How Can You Help Protect Drinking Water Sources?

Here are some important reasons for protecting drinking water sources:

  • Water treatment isn’t always enough: water treatment systems cannot always remove all contaminants (including chemicals such as liquid fuels and solvents).
  • Prevention saves money: it is much easier and cheaper to keep water clean than it is to try and clean it up after it has been polluted. For example, a 2010 spill from a home heating oil tank in eastern Ontario cost approximately $1 million to clean up, while preventative changes to the tank and supply lines could have been completed for as little as $1500.
  • Contamination can ruin a water source forever. If it is not possible to clean up the water after it has been contaminated, water supplies will have to be shut down. In the 1990’s the a new drinking water supply had to be found for the community of Manotick because the groundwater was polluted by a chemical spill from a dry cleaning business. Safe drinking water had to be piped from the City of Ottawa at a significant cost.
  • Source water protection has other benefits: keeping sources of drinking water clean and plentiful supports tourism and recreation, and provides good fish and wildlife habitat.

Here are the top ten actions you can take to help keep drinking water sources clean in your community:

1. Handle and dispose of waste properly:

  • Reduce your waste production
  • Use local hazardous waste collection programs
  • Pick up pet waste

2. Maintain heating oil tanks and fill lines:

  • Inspect your oil tank regularly
  • Upgrade to a modern fuel tank
  • Install a drip pan and oil line/gauge protectors

3. Maintain and use septic systems properly:

  • Know the location of your tank and septic beds and protect it from damage
  • Have the tank pumped out every three to five years
  • Conserve water
  • Avoid the use of bleach/harsh cleaning products

4. Maintain wells:

  • Inspect your well at least once a year
  • Keep potential pollutants (i.e. livestock, septic systems, fuel sources, gardens) away from your well
  • Test your well water regularly for bacterial contamination

5. Hire a licensed well contractor to upgrade your will or properly plug unused wells:

  • Be sure to use a Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change licensed contractor for well upgrades and to properly decommission an unused well

 

 

 

6. Avoid or limit the use of road salt:

  • Wear sturdy footwear
  • Switch to snow tires
  • Use traction aides (i.e. sand)
  • Practice smart salt application

7. Practice smart agriculture:

  • Fence livestock away from watercourses
  • Practice conservation tillage
  • Mix/apply chemicals away from water bodies
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions for storage and application methods
  • Establish and maintain a buffer zone near water courses

8. Practice water conservation:

  • Use a rain barrel to water your garden
  • Install low flow shower heads and toilets
  • Fix leaking taps

9. Use green products for:

  • Household cleaning
  • Personal care
  • Lawn care

10. Work together to find opportunities in your community to better protect water

Best Practices from Risk Management Plans

Risk management plans are all about protecting source of drinking water from contamination using best practices. Even though you may not require a risk
management plan on your property, the best practices in these fact sheets should still be applied to protect the drinking water supply:

Using Home Heating Oil in a Wellhead Protection Area: What Homeowners Need to Know »
Storing Small Quantities of Waste in a Wellhead Protection Area: What You Need to Know »

Source Water Protection Stewardship

Current Stewardship Programs

There are no current stewardship programs available in the Cataraqui Source Protection Area. This web page will be updated and eligible communities will be notified if funds become available in the future.

Past Stewardship Programs

Between 2008 and 2013, the Province provided funding under the Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program to support on‐the‐ground projects to protect drinking water sources. Locally, over $400, 000 in provincial funds were shared. Over 70 residents and businesses in the Cataraqui Source Protection Area benefited from the program.

Repairs and replacements were made to home heating oil systems, septic systems, and wells. This work was completed in the vulnerable areas around municipal drinking water systems.