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1 Protecting our Drinking Water from Source to Tap: Checks and Balances Jim Smith Chief Drinking Water Inspector Drinking Water Management Division Ontario.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Protecting our Drinking Water from Source to Tap: Checks and Balances Jim Smith Chief Drinking Water Inspector Drinking Water Management Division Ontario."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Protecting our Drinking Water from Source to Tap: Checks and Balances Jim Smith Chief Drinking Water Inspector Drinking Water Management Division Ontario Ministry of the Environment Ontario Environmental Network Fall Conference and Annual General Meeting: W is for Water Fingal, Ontario October 28, 2006

2 2 2 Presentation Outline Safeguarding our Drinking Water Partnerships and Shared Responsibility Checks and Balances Ontarios Source-to-Tap Safety Net Key Initiatives to Watch For

3 3 3 Safeguarding our Drinking Water Over the last six years, the ministry has made fundamental shifts in our approach to safeguarding drinking water for all Ontarians. We have entered a new era for drinking water management in Ontario that builds on and fosters: extensive consultation, transparency, accountability, partnerships, shared responsibility, and a cautious risk-based approach. The Government of Ontarios integrated source to tap approach is a reflection of scientific advancements, tragic lessons and important regulatory reforms.

4 4 4 Safeguarding our Drinking Water OConnor 2002: The goal of any drinking water system should be to deliver water with a level of risk so negligible that a reasonable and informed person would feel safe drinking the water. (OConnor, Report on the Walkerton Inquiry Part 2: page 74) Chief Drinking Water Inspector 2006: Ontarios drinking water is safe and of a very high quality. Ontarians can have confidence in the quality of their municipal drinking water. Municipal residential drinking water systems are improving operational performance in meeting Ontarios stringent requirements.

5 5 5 Ontarios Water Strategy Ontario is blessed with an abundance of fresh water resources, these water supplies are the cornerstone of the quality of life that we enjoy in Ontario. The government's plan to safeguard our water is based on an integrated, multifaceted strategy: Prohibit large-scale diversions of water from the Great Lakes, Protecting our sources of drinking water from getting contaminated before they enter the drinking water systems (Clean Water Act, 2006) Ensuring solid, sustained investment in our drinking water infrastructure by leading the development of a water investment strategy.

6 6 6 Shared Responsibility and Accountability MOEs commitment to fostering collaborative relationships, partnerships, consultation and local engagement has contributed to understanding and achieving drinking water safety. Ministry of the Environment Municipalities Licensed Laboratories Safe Drinking Water for the Public Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Academia Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal Ministry of Health & Long-term Care Local Medical Officers Local Medical Officers of Health Federa l Government Health Canada Indian and Northern Affairs Infrastructure Canada ConservationAuthorities

7 7 7 Checks and Balances Our key stakeholders form an interconnected system of checks and balances and ultimately play an important role in ensuring that our drinking water management system is robust. External key stakeholders also play a significant part in the ministrys ongoing efforts to achieve and maintain increased levels of transparency and accountability.

8 8 Checks and Balances Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Provincial Auditor Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council Walkerton Clean Water Centre CELA Chief Drinking Water Inspector Owners and Operators Medical Officers of Health Media Ontario Legislature Academia General Public

9 9 Checks and Balances Ontarios Drinking Water Safety Net The General Public ENGOs Sierra Legal Defence Fund CELA Pollution Probe Waterkeepers Environmental Defence The Water Sector Owners and Operators Ontario Municipal Water Association Ontario Water Works Association Association of Municipalities of Ontario Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Provincial Auditor General Ministry of the Environment Chief Drinking Water Inspector Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Chief Medical Officer of Health Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council Walkerton Clean Water Centre The Media Government of Ontario Ontario Legislature Medical Officers of Health

