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First Road Sign to Help Protect Municipal Drinking Water Sources

Drinking Water Protection Zone SignIt’s a first in the province! A new standard road sign to help protect public drinking water sources has been installed on Lennox and Addington Road 2 in the Town of Greater Napanee. Many more of these ‘drinking water protection zone signs’ will be installed soon across Ontario. The signs will mark locations where well-used roads cross into zones where municipal drinking water sources are the most vulnerable to contamination.

“The signs will alert emergency responders to the sections of road where accidental spills could travel quickly to a public drinking water source and contaminate it. Municipal water treatment plant operators can then be notified to swiftly shut off the entry of contaminants,” says Keith Taylor, Source Water Protection Project Manager at Quinte Conservation.

“An important part of protecting water supplies is knowing where the most vulnerable areas are around our public water sources. Our actions and activities in these sensitive areas matter and the new road signs will help to create public awareness.”

Drinking water protection zones are based on science, which is the foundation of locally written Source Protection Plans developed under Ontario’s Clean Water Act, 2006. The plans direct efforts to protect and keep the sources of municipal water clean and plentiful. Policies in the science-based plans were developed in consultation with the local community, to address known drinking water threats. The Approved Source Protection Plan for the Quinte Region came into effect on January 1, 2015. The policy calling for the road signs is one of 63 policies in the local plan.

About 780 of the road signs will be installed across the province with 33 of those in the Quinte Region; 24 on municipal roads and nine on provincial highways. The province is responsible for installation on provincial highways; and municipalities for local roads. Quinte Conservation is assisting its municipalities to identify correct locations and will facilitate a bulk order of the signs. Implementation funds from the province provide support for local municipalities to erect the signs. Taylor proudly points out that the new signs have a strong Quinte connection, “Our Source Protection Committee Chair, Max Christie, was a driving force behind the need for these signs and advocated for the same sign design province-wide.”

Taylor and Christie were among those who served on a provincial committee to create a sign proposal which was then accepted by the Ministries of Transportation, and Environment and Climate Change. The Ministry of Transportation ensured that the sign meets all its requirements.

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 and supports local municipalities as policies are implemented. More information is available at QuinteSourceWater.ca.

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

For more information:
Keith Taylor
Keith Taylor
Source Water Protection Manager
(613) 968-3434 ext. 114
(613) 354-3312 ext. 114

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