Emergencies declared by Ontario municipalities

Municipalities with states of emergency

The Province of Ontario enacted a state of emergency March 17 and updated it on March 28 with new restrictions, and on March 30 the period was extended for at least another 14 days. As of Apr. 3, the following Ontario communities or municipalities have also declared states of emergency due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic:

Amherstburg
Arran-Elderslie
Atikokan
Barrie
Bayham
Bonfield
Bradford West Gwillimbury
Brampton
Brant Cty
Brantford
Brock Twp
Brockton
Bruce Cty
Burlington
Cambridge
Carlow/Mayo Twp
Central Elgin
Central Frontenac
Centre Wellington
Chatham-Kent
Clarington
Cobourg
Cornwall
Continue reading “Emergencies declared by Ontario municipalities”

Attend our free webinar on COVID-19

Invitarion

Please join OMWA President Mike Mortimer and Stantec’s Nicole McLellan, M.A.Sc., Ph.D. Candidate at 11 a.m. on Friday, Mar. 27 for this free webinar intended for  water and wastewater utilities to help answer your questions related to the fate of coronaviruses in sewage and water, the efficacy of water treatment for coronaviruses, risks to your staff, and how to address public inquiries. Click the registration link below.
The Ontario Municipal Water Association plans to provide ongoing education on the coronavirus as information develops. Please continue to look for updates in your email and in our weekly e-News broadcast.

Sponsored by Stantec and the OMWA.

To register for this free webinar click here: Stantec & OMWA Free webinar on Zoom After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Stantec’s Nicole McLellan, M.A.Sc., Ph.D. Candidate is an environmental scientist with more than 13 years of experience related to water quality and treatment. She is the lead author of Stantec’s whitepaper “Considerations for Water and Wastewater Treatment Related to the Recent Outbreak: COVID-19.” Her areas of expertise comprise water treatment optimization; regulatory compliance; process performance demonstrations; energy optimization; management of disinfection by-products; control of algae blooms; distribution system management; scientific study designs; and wastewater disinfection.

OMWA president Mike Mortimer is the Manager of Environmental Services for the City of Stratford, with a B.Sc. in Environmental Science and Biology, and almost 20 years’ experience in the water industry.

 

President’s message about COVID-19

OMWA president, Mike MortimerFirst and foremost, I hope this message finds everyone healthy and spending quality time with loved ones during the uncertain period ahead. In times like this, it is also important to remember those less fortunate to help them out when we can, and when it is safe to do so.

These are some of the most challenging times we have faced collectively as a country, province, and municipality. There is uncertainty over day-to-day life, growing concern for our elderly and medically-vulnerable citizens, and anxiety over our well-being and the economy consume our thoughts. Whether you are a small business owner, a banker, or a restaurateur, there are varying perspectives of what this is doing to everyday life. It is an extremely fluid environment that we are all living and adapting to daily.

Water and wastewater professionals are no different.

The world of water and wastewater is unique in the sense that we are not deemed an essential service but yet we are absolutely necessary to ensure the continued public health of our communities. We are not able to just pack up our belongings and go home; we are not able to leave a water main break or a blocked sewer for the next week; we are not able to ignore a low-chlorine residual alarm or a high-level alarm at a sewage pumping station; we are not able to just stop sampling when our normal testing locations have been closed because of this pandemic.

And we don’t want to go home. Water and wastewater professionals are extremely dedicated individuals, committed to ensuring the provision of safe drinking water and the environmentally-sound conveyance of wastewater. There has been no threat to either during this pandemic, and for that we should be extremely grateful, but this is also different for those of us who do this work day-to-day. The threat is not a low-chlorine residual or a looming summer storm, but a threat we have little to no control over. And the question lingers: What if our workforce is impacted?
Continue reading “President’s message about COVID-19”

Coronavirus white paper from Stantec

The international professional services company, Stantec, has given the OMWA permission to post their recent whitepaper on the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) and its relevance to water and wastewater professionals and utilities. We are honoured to be able to share it with our readers. As the paper notes,

As water treatment professionals, we want to inform stakeholders of the current state of knowledge on coronaviruses as it relates to our practice.

