New Requirements for Municipal Drinking Water System Owners - August 2018

A new regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, took effect July 1, 2018. This regulation applies in source protection areas identified under the Clean Water Act and ensures that municipal residential drinking water sources are protected before drinking water can be provided to the public.

The regulation applies where:

  • a new municipal residential drinking water system is being located within a source protection area, or
  • changes are being made to an existing municipal residential drinking water system located in a source protection area that results in:
    • the establishment of a new groundwater well
    • deepening an existing well
    • increasing the capacity at an existing well
    • the establishment of a new surface water intake
    • moving an existing intake

The full document from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation & Parks is now available for download

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Regulatory Decision Notices Posted to the Environmental Registry

Two regulatory Decision Notices (EBR #013-1840 and EBR #013-1839) have been posted on the Environmental Registry.

These decisions are intended to ensure sources of drinking water continue to be protected by the Clean Water Act and have an effective date of July 1, 2018. The regulations were consulted on through the Environmental Registry and various stakeholder sessions and we appreciate all feedback received.

The first decision notice (EBR #013-1840) refers to the regulation developed under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002. This regulation requires:

1.    municipal residential drinking water system owners ensure work to assess the vulnerability of new or expanding drinking water systems is completed, and accepted by the local source protection authority, before they can apply for a drinking water works permit; and

2.    that water not be provided to the public until the source protection plan that protects the system is approved.

The second decision notice (EBR #013-1839) identifies the amendments that were made to Ontario Regulation 287/07 – “General” under the Clean Water Act, 2006.

1.    The amendments to the General regulation improve the regulatory framework by:

  • requiring liquid hydrocarbon pipelines be assessed in all source protection areas and, where necessary, that policies be included in updated source protection plans,
  • expanding the list of administrative amendments that are permitted without requiring full public consultation – such as removing decommissioned systems, and
  • increasing transparency through additional notification requirements so that municipalities and other implementing bodies are aware of changes that could reduce the need for policy implementation.

2.    To support the implementation of the new regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the regulation requires that source protection authorities issue a notice to a drinking water system owner when they have received, and are satisfied with, vulnerable area information for any new or expanding drinking water system where it differs from existing vulnerable areas. The notice must also identify what changes to the source protection plan are required.

The summaries provided above reflect changes made as a result of comments received on the regulation proposals. Changes affect how municipalities or drinking water system owners ensure the vulnerable areas for new or expanding municipal residential drinking water systems are included in source protection plans. Initially it was proposed that a municipal council resolution endorsing these vulnerable areas be submitted with a drinking water works permit application. The regulation now requires the application for a new or amended drinking water works permit include a notice from the source protection authority that they have, and are satisfied with, the vulnerable area information. The notice must also indicate when the source protection authority can proceed with any necessary amendments to the source protection plan. The regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act also requires the Director to include a condition on drinking water works permits or licenses to ensure the system does not provide drinking water to the public until the source protection plan amendments are approved. We are developing guidance to make sure that municipalities, system owners and source protection authorities are aware of these requirements and begin work to identify vulnerable areas early in the planning process for new or expanding drinking water systems in order to avoid delays at the permitting stage.

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