10 10 Strengthening our Safety Net Justice OConnors Recommendations The governments commitment to safeguarding Ontarios drinking water is founded on the approach to drinking water protection embodied in Justice OConnors Report of the Walkerton Inquiry. Checks & Balances Areas of Improvement !121 comprehensive recommendations pertaining to: ! source protection, !system operations and management !certification and training !public reporting ! municipal and provincial responsibilities/oversight First Nations How MOE has/is responding !Committed to fulfill all recommendations. Significant progress to date: Source to Tap framework through Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act Mandatory inspections of municipal systems and laboratories Annual Report of the Chief Drinking Water Inspector 2005/06

11 11 Strengthening our Safety Net Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council At the request of the Minister, the Council undertook a review of O. Reg. 170/03 to identify ways to make it more workable for smaller, private systems. In 2005 the council released a comprehensive report detailing specific reforms to improve regulatory effectiveness. Checks & Balances Areas of Improvement ! O. Reg. 170 too costly and complex for smaller and private systems; ! A need for a risk-based, site-specific approach for categories of systems; !Transfer responsibility to Public Health units (commercial/ institutional systems serving the public) How MOE has/is responding ! Technical amendments to O. Reg. 170 ! Developed new risk-based approach to regulating the non-residential and seasonal systems. !Working with MOHLTC to transfer responsibility to public health units.

12 12 Strengthening our Safety Net Waterproof 2: Canadas Drinking Water Report Card On October 6, 2006, the Sierra Legal Defence Fund released its 2nd report card on the state of Canadas drinking water. Ontario received an A- (up from a B in 2001), the highest grade in Canada. We only hope other provinces will follow Ontarios lead. Checks & Balances Areas of Improvement ! Partial implementation of OConnor; ! Explore alternative disinfection methods rather than chlorine; ! Report comments on the uncertain state of provincial action on source protection. How MOE has/ is responding ! We are committed to implementing all of OConnors recommendations ! Ontario encourages use of alternative disinfection methods: UV & ozonation ! The government has passed the Clean Water Act, 2006 this fall

13 13 Strengthening our Safety Net Environmental Commissioner of Ontario - 2006 Report On October 3, 2006, in his report entitled Neglecting our Obligation the Environmental Commissioner criticized the province for its neglect on the environment pointing to various areas of government inaction including water pollution. Checks & Balances Areas of Improvement ! Private wells improvement (Reg. 903) ! Criticism regarding an abbreviated public comment period for O. Reg. 252 !Lack of environmental education !New regulation lowers many requirements designed to ensure safety How MOE has/ is responding !We have adopted a number of the recommendations proposed by the Advisory Council on Drinking Water, !Consultation on Ontarios drinking water regulations has been extensive, ! DWMD launching information Portal in fall 2006.

14 14 Strengthening our Safety Net Media – Recent Globe and Mail Article (June 2006) Everyday the media is playing an increasingly important role in distributing information and shaping public policy. On June 1, 2006 the Globe and Mail published an article titled Walkerton is water under the bridge, thankfully. Checks & Balances Areas of Improvement ! High cost of implementing source protection planning ! Lack of funding and resources This is one of those rare occasions when government corrects the errors and omissions of the past and does it well. We should be grateful. How MOE has/ is responding !Clean Water Act, 2006 (CWA) introduces a $7 million financial assistance program, in addition to $120 million for CAs and municipalities !The CWA will strengthen the safety net by increasing accountability and transparency.

15 15 Ontarios Drinking Water Safety Net 1 Strong Legislation – Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act 2 Timely, Reliable Testing 3 Immediate Notification and Corrective Action on Adverse Water Quality Incidents 4 Licensing, Training and Certification 5 Comprehensive Inspection Program 6 Investigation & Enforcement of Legislation and Regulations 7 Integrated Data Acquisition/ Information Management 8 Education & Outreach 15

16 16 Evolution of the Safety Net Elements of the safety net existed prior to Walkerton Significant increases in the level of effort/oversight now provided to different elements of the safety net All elements of the safety net now viewed as equally necessary components of a multi-barrier approach Today the network also provides a framework ensuring transparency and accountability.

