers, said Jack Meyers, sanitary engineer for Erie County.
Each report is required to mention if the water district had any violations of government water-quality standards.
Erie County has seven separate water districts. The annual reports of five of those districts list no violations, but two reports do.
The Margaretta District, which serves the villages of Bay View and Castalia, exceeded the standard for trihalomethanes last year, while the Perkins District, which includes Perkins Township and parts of Huron, Milan and Oxford townships, exceeded the standards for coliform bacteria.
Both violations have been fixed.
Trihalomethanes are a chemical created by the interaction of chlorine used to disinfect the water with organic substances. Coliform bacteria are naturally present in the environment, and are used as an indicator that other potentially harmful bacteria may be present.
"It's pretty difficult not to have a coliform violation," Meyers said.
The bacteria often are not present in the water but are introduced into it during the sampling and testing process, he said.
Although many people pay additional money to buy bottled water, Moyer says they would do fine simply using the far cheaper water that comes from the tap.
"Your bottled water is not regulated like your tap water," he said. "We have to answer to EPA."