OMWA to sponsor Autumn Peltier at Water Conference

The Ontario Municipal Water Association is proud to sponsor Autumn Peltier as a key speaker at Ontario’s Water Conference and Trade Show in Niagara Falls. Autumn Peltier is a 13-year-old Anishinaabe-kwe, and self-described ‘water warrior.’

Autumn is a well-known and vocal advocate for safe drinking water for Indigenous communities and for clean waterways in Canada. She has been advocating for clean drinking water since she was about 8 years old. She comes from Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. She will be joined by her mother, Stephanie Peltier.

Autumn was inspired by her great aunt, Water Walker Josephine Mandamin, whose 2003 trek around all five Great Lakes began a tradition of walking for water and bringing media and political attention to what threatens our most precious natural resource.

Autumn attended the 2015 Children’s Climate Conference in Sweden, a meeting of 64 concerned, engaged children from 32 different countries that delivered its message to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Autumn is the only Canadian nominated among 151 nominees for the 2017 Children’s International Peace Prize. She won the 2016 Canadian Living “Me to We” award for the Youth in Action (12 and under).

Her meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Assembly of First Nations gathering in Gatineau, Que., in 2016, resulted in his promise to take steps to protect Canada’s water.

Earlier this year, Autumn was chosen as the 2017 Ontario Junior Citizen award recipient from the Ontario Community Newspaper Association (OCNA). In late March, she addressed the UN General Assembly, telling its 193 member states to ‘Warrior Up’ in their efforts to provide clean and safe water for all nations. This week, Autumn will be speaking about the protection of our water and its significance to Indigenous peoples.

OMWA president, Rosemary K. MacLennan, said, “The Ontario Municipal Water Association is honoured and delighted to present Autumn Peltier as a speaker for this convention. Autumn is a role model for Canadian youth to engage in key issues such as water and the environment. She has proven that her generation’s concerns can and will be heard and recognized, not only by their local elders, but by the whole world. Through her passion and her wisdom, other Canadian youths are inspired to also speak out for their future. Their voices matter and we should all be listening. We hope all attendees at this event will take the time to hear her speak.”

Please join us in welcoming Autumn Peltier to Ontario’s Water Conference in Niagara Falls, and hear her words of advocacy for water: 2:15 p.m., Wednesday May 2, 2018.

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Call for submissions

The Ontario Municipal Water Association (OMWA) is looking for articles for our next installment of (Water)3, coming this spring.

The topic is Water 101: What Every Municipal Politician Should Know.

Whether they are an incumbent member of municipal council running again, or a candidate seeking election for the first time, we want to be the source for education about municipal drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems that politicians can easily access and refer to. We want to help politicians to be fully and accurately informed about municipal water issues even before they file their papers. And not just about drinking water systems: we want to know how you teach them about your wastewater and stormwater facilities and management, too.
Continue reading “Call for submissions”

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OMWA launches revamped website

The Ontario Municipal Water Association (OMWA) is pleased to announce a new look and new functionality for its website. It incorporates both the previous website’s content and the new (Water)3 posts in a WordPress standard platform.

We hope that this new look makes it easier for visitors to find the information and data you need. If you encounter problems or have questions about access, please contact us.

 

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President’s message for Pipeline, Spring 2018 issue

This year will Ontario will have two important elections: a provincial election in June, and a municipal election in October. We have the opportunity to bring our issues, our concerns and our comments to candidates ahead of these elections, to make sure the importance of water is recognized in their campaigns.

We must be prepared for change: expect new faces will appear in the legislature; possibly we’ll see new ministers, new aides, new deputies, and even perhaps a new government in power. Water agencies and associations will once again need to quickly establish relations with Queen’s Park, make or renew contacts, put ourselves in the forefront as advocates to be engaged when the next government comes to legislation and policy-making.

We face the possibility similar upheavals in the municipal sector: new councillors, new mayors, new directions. Both lower-tier and regional governments will be affected. And even when incumbents are returned, we should expect changes in position, in responsibilities and committee appointments.

Continue reading “President’s message for Pipeline, Spring 2018 issue”

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New OIT manual released for 2017

Revised OIT manualThe third edition of the Operator-In-Training (OIT) manual was released in winter, 2017. This edition brings it up to date with current legislation, policies and practices.

This popular reference text is used in training courses around the province as an introduction to the basics of drinking water, water treatment and wastewater operations, as well as providing lessons on legislation, disinfection, equipment, health and safety, chemistry and mathematics. It includes self-study questions with each chapter.

The new manual was edited and revised by staff of the Ontario Municipal Water Association (OMWA) with oversight by its board of directors and other contributors.

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Retirement of Nick Benkovich from the OMWA board

OMWA president announces retirement of Nick Benkovich, long-time member, from the OMWA board

Long-serving board member, Nick Benkovich, Director of Water & Wastewater Services for the City of Greater Sudbury, retired from his job at the end of December, 2017. He is also leaving the Ontario Municipal Water Association board of directors after more than a decade of service to the greater water community in this province.

OMWA president, Rosemary Kelleher-MacLennan, commented on his leaving:

“It is with bittersweet emotion and homage that I write this message. Bittersweet because it has been such a privilege to work with Nick, and he will be missed immensely, but pleased that he is opening a new chapter in his life and we wish him many new amazing adventures.
“In 2004 Nick Benkovich joined the OMWA Board and became a true champion and voice for our northern water connection. From our first board meeting it was quite apparent that Nick had a deep passion for the north and our water.
“Nick has represented the OMWA in the highest of standards throughout his 13 years on the board and we have all benefitted from his integrity, his principles and his devotion.
“On behalf of the board, it has been a true honour to have had your leadership at the table, you have left your thumbprint on us and the north. We wish you all the best in this next chapter of your life, and hopefully our paths with cross again in the near future.
“With heartfelt sincerity,
Rosemary Kelleher-MacLennan, President OMWA”

Background:

Sudbury-born Nick Benkovich holds an Honors Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo (BES) as well as a Graduate Diploma in Public Administration from Laurentian University. He has been employed in the water /wastewater sector for more than 35 years. He wrote that he, “…volunteered for OMWA because I wanted to contribute to the water sector in Ontario beyond my home organization. I hope to see OMWA continue to grow toward fulfilling its “One Water” mandate as defined in the current strategic plan for the organization.”

Nick consider himself “an outdoors person” and enjoys a wide variety of activities such as running, hiking, kayaking, fishing, & hunting.

Nick was instrumental in the development of Sudbury’s Backflow Prevention By-Law, Preventative Plumbing Subsidy Program, Quality Management System, to name only a few. Nick played a key role in implementing the changes required by the Source Water Protection Act, after the Walkerton tragedy and has provided Standard of Care Training to Sudbury city staff.

He has been involved with broader change initiatives, including working with the MOECC in the development of the System-Wide ECA program and involving the City of Greater Sudbury with the NWWBI initiative.

Nick is currently a member of the Local Source Water Protection Committee and is the City’s Risk Management Official, as required by the Source Water Protection Act.

Nick’s innovative vision allowed him to make changes across the city’s water / wastewater division with a mission to improve process, people, technology and data. These efforts included mobilizing field crews with tablets and mobile GIS, implementing Cityworks asset management and leading edge SCADA infrastructure.

Nick was also involved with the following committees:

  • RPWCO (Regional Public Work Commissioners of Ontario) – subcommittee
  • ODWAC (Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council) – member
  • NEOWWC (Northeastern Ontario Water Works Conference) – served as president for multiple terms
  • Water / Wastewater Operator Certification Working Group
  • Helping to develop ORO / OIC Guidelines

 

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