Private landowners protect municipal drinking water

January 21, 2008

Newmarket – The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) has developed a drinking water protection program for landowners who live near municipal drinking water sources. Through this program, property owners are being made aware of how actions on their own properties can affect the water we all depend on to be clean and safe for our families.

The program, operated by the LSRCA with funding by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, is part of the Drinking Water Source Protection Planning that resulted from the Walkerton inquiry. It is part of a “multiple barrier approach” to protecting the quality of drinking water, not only at treatment but also at its source. “People who own property near a municipal well or intake are the first line of defense,” said Don Goodyear, the LSRCA’s Manager of Source Protection Planning. “Contaminants on their properties can invade the ground water that is the municipal supply for thousands of residents.”

In the first year, the public education effort is targeted to property owners closest to the wells and intakes. The LSRCA has made direct mail contact with about 1,200 landowners who own property near the 74 municipal wells and intakes.

“We believe property owners want to know what they can do to help protect our drinking water,” Goodyear said. “In addition to the information we’ve provided to their homes, we’re inviting these residents to public workshops in their local areas so they can understand how to avoid some of the primary causes of drinking water contamination.” These causes include harmful toxins such as chemicals and septic spillage, as well as private wells that give pollutants a direct conduit to the water table.

The public workshops will feature speakers from the LSRCA, the local health unit, staff from the local and regional governments, and local non-government groups.

Further information
Susan Jagminas
Communications Specialist, Source Protection (LSRCA)