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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.
Continue reading “Developing and writing effective standard operating procedures”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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