President’s message, winter 2018

Fake news and water governance

It may be the norm for election campaigns at every level for candidates or their followers to stretch the truth, but in the last few years, this has become dangerously exaggerated. Especially on social media, fake news or ‘alternate facts’ spread very rapidly, leaving voters confused as to what the truth is about with any issue.

When it comes to water governance, that’s not simply inconvenient: it can be dangerous and life-threatening. And for elected officials who have come to office not knowing or understanding the facts about their water services and safety, it can lead to bad policy decisions and personal liability.

For elected officials, being fully educated in the responsibilities and requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act (2002) is crucial to avoiding not simply problems, but severe penalties for failure to do their due diligence as required by provincial law. And under the Standard of Care in the Act, elected officials are personally responsible for their municipality’s water.
Continue reading “President’s message, winter 2018”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Education Days details and posters

The Ontario Municipal Water Association is pleased to announce details of the upcoming Education Days events to be held this fall in Cobourg, London and Sudbury.

The Ontario Municipal Water Association, in partnership with the Ontario Water Works Equipment Association presents three Education Days aimed at delivering effective and economical training and networking opportunities to our member utilities around the province. Planned around our ‘One Water’ strategic concept, the working theme of the education days will be improving operations through innovation. Some courses are suitable for both water and wastewater operators.

All events feature CEU courses, a trade show, presentations, networking and more. There will be technical workshops for operators, as well as seminars and presentations suitable for senior managers and elected representatives.

For more details, a downloadable poster, and registration, visit our events page.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

OMWA welcomes new board members

Following its AGM in Barrie this month, the Ontario Municipal Water Association announced two new members have joined its board of directors: Bonnie Clark and Michael Mortimer.

“We are honoured and pleased to welcome our new members,” said OMWA president, Rosemary Kelleher-MacLennan. “We always appreciate getting fresh perspectives and new ideas about municipal water systems. Everyone in the association benefits from the collective experience and high calibre of expertise the board brings.”

Bonnie Clark joins as a Political Director. She is a council member for the Otonabee South Monaghan municipality and a retired nurse (R.N.). She also sits on the Trent Conservation Coalition Source Protection Committee.

“Municipal experience would be a great starting point and give you a solid knowledge base to choose the direction and path you would like to go down,” she told the OMWA. “The need for safe water will always be there.”

Bonnie would like to see the organization grow its representation from our First Nations Communities. She says she appreciates the opportunity to network with peers, share challenges and ensure our communities’ water is safe.

Michael Mortimer joins as a Technical Director. He is currently Manager of Environmental Services for the City of Stratford.

Michael began his career as a water and wastewater treatment operator with the District of Muskoka in 2002 before taking roles at the Region of Waterloo and City of Waterloo. He became Manager of Environmental Services at the City of Stratford in May of 2015.

Michael is currently on the Walkerton Clean Water Center Training Advisory Committee and is the municipal representative for Stratford, St Mary’s, Perth and Huron Counties on the Thames Sydenham and Region Source Protection Committee.

In a statement to the board, he said, “I am very excited to be joining the OMWA in a Director role where I hope to be able to contribute in a meaningful way to the ever-adapting policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks of water and wastewater.”

The Ontario Municipal Water Association’s mission is to act as the voice of Ontario’s public water supply authorities and their customers on policy, legislative and regulatory issues related to the provision of safe and reliable public water supply in Ontario. We are a unique organization in that our focus is upon the management and administration of public drinking water, stormwater and wastewater. Our membership is made up of public water supply authorities. Our directors are either municipal officials or senior water supply managers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

President’s message, summer 2018

It sometimes seems that every week a challenge to our drinking water emerges. How can you stay informed about the threats and solutions? Easily – if you’re an OMWA member. We keep members informed about water-related issues and events through our twice-weekly newswire, through our website, and in our upcoming Education Days.

Challenges can come from unexpected sources. Like our clothes and household cleansers. We’ve reported many stories about microplastics and nanoplastics – microscopic bits of non-degradable plastic that scientists now realize pervade our environment.

They’re a new and difficult challenge for water professionals.

Plastic is so ubiquitous that it finds its way into everything around us, even our drinking water. One study found plastic in 85 per cent of tap water samples taken from a dozen countries (in the USA researchers found plastic in 94 per cent of their samples).

Continue reading “President’s message, summer 2018”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Political parties respond on water issues

In May, 2018, the Ontario Municipal Water Association sent emails to all four main political parties in the upcoming provincial election.  We asked them to answer several questions related to their party’s policies regarding water and infrastructure, in order to better educate our members for the election.

Of the four parties, the Green Party, the Liberals and the NDP acknowledged our request. The Progressive Conservatives did not. However, only the Green Party and NDP responded with answers. Their replies are linked to PDF files, below.

Here is what the OMWA asked:

  1. Does your party have a policy for water management in Ontario, and if so can you please provide a copy of your statement to share with our members.
  2. Does your party policy include provisions for:
    • Stormwater management?
    • Backflow prevention?
    • Managing Lead levels in drinking water?
    • Microplastics in water and the environment?
    • Climate change mitigation?
    • Controlling Inflow & Infiltration to reduce wastewater spills & bypassing?
    • First Nations’ water issues?
  3. Does your party have plans for helping Ontario municipal water suppliers sustainably maintain and improve their water infrastructure? If so, please provide your policy statements to share with our members.

Answers as provided follow.
Continue reading “Political parties respond on water issues”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Electricity, natural gas and water reporting

Did you know?

Electricity, natural gas and water utilities are required to give building owners who request it aggregated monthly data for their building’s electricity, water and/or natural gas use.

Ontario Regulation 20/17, Reporting of Energy Consumption and Water Use, outlines what building owners and utilities must do to comply with Ontario’s Large Building Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB) initiative.

 How and what to report

To see the types of buildings that are subject to the reporting requirements, and the data building owners will need to report, visit ontario.ca/energyreporting.

If you have questions about the EWRB initiative, please call 1-844-274-0689 or email EWRBSupport@ontario.ca.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Nick Benkovich given George Warren Fuller Award

Niagara Falls, ON, May 1, 2018: Nick Benkovich was named as the winner of the George Warren Fuller award, presented by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) at Ontario’s Water Convention, in Niagara Falls, today.

George Warren Fuller Awards are presented annually by the American Water Works Association to the sections’ respective selected members for their distinguished service to the water supply field in commemoration of the sound engineering skill, the brilliant diplomatic talent, and the constructive leadership which characterized the life of George Warren Fuller. The recipients of the George Warren Fuller Awards are selected by the individual sections of the Association from among their own members to recognize publicly the contribution toward the advancement of water works practice.

Sudbury-born Nick Benkovich retired from his long-time position as Director of Water & Wastewater Services for the City of Greater Sudbury at the end of December, 2017. He also stepped down from his position as director on the Ontario Municipal Water Association board at that time. He had been on the board since 2004, and served as its president in 2008.
Continue reading “Nick Benkovich given George Warren Fuller Award”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email