In Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), drinking water quality monitoring is conducted by the provincial government on all public water supply systems and results are communicated to communities on a quarterly basis. This paper describes the application of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Water Quality Index (CCME WQI) as a communications tool for reporting the drinking water quality results. The CCME WQI simplifies the communication of results while integrating local expert opinion, without challenging the integrity of the data. The NL Department of Environment and Conservation successfully tested the use of the CCME WQI on selected drinking water quality data sets, and developed a phased approach for its implementation as a practical means of presenting available physical, chemical, organic and microbiological results to communities. The CCME WQI index categorization schema was modified by adding a new ranking category to incorporate local expert opinion. This paper describes the development of the phased approach for calculating water quality indices, the testing methodology used, the rationale for modifying the existing CCME WQI index categorization schema, and the implementation of an automated CCME WQI calculator in the provincial drinking water quality database. The paper also discusses the challenges encountered in using the CCME WQI especially with respect to incorporation of contaminants, microbiological and trihalomethanes data. The benefits and downfalls of this application are also discussed.

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