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SOURCE WATER PROTECTION

What is drinking water source protection?

Source water is the raw, untreated water that we take from lakes, rivers and underground aquifers to supply people with drinking water. “Drinking Water Source Protection” or “Source Water Protection” means protecting these sources of drinking water from contamination and overuse. The focus is on prevention!

The Need for Drinking Water Source Protection

The Clean Water Act

The purpose of the Clean Water Act, 2006 is to protect existing and future sources of drinking water. Source Water Protection is the first barrier in a multi-barrier approach to protecting the water in Ontario’s lakes, rivers and underground aquifers.

What are Source Protection Plans?

Source water mapThe source protection plans contain policies to protect local drinking water sources. The Maitland Valley and Ausable Bayfield Source Protection Plans, which took effect on April 1st, 2015, were developed by a local source protection committee. The policies range from prohibition of activities that threaten drinking water, to education policies that encourage best management practices. Most of the policies in the Maitland Valley and Ausable Bayfield source protection plans apply only in wellhead protection areas. These are zones immediately surrounding municipal wells.

In these protection zones the water sources are particularly vulnerable to contamination from activities such as fuel storage, septic systems, chemical storage, and application of pesticide, fertilizer, and manure. Source protection plan policies regulate these types of activities to prevent potential contamination.

For more information about wellhead protection areas, and how to protect source water, download the factsheet.

Am I located near a municipal well?

To find out if you are located near a municipal well, go to www.sourcewaterinfo.on.ca and click on the "Maps" heading.  Use the interactive map or select your local municipal well from the list of drinking water systems.

Building and/or development near the municipal wells

If you are applying for a building permit or a zoning change, you may be required to obtain a Restricted Land Use (RLU) Notice if your property falls within the wellhead protection area of a municipal well. If you are located within wellhead protection area A, B or C, you may need to complete a Restricted Land Use Submission Form, and provide it to your local risk management official. The risk management official will screen the submission to ensure that the proposal will not create a threat to the municipal water supply. The risk management official must issue you a notice before your application can proceed. Contact your Building Official or your local risk management official for more information. The Restricted Land Use Submission form can be downloaded here: http://www.sourcewaterinfo.on.ca/risk-management-office/

Mandatory Septic Inspections

If your home has a septic system and is located near a municipal well, your system requires an inspection every five years. This is a new requirement under the Ontario Building Code to support the protection of municipal drinking water sources. Septic Inspectors will contact you if an inspection is required on your property.

Road Signs: Drinking Water Protection Zone

These signs are appearing across Ontario to raise awareness about our drinking water sources and to protect our health. You may see the Drinking water signsigns as you enter and exit the drinking water protection zone surrounding the municipal well.

Governments at the provincial and local level are placing signs where a pollution spill could have a significant negative impact on our drinking water.

An important part of protecting water supplies is knowing where our water is most vulnerable to contamination. The new road signs will help to create public awareness and remind us that our actions and activities in these sensitive areas matter.

For more information on...

Go to www.sourcewaterinfo.on.ca or call 1-888-286-2610

Other Links

Goverment of Ontario overview of drinking water source protection and the Ontario Clean Water Act www.ontario.ca/page/source-protection

Source Water Protection news http://www.sourcewaterinfo.on.ca/news/

Huron County Household Hazardous Waste http://www.huroncounty.ca/public-works/waste-management/