17 17 Strong Legislation Advisory Council on Drinking Water Laboratory Licensing and Accreditation Operator Training and Certification Municipal System Licensing Statutory Standard of Care Inspections and Enforcement requirements Drinking Water Standards Notification & Reporting Where We Are Treatment and Testing Requirements Safety Net # 1 Key Regulation: O. Reg. 242/05 Compliance and Enforcement Mandatory inspections for municipal drinking water systems and laboratories Ministry must take a mandatory action within 14 days in response to finding a deficiency during an inspection, Within 45 days of completing an inspection of a municipal drinking-water system, a report is sent to specific persons such as owner/operator; Medical Officer of Health Provides the public with the right to submit a request for Investigation if they believe that the SDWA has been contravened

18 18 Clean Water Act, 2006 The Clean Water Act, 2006 will: Require municipalities and conservation authorities to map sources of municipal drinking water supply and vulnerable areas to prevent our water sources from being depleted or contaminated, Promote voluntary initiatives and require mandatory action where needed by empowering local authorities, Require broad public consultation across watersheds, to ensure transparency and accountability in the source protection process. 1 A Risk-based Approach Identify vulnerable areas Identify threats and watershed issues Prioritize actions and develop appropriate risk management strategies

19 19 Testing: Central to the Safety Net The water from Ontarios regulated drinking water systems is tested regularly for safety and quality, which includes: –Operational checks for turbidity, chlorine residual, equipment calibration, etc. –Sampling and testing requirements for microbiological, chemical and other health based and aesthetic parameters Sampling and testing requirements have been designed to reflect the size/population served by the distribution system Integrity of test results ensured by requirement that laboratories be licensed and use accredited methods When test results show adverse water quality incidents, current regulations require immediate corrective action and notification of the ministry and the local Medical Officer of Health. 2

20 20 Immediate Notification of Adverse Water Quality Incidents Notification Verbal/Immediate Written Spills Action Centre (MOE) Local MOH Operator/ Owner Laboratories Regulations MOE (Inspectors) Local MOH Field Inspection Corrective ActionResolution Report Reconciliation with Lab Results Information Management – Drinking Water Information Systems Priority notifications trigger a field response 3

21 21 Stratford Incident Timeline March 7/05 - Resident reports red foamy substance in the water Municipality calls SAC – Immediate Notification (#3) Safe Drinking Water Branch notifies local Health Unit - Immediate Notification (#3) Drinking Water Advisory issued City of Stratford begins flushing – Corrective Action (#3) MOE inspector takes samples for analysis – Timely Testing (#2) March 8 - Sample results reported to MOE -Timely Testing (#2) DWA downgraded to BWA March 9 - BWA rescinded Spring 2005 - Incident referred to IEB for Investigation (#6) Charges laid under SDWA – Strong Legislation (#1) Sample results uploaded to DWIS - Info Mgmt (#7) May 2006 - Stratford incident highlighted in CDWI Annual Report – Education and Outreach (#8) Samples analyzed at licensed lab – Licensing/ Training and Cert (#4) Safety Net Elements 1.Strong Legislation 2.Timely, Reliable Testing 3.Immediate Notification of AWQI and Corrective Action 4.Licensing, Training and Certification 5.Comprehensive Inspection Program 6.Investigation and Enforcement 7.Integrated Data Acquisition and Info Mgmt 8.Education and Outreach 3

22 22 New mandatory training requirements (Regulation 128/04): –Entry Level training must be completed by all new operators, includes home study and classroom components –Preventing Water Borne Illnesses: all operators must complete once every 3 years Walkerton Clean Water Centre (WCWC) delivers: –MOEs Entry Level course for operators-in-training –The Preventing Water-Borne Illnesses recertification course –The ministrys correspondence course for small drinking water system operators in private systems The WCWC has a mandate to work with First Nations to provide access to operator training on a cost recovery basis. As of May 14, 2006 all remaining grandparented drinking water operators have been re-certified by exam. Strengthened Operator Certification and Training Requirements 4

23 23 4 Municipal Drinking Water Licensing Drinking Water Quality Management Standard The new approvals framework will see systems apply for a license, which will consist of 5 elements (schematic at right) Owners and Operating Authorities will be required to develop an Operational Plan. This Operational Plan is the key vehicle for implementing the Drinking Water Quality Management Standard.

