Source Water Protection

Background

The health of a community includes clean and safe drinking water. Protecting the sources of our municipal drinking water is an important step toward ensuring that there is enough safe, clean drinking water for all.  Land-use activities have the potential to harm your municipal drinking water sources if not properly managed. Drinking water source protection allows for the identification of these activities that may pose a risk to municipal water quality and water supplies, and the creation of source protection plans to manage these activities responsibly.

The responsibility for protecting municipal drinking water sources is a partnership between municipalities, the Conservation Authorities and the provincial government.  There are different roles and responsibilities for each level of government.  Source Protection Committees have been appointment by the provincial government to guide the development of source protection plans.  The Source Protection Committees are comprised of municipalities, farmers, businesses, industry, residents and members of the public.


Why Protect Water Quality and Quantity?

  • Source protection is the first barrier to protecting water quality, as many drinking water sources are vulnerable to multiple sources of contamination that have potential health implications.
  • Treatment of drinking water can be very costly and as a result it is often more cost effective to prevent ware from being contaminated than to treat it.
  • Protecting the water at the Source, creates healthier drinking water coming out of the tap.  Drinking water source protection, in particular the source protection plan policies reduce the risk that contaminants enter the water in the first place.

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. The objective is to establish a collaborative, locally driven, science driven, multi stakeholder process to protect municipal residential drinking water source.
Source Protection Committees and Plans

Source Protection Plans detail our approach to keeping our water clean, including identifying the areas to protect, the activities to manage and the programs to deliver. Source protection strategies are watershed based.  This means each plan is written with focus on a specific watershed. 
Wellington County is located at or near the headwaters of many water bodies, it is located within many watersheds and has five (5) source protection plans.  
In Minto the Source Protection Committees and Plans are:

Ausable Bayfield Maitland Valley 
Saugeen, Grey Sauble, Northern Bruce Peninsula

The Ausable Bayfield Maitland Valley Source Protection Plan (effective April 1, 2015) and the Saugeen Grey Sauble Nothern Bruce Peninsula Source Protection Plans (yet to be approved), also provide direction for how to prevent and manage activities that may impact our water supplies.  The plans contains policies requiring municipalities, conservation authorities and the province to implement in vulnerable areas around our water supply sources.  The Town of Minto is currently working with others to verify threats to drinking water and implement the applicable source protection plan policies.  Town staff are currently developing the process and content of risk management plans, a new implementation tool enabled by the Clean Water Act. For more information, visit the Asable Bayfield Maitland Valley Source Protection Website or the Saugeen, Grey Sauble, Nothern Bruce Peninsula Source Protection Website.


Source Protection in Wellington County

Within Wellington County, the eight municipalities that make up Wellington County are working together to deliver source protection in an efficient, fair and cost effective manner.  The Wellington County municipalities include: the Townships of Centre Wellington, Guelph / Eramosa, Mapleton, Puslinch and Wellington North, the Towns of Erin and Minto and the County of Wellington. 

The Source Protection contact within Wellington County is the Risk Management Official (RMO).  The RMO services all seven Towns and Townships within Wellington County and works closely with the County of Wellington. 

Within Minto, Source Protection implementation and administration will be through the Building Department.

Contacts:

Kyle Davis    
kdavis@centrewellington.ca
Risk Management Official

Terry Kuipers,    
terry@town.minto.on.ca
Chief Building Official, Risk Management Inspector

Stacey Pennington,    
stacey@town.minto.on.ca
Building Assistant and Risk Management Inspector

General Inquiries

Wellington Source Water Protection
1 (844) 383-9800
sourcewater@centerwellington.ca
www.wellingtonwater.ca


Landowners and Farmers

There are many simple things residents can do to protect drinking water sources, including:

  • Maintaining their septic system
  • Disposing of hazardous waste properly
  • Minimizing their use of pesticides, fertilizers and de-icing salt
  • Storing fuels properly

Farmers can also protect groundwater sources by:

  • Controlling field and stream bank erosion
  • Using safe storage and handling systems for manure
  • Creating a nutrient management plan
  • Controlling barnyard runoff and diverting clean water

Properties affected by the Source Protection Plans

The closer your property is to a municipal well or municipal water intake, the more likely there may be some policies in the Source Protection Plan that may affect your property.  The Source Protection Plans and the Clean Water Act regulate certain activities that occur on properties.  The activities include  landfills, hazardous waste, pesticide use, spreading and storage of manure, taking too much water, fertilizer use, chemicals use including solvents, fuelling, road salt use and storage, snow storage among others.  The range of tools used in the Source Protection Plans is risk based and range from education to risk management plans (a type of permit) to prohibition.


How will it affect the property owner/operator?

Identifying and Mitigating Current Activities

The local conservation authority analysed and identified possible threats to drinking water prior to 2012. Drinking Water Source Protection has been passed on to the local municipality. The Town of Minto and Wellington Source Water are working together to further verify these threats. If the occupant of the property is engaging in activities that pose a drinking water threat, there will be policies in the local Source Water Protection Plan to regulate the activity and mitigate the drinking water threat. 

There may be prohibitions, restricted land use, or risk management plans required for these activities. Education and Outreach is also a primary focus of the legislation.

Your local municipality will contact you if you have been identified by the conservation authority as a "persons engaged in activities" under the Clean Water Act 2006.

Screening for Future Activities

For properties within a Well Head Protection Area: All building permit applications and planning application including: Minor Variance, Zoning Bylaw Amendment, Site Plan Approval, Part Lot Control will require a Drinking Water Source Protection Notice under the Clean Water Act 2006.

A Source Water Protection Application will have to be completed and submitted with the building permit or planning application. The Drinking Water Source Protection Notice will have to be issued prior to the submission of a complete application. There may be prohibitions, restricted land use, or risk management plans required for activities related to these applications.

Wellington County Grants Available

Financial assistance through the Rural Water Quality Program (RWQP) is available to qualified landowners to share in the cost of selected projects that improve and protect water quality. More Information here