JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Water Quality Report pamphlet is something every water customer in the country is required to receive. But some say the mandate wastes paper and money.
The Environmental Protection Agency mandates every person who pays for running water be in the know about what's in it. And ever since 1996, water companies have been sending out a packet to customers.
"It lets you know where your water comes from, the hardness of your water, it also has some great conservation tips," explained Gerri Boyce with JEA.
JEA alone spends $35,000 annually to produce it. But in today's digital age, many wonder if that's a waste of money when this same report can be offered online - for free.
Action News took that concern to the EPA. We were directed to Florida's local Department of Environmental Protection office. Dee Ann Miller with the Press Office responded with this statement:
"Demonstrating their commitment to public health protection and the public's right-to-know about local environmental information, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are requiring water suppliers to put annual drinking water quality reports into the hands of their customers."
Miller goes on to say this report will enable Americans to make practical, knowledgeable decisions about their health and their environment.
"It seems a little bit inappropriate," said Brandy Carvalho with the group Girls Gone Green.
Carvalho says the mailing is actually harming the environment. JEA confirms this 18 page packet wasn't made with recycled paper because its cheaper this way.
"Sometimes it is more expensive and it is an investment, but its an investment in the future," said Carvalho. "It's like your health. You pay now or you pay later."
And what about the customer's bottom line? We wanted to find out if getting rid of this would mean lower rates.
"If you look at the cost, 13 cents per customer, its very minimal," said Boyce. "It's very important to us that our customers know their drinking water is safe and it is worth it just for our customers to know we are diligent in testing the water and making sure that every day when you get water it is safe."
Miller explained there are several requirements water companies have to include in this packet. The rest is up to them.
Boyce says JEA prints theirs in black and white on the cheapest paper available to keep the cost at a minimum.