24 24 Implementing a quality management standard expands the focus of managing the system to include the people responsible for owning, managing and operating the system and the strategies they adopt to provide safe drinking water Municipal licensing will go a long way in assisting those with oversight responsibility to meet the requirements of the Standard of Care provision These provisions require that those persons with oversight responsibilities for a municipal drinking water system exercise a level of care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would be expected to take in a similar situation (s. 19, SDWA) 24 Municipal Drinking Water Licensing 4

25 25 Expanded and Enhanced Inspections SOURCE TREATMENT PLANT RESERVOIRS DISTRIBUTION CONSUMERS Drinking Water Inspections: Ontarios municipal drinking water inspection protocol is comprehensive approximately 130 regulatory check points from Source to Tap Each system is inspected on an annual basis Ontarios drinking water testing laboratories are licensed and inspected twice a year Goal: 100% compliance 5 25

26 26 MOE is currently developing a metric to measure the results of the municipal inspection program The inspection rating will support the ministrys commitment to continuous improvement and public transparency Continuous improvement M easure would track progress towards goal of 100% compliance with the regulatory framework province-wide. Public transparency Chief Drinking Water Inspectors Annual Report for 2005-06 will report out on province-wide municipal drinking water system inspection results for the first time Measuring Inspection Results 5

27 27 Integrated Information Management Main Components: Drinking Water Information System (DWIS) Over 1 million results for test results received per year; > 99% meet standards Laboratory and Waterworks Inspection System (LWIS) Able to assess all compliance requirements across inspection years Operator Certification Database - Water and Wastewater Operator Certification System (WWOCS) Approx. 5,000 certified operators registered MOE Drinking Water Portal Set to launch fall 2006 6

28 28 Integrated Information Management 6 This fall Ontario is launching a new drinking water portal, Drinking Water Ontario, which will help us deliver on our commitment to transparency. This one-window information resource will allow web users to customize the information they want to see about drinking water. Drinking Water Portal

29 29 Rigorous Enforcement of Regulations Public health as it relates to drinking water quality is of paramount importance Mandatory actions for significant non- compliance Progressively more stringent actions can be taken: Violations recorded Orders Convictions Transfer of Control of System 7

30 30 Education and Outreach – Public Reporting The ministry reports publicly on the state of Ontarios drinking water through: the Annual Report of the Minister of the Environment, which will provide an overview of drinking water programs, including source protection, drinking water quality standards and emerging issues (release of first annual report anticipated in spring 2007) the Annual Report of the Chief Drinking Water Inspector, which provides information on the ministrys inspection program, as well as water quality testing results 8

31 31 Education and Outreach 8 The ministry has produced over 30 plain language guidance and fact sheets to help explain to owners and operators their regulatory requirements for O. Reg. 170/03 and O. Reg. 252/05 MOE provides information and guidance to the regulated community regarding changes to regulatory requirements, as needed In partnership with the Walkerton Clean Water Center, the MOE will be holding a series of information sessions across Ontario outlining recent amendments to O. Reg. 170/03. Sessions will be an opportunity to exchange information with other owners and operators of similar drinking water system requirements

32 32 Key Initiatives to Watch For Municipal Licensing: the ministry is preparing to post a finalized DWQMS and proposals for a number of other Licensing program elements to the Environmental Registry. Ministers first annual report and the Chief Drinking Water Inspectors 2 nd annual report are set to be released in 2007. Source Water Protection – regulations to be developed under the Clean Water Act, 2006

33 33 Thank You

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