ix. Restrictions on Drinking Water Consumption

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BUI ix Restrictions on Drinking Water Consumption

Status: Not Impaired

What was the original problem? This Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) has never been applicable to the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan (HHRAP). There are no drinking water intakes in Hamilton Harbour despite it meeting “objectives for a potable water supply.”

Listing Guideline: When treated drinking water supplies are impacted to the extent that:
1) Densities of disease-causing organisms or concentrations of hazardous or toxic chemicals or radioactive substances exceed human health standards, objectives, or guidelines;
2) Taste and odour problems are present; or
3) Treatment needed to make raw water suitable for drinking is beyond the standard treatment used in comparable portions of the Great Lakes which are not degraded (i.e. settling, coagulation, disinfection)

How Are Things Today?
  • This BUI has never been applicable to the HHRAP as there are no drinking water intakes in Hamilton Harbour
  • Local water treatment plants deal with seasonal taste and odour issues and periods of increased turbidity; however, these are not linked to Hamilton Harbour outflow. Read more about the City of Hamilton's Drinking Water Quality Management System
  • Environment Canada modeled the hypothetical impact of moving Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant effluent into Lake Ontario. Even combined with Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant flows, the two drinking water intakes were not impacted
  • Halton-Hamilton Source Protection Committee has considered the potential affects of Hamilton Harbour water on Hamilton and Halton drinking water intakes during a spill scenario. This work is beyond the reach of this BUI which is focused on persistent day-to-day conditions
Ontario as a Model for Clean Drinking Water
Today through development of comprehensive safety mechanisms, drinking water standards are maintained from source to tap. For more than a decade in Ontario, more that 99.9% of water quality tests have continued to meet the province’s strict health-based water quality standards. Water for Ontario residents is drawn mostly from Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. There is a multi-barrier approach to protecting the source water, including designated intake protection zones, well-head protection zones and drinking water intake protection zones — all with protection plans developed in part by local committees. Read about Ontario's approach to water here.
Ontario's Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act is a major part of the Ontario government’s commitment to ensure every citizen of Ontario has access to safe drinking water. As part of the Act, Ontarians are able to participate and take action toward clean drinking water. Specifically, the Clean Water Act will:
  • Require local communities to look at the existing and potential threats to their water and set out and implement the actions necessary to reduce or eliminate significant threats
  • Empower communities to take action to prevent threats from becoming significant
  • Require public participation on every local source protection plan. This means everyone in the community gets a chance to contribute to the planning process
  • Require that all plans and actions are based on sound science

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