President’s New Year’s Message

Mike Mortimer, OMWA presidentAs we close the door on 2019, the OMWA can look back on a year full of challenges and changes but with this, also comes new opportunities.

At the most recent AGM, in December, the OMWA underwent a self-refection of sorts. As the water, stormwater and wastewater industry landscape continues to evolve, it was imperative that the OMWA reflect on our mission statement, our mandates, and why we do what we do. From this strategic planning review arose many new ideas and exciting potential. Details on this session will be posted in early 2020!

But let’s be clear on one thing: the main purpose of the OMWA has always been to advocate on behalf of our members, to work with the province’s MECP on the policies, procedures, and governance issues that directly impact our member municipalities and our First Nations. This will never change, and as the strategic planning session showed us, it is imperative we continue to provide this foundation for public water authorities across the province.

The session also was a great reminder and confirmation that the OMWA is committed to continuing to be the voice for public water authorities. In an ever-evolving industry, we are dedicated to delivering on this mandate, to be an influential part of the dialogue on industry challenges, and to continue to be involved in the conversation for the overall collaborative effort that is required as we move forward.

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Message from outgoing OMWA president, Rosemary Kelleher-MacLennan

Message from outgoing OMWA president, Rosemary Kelleher-MacLennan

The past 21 years, participating on the Ontario Municipal Water Association have been an immense honour and perhaps one of the most consequential chapters of my career life.

From the deregulation of Ontario Hydro, the dissemination of most municipal Public Utility Commissions across Ontario, municipal amalgamations, the Walkerton tragedy and its subsequent inquiry, the inception of the Clean Water Act, Drinking Water Source Protection, six municipal and provincial elections, and seven federal elections, I have seen one constant that keeps rising to the forefront: partnerships. Collaboration and working together towards common goals provide focused, high-quality outcomes.

The OMWA has worked in partnership with many water-related associations and groups, including the Ontario Water Works Association, Ontario Water Equipment Association, Water Environmental Association Ontario, Association of Municipalities of Ontario, The Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, and WaterTap, to name a few. Such collaborative efforts have made us all more aware and successful in addressing the “One Water” concept.

The OMWA embraces and endorses the belief that, “All water and water issues are related.” We believe that working together with our partners we will all excel and succeed for the betterment of the entire province.

It is with confidence that I am handing the torch to our incoming President, Mike Mortimer. Mike has served two years on the OMWA board as a director. He brings to the table both a high involvement and passion for water and the environment in our province.

Mike is a dedicated, astute leader and I know the OMWA will excel under his direction. The OMWA Board of Directors has immense dedication and understanding for our water and municipal issues. We are fortunate to have Mike as the new incoming President

Congratulations to Mike and the OMWA 2019 Board of Directors,

Best Regards in water,
Rosemary Kelleher-MacLennan
Deputy Mayor, Trent Hills

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OMWA elects new president, executive, at AGM

OMWA elects new president, executive, at AGM

Mike Mortimer, OMWA presidentAt its AGM in Toronto last week, the Ontario Municipal Water Association elected Mike Mortimer, Manager of Environmental Services for the City of Stratford, as its new president.

“I am excited to be able to take on the role as President of the OMWA and am committed to leading the organization and carrying on the dedicated efforts of past presidents,” Mortimer said. “As the water and wastewater industry landscape continues to evolve, it is imperative that the OMWA continuously reflects on our mission statement, our mandates and why we do what we do. Our main purpose has always been to advocate on behalf of our municipal members, to work with the province’s MECP on the policies, procedures, and governance issues that directly impact our members municipalities and our First Nations.“

Mortimer added, “I am committed, through increased engagement from our members combined with continued collaborative efforts with other stakeholders, to lead the OMWA into the next decade and to continue to fulfil this purpose.”

Also elected to the board executive were Mark Howson, of Sault Ste. Marie Public Utilities, as first vice-president, and Peter Chilibeck, of Lakefront Utility Services Inc., returns as board chair. OMWA will be recruiting new board members to replace those retiring, in early 2020.

Outgoing president, Rosemary Kelleher-MacLennan, congratulated the new board of directors and their choice, saying, “Mike is a dedicated, astute leader and I know the OMWA will excel under his direction. The OMWA Board of Directors has immense dedication and understanding for our water and municipal issues. We are fortunate to have Mike as the new incoming President.”

At the meeting, the board also engaged in a strategic planning workshop, facilitated by former municipal councillor and marketing director, Kevin Lloyd. The board is preparing an updated strategic plan for 2020, which will be posted on the OMWA website early next year.

For a PDF version of this announcement, with Mike Mortimer’s CV, click here.

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President’s message, spring 2019

New councils, new challenges

Ontario’s new councils face new challenges in 2019. Under the proposed Bill 66, changes to the Planning Act and other legislation will have wide-ranging effects on municipal planning, development and growth. Several of those proposed changes could present significant challenges and even threats to maintaining our drinking water safety. The Ontario government has also announced a review of regional governments across the province, suggesting changes in governance and even amalgamation. These could affect how municipalities manage and deliver services.

On top of that, new technologies are being developed to handle emerging problems like microplastics and pharmaceuticals in our water.

Everyone involved in the oversight and maintenance of our water and wastewater systems – both elected officials and staff – needs to stay up-to-date and informed to be ready to adapt and change to accommodate both legislative and technological developments. Peer support and cooperation are more important than ever.

The OMWA’s upcoming 2019 Educations Days in Barrie, Sudbury, and Niagara Falls offer effective opportunities for staff and elected officials to network, to learn, and to share their ideas with peers from around the province. Please visit our events page to find out how you can participate, register, and stay current on changes that affect your own water systems.

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Developing and writing effective standard operating procedures

Developing and writing effective standard operating procedures

 Part two: When Should SOPs Be Written?

Ken MacDonnellBy Ken MacDonnell, P. Eng.
Professor, Fleming College

Assuming you already have an SOP development program in place (see part 1), then it is a question of setting a priority for the SOPs to be developed.

A hierarchy of procedures will determine the order of development starting with procedures that represent an activity with a substantial risk of impacting either the health and safety of employees or the public. Even after all SOPs have been developed and implemented, there is still work to be done with respect to procedures:

  • New employees should be properly trained on Standard Operating Procedures (do not inundate them with all SOPs and expect full understanding).
  • Review of existing SOPs every three years (at a minimum) to ensure they are still relevant and reflect how the task is being done. Just like you need to update your MSDS sheets every three years, your procedures should not be any different. If changes are made to a procedure, don’t forget to document the change and make sure that all copies are also changed.
  • New equipment / chemicals / etc. may require a change in SOPs. If you make a change from Alum to PACl as your coagulant, it will likely mean that the operational set points will also change. This must be reflected in all SOPs affected by this change and this must be done immediately.

If you do not currently have a comprehensive SOP program, then it is imperative that you begin to develop a program.
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OMWA in Ottawa

OMWA will be at booth 341 in Ontario’s Water Conference & Trade Show

The Water Conference & Trade Show is hosted by the Ontario Water Works Association, and the Ontario Water Works Equipment Association, May 6-8, 2019.

The Conference continues to be the premier drinking water event in Ontario, consistently attracting over 900 delegates from all areas of our industry: operators and owners, manufacturers and suppliers, consultants, academics and regulators. The Trade Show has more than 100 exhibitors representing the manufacturers and suppliers of products and services to the water industry. This is a great opportunity to network, and keep informed about technical, regulatory, and equipment development which affect the industry.

This year’s conference takes place at:
Ottawa Shaw Centre
55 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 9J2

Join us! at booth 341!

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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.
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