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Plan Approval: Good News for Municipal Drinking Water Sources

Quinte Conservation is very pleased with the recent announcement by the Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glenn R. Murray, that the Quinte Region Source Protection Plan has been approved.

“This is good news for the future of the 11 municipal drinking water sources in the Quinte Region. Implementation of the source protection plan will help to safeguard our sources of municipal drinking water,” says General Manager, Terry Murphy.

“Policies in the plan will eliminate, manage or reduce contaminants in areas surrounding our municipal drinking water sources. Protecting the environment in this way makes our drinking water supplies more sustainable and helps to protect public health,” he explains.

The Quinte Region Source Protection Plan was developed over several years by a local, multi-stakeholder, source protection committee. The plan will direct efforts to protect and keep the sources of municipal water clean and plentiful. It includes policies based on science and developed in consultation with the local community, to address known drinking water threats. The Ministry specified an effective date for the plan of January 1, 2015.

Terry Murphy reports interest and support for the protection of drinking water sources have been shown locally through positive actions on the ground. “Eighty-six stewardship projects completed on private land have already helped to address some of the significant threats to our municipal water sources. These voluntary projects were completed by interested landowners, who qualified for assistance from provincial grants and received technical help from Quinte Conservation.”

Most of the policies in the source protection plan apply only in the relatively small and very specific vulnerable areas surrounding the municipal water supplies. Some of the 63 policies in the plan are voluntary and others are mandatory. The policies encourage good stewardship, require additional care or risk reduction measures where necessary and, in certain limited circumstances, even prohibit some activities.

The initiative to protect sources of municipal drinking water is directed and funded by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change under the Clean Water Act, 2006. Quinte Conservation provided local technical, communications and administrative support for the planning process. Source Protection Plans have also been prepared in other regions across the province. More information is available at www.quintesourcewater.ca.

Quinte Conservation is a community-based environmental protection agency; one of Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities.

QUICK FACTS AND BACKGROUND:

Quinte Region municipalities obtain water for municipal distribution and public use from both groundwater and surface water sources.

  • groundwater is drawn from wells drilled into the ground to the underlying aquifer
  • surface water is drawn in through intake pipes located in lakes, rivers or bays.

There are 11 municipal drinking water systems in the Quinte Region:

Groundwater Wells (municipality)

Village of Deloro  (Municipality of Marmora and Lake)
Village of Madoc  (Municipality of Centre Hastings)
Village of Tweed  ( Municipality of Tweed)
Peats Point  (Prince Edward  County)

Surface Water Intakes (municipality)

City of Belleville  (City of Belleville)
Hamlet of Point Anne  (City of Belleville)
Town of Deseronto  (Town of Deseronto)
Town of Picton  (Prince Edward  County)
Village of Ameliasburgh  (Prince Edward  County)
Village of Wellington  (Prince Edward  County)
Napanee Backup water supply  (Town of Greater Napanee)

The 11 municipal drinking water systems serve about 50 percent of the population in the Quinte Region or about 60,000 people. The other 50 percent obtains drinking water from private wells or intakes.

Less than one percent of the total area of the Quinte Region is affected by policies that address significant drinking water threats.

Most of the policies in the plan address activities that pose a significant threat to the water source where they occur in the vulnerable areas close to the water source.

Some examples of activities that could pose a significant threat when undertaken close to a water source are:

  • fuel handling and storage (including home heating oil and gas stations)
  • sewage works (including private septic systems)
  • handling and storage of toxic chemicals
  • application, handling and storage of pesticides and commercial fertilizers
  • pasturing of livestock
  • spreading, handling and storage of manure or bio-solids
  • application, storage and handling of road salt
  • storage of snow

The source protection plan is science-based. Completed technical studies that informed plan development include:

  • an Assessment Report that describes the vulnerable areas around each municipal drinking water system where spills, pollution and contamination could harm the source water. It identifies threats to water quality in each of the vulnerable areas and ranks them as low, moderate or significant. It also contains other technical and scientific information about water resources in the Quinte Region.
  • a study of each municipal drinking water system
  • a Watershed Characterization study that summarizes the known information about the Quinte Region
  • a Water Budget study that accounts for and tracks the amount of water available in the Quinte Region

The Quinte Region Source Protection Plan sets out:

  • 63 policies to address drinking water threats
  • maps of the vulnerable areas surrounding each municipal drinking water system
  • tables of the applicable policies in each vulnerable area, and
  • information about: the development of the plan, consultation, responsibilities and timing for implementation and, appendices.

The province has provided source protection plan implementation funding for municipalities through the Source Protection Implementation Fund.

For more information:
Terry Murphy
Terry Murphy
General Manager
(613) 968-3434 ext. 103
(613) 354-3312 ext. 103

or

Lucille Fragomeni
Source Water Protection Communications Coordinator
(613) 968-3434 ext. 109
(613) 354-3312 ext. 109

 

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