Ontario’s Clean Water Act: Protecting City Water – Ignoring Rural Water

June 22 | Posted by Heather | The Leaky Land Blog

In May of 2000, the municipal water of
Walkerton, Ontario, Canada
was contaminated by E. coli bacteria. Half of the residents (2500 people) became sick and at least 7 people were killed by the bacterial contamination that went untreated in the town’s well.

The Walkerton tragedy brought water to everyone’s attention and the Ontario Clean Water act was born to protect all of the provinces drinking water, unless of course you’re one of those residents that live outside of the areas serviced by municipal water. We are left to fend for ourselves.

But hey, we’re just a few hicks out in the countryside right? Our vote don’t count for much, and we rarely make the headlines.

Most of the voters live in cities and towns that have water treatment plants, and constant water testing, to make sure that their water is safe to drink. The act added another layer of protection to make sure that the source of their water is protected just in case incompetent Municipal Managers aren’t doing their jobs.

In the country side however we have NO protections. We have wells, dug in the ground, open to any number of contaminants from Industrial, agricultural, mining or dumps, just like Walkerton. Unlike most people, we have no treatment plants, no testing for anything other than bacteria, and we have to take the sample ourselves and bring it to a public health office on Mon/Tues or Wed during office hours.

The last time I checked, all of us living in the countryside were residents of Ontario. Most of the rivers, creeks and Lakes are located in the countryside. But our sources of water were not a priority in the Ontario Clean Water Act.

Source Water Protection in the act only refers to water being supplied to Urban Municipal water sources. No mention of rural sources. In our case it is perfectly alright to propose building a dump on land that serves as the headwater of our water sources, like the Marysville Creek.
How many creeks and rivers are being used as a dumping ground for waste, waste water, toxins?

The Napanee River is a good example. Waste Management dumps 20,000,000 litres of Leachate (garbage juice) into the Sewage Treatment plant, which is then “treated” and dumped into the Napanee River. In storm conditions this may overflow directly into the river.

The Napanee Water Treatment plant was not designed to treat leachate. What is more disturbing is that they are actually allowed to continue to pollute the Napanee River to the same level it is already polluted. So a heavily polluted river like Napanee’s continues to be polluted.

But no worries, the Town of Napanee gets its water from Lake Ontario. It is only those living along the river and the any ground water being fed by the river that would be affected. Once again, that would be us.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tell us what YOU think ...