Please click here to download the PDF version.  The original blog post from Stantec can be read here.

(Please note, this PDF has been updated since this post was first published. If you downloaded the paper before Mar. 20, please do so again to get the latest version.)

OMWA issues statement on lead

Consultation on Lead in Drinking Water and Amendments to the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality

Andrew Henryby Andrew Henry,
President, OMWA

The Ontario Municipal Water Association continues to strive to be The Voice of Ontario’s Public Water Authorities, representing municipalities and municipally-owned water systems across Ontario. On behalf of our municipal members, we look to develop and implement long-term drinking water, wastewater and storm water policies and programs for the benefit of the greater public, strive to ensure sustainable water-related utilities in Ontario, and address our most-pressing issues that we face in the water resource sector.

The OMWA has reviewed Health Canada’s consultation document with regard to lead in drinking water. The Association agrees with the science and reasoning behind the proposed changes in the maximum allowable concentration of lead in drinking water from 0.010 mg/L (10 µg/L) to 0.005 mg/L (5 µg/L) but has some concerns with regard to the overall program application and potential liabilities for water utilities in Ontario.

Continue reading “OMWA issues statement on lead”

An interview with Jim Smith, ODWAC

OMWA interviews Jim Smith, chair of the Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council (ODWAC)

Jim Smith, ODWACWhat is the mandate and role of the ODWAC?
The broad mandate of the Council is to provide advice and make recommendations to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change on drinking water quality and testing standards, as well as other drinking water matters deemed appropriate to merit the attention of the Minister.

Can you give us a brief history?
On May 23, 2002, Justice O’Connor, in the Part Two Report of the Walkerton Inquiry, recommended the establishment on an “Advisory Council on Standards” for drinking water, as well as making five specific recommendations with respect to the Council.

On May 12, 2004, The Minister of the Environment announced the establishment of the Ontario
Drinking Water Advisory Council (ODWAC), known formally as the “Advisory Council on Drinking-Water Quality and Testing Standards” in the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002.

Enabled under Section 4 of the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, the Council is “to consider issues relating to standards for drinking-water quality and testing and to make recommendations to the Minister” of the Environment, which are to be “taken into consideration in establishing and revising standards under this Act for drinking-water quality and testing.”

Continue reading “An interview with Jim Smith, ODWAC”

The Standard of Care Explained

What is the Standard of Care?

Brian JobbBy Brian Jobb,
Manager, Training Institute
Walkerton Clean Water Centre

The Statutory Standard of Care is Section 19 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 2002. The Standard of Care, which came into effect on December 31, 2012, expressly extends legal responsibility to people with decision-making authority over municipal drinking water systems. It requires that they exercise the level of care, diligence and skill with regard to a municipal drinking water system that a reasonably prudent person would be expected to exercise in a similar situation. It is also expected that they exercise this due diligence honestly, competently and with integrity.

The Standard of Care legislation applies to municipal councils and management, but does not apply directly to certified drinking water operators.

Standard of Care cardGiven the importance of effectively reaching the target group of decision-makers, special training and guidance material was deemed to be necessary. In 2009, The Ministry of Environment assembled an Advisory Group which consisted of mayors and  councillors representing large, medium and small systems, OMWA, OWWA, AMO, MOE and WCWC Staff. A guidebook was developed which was adapted from material in the Ontario Municipal Water Association’s 2004 handbook “Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Responsibilities”.

In addition, a specific training course was developed; the advisory group felt this should be a plain-language, high-level, instructor-led, short course. Material for this training course was adapted from the OMWA Handbook, publications by Dr. Steve Hrudey and information from several Walkerton Clean Water Centre training courses.

(Click on the image to download the PDF of the OMWA rack card)

The first Standard of Care course was delivered in early 2011 and since then it has been delivered to over 2,500 participants at over 160 sessions held throughout Ontario. The majority of training has been delivered on-site at the location of the client municipality. Continue reading “The Standard of Care Explained”