Chief Drinking Water Inspector’s Annual Report 2016-2017 Now Available!

Today, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change released the Chief Drinking Water Inspector’s Annual Report 2016-2017. This report is available online at

It highlights efforts to keep our drinking water clean and among the best protected in the world.

Supporting data on Drinking Water Quality and Enforcement is available on the Open Data Catalogue.


Revisions to Ontario’s Drinking Water Quality Management Standard

Revisions to Ontario’s Drinking Water Quality Management Standard

By Christopher Manning, PMP
Licensing Program Coordinator, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change

The Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 requires all municipal drinking water systems in Ontario to have an accredited operating authority. Operating authorities are accredited to the requirements of Ontario’s Drinking Water Quality Management Standard.

In April, 2017 the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change published revisions to the Drinking Water Quality Management Standard on the Environmental Registry as registry number 012-5530.

The revised Standard, referred to as Version 2.0, was developed in partnership with the water sector, and incorporates feedback from stakeholders and stakeholder groups representing large, small and rural municipalities across the province.

Key Changes to the Drinking Water Quality Management Standard

Flexible Timelines

The Standard requires many items to be undertaken annually, including the internal audit and a management review of the system. Language in the Standard has been revised to allow some flexibility in scheduling these activities within a calendar year.

Clarified Requirements for Different Types of System

Communities in Ontario are served by drinking water systems of varying size and complexity. To help ensure consistent interpretation, requirements for different types of system (e.g., treatment systems and distribution only systems) have been clarified.

Consideration of Climate Change

Climate change can have a direct impact on both the infrastructure and operation of a drinking water system, and has the potential to change what is considered “normal” operation. The Standard has been revised to ensure that all system owners are aware of these risks and consider them in their infrastructure planning activities.

Continual Improvement

A quality management system must be flexible enough to meet the needs of a changing organization, the requirements of changing infrastructure and to keep pace with changing technologies. Just like a robust infrastructure maintenance program, improvement to the quality management system should not be limited to fixing things as they fail. The Standard has been revised to ensure that both proactive and reactive approaches are taken to ensure continual improvement of the system.

What do the changes mean for system owners and operating authorities?

The Accreditation Protocol has been updated to enable a transition period, allowing any necessary changes to operational plans and/or operating procedures to be made in conjunction with other activities.

As an accredited operating authority:

  • You will be expected to update your risk assessment procedures prior to your next scheduled risk assessment. Your next risk assessment should consider the mandatory risks that have been defined within Version 2.0 of the Standard;
  • You will be expected to implement any other necessary changes prior to the first audit of your system that occurs in 2019. Until this time, your auditor will continue to assess the conformance of your system to the requirements of the original Drinking Water Quality Management Standard;
  • You may choose to transition to the new requirements early. Prior to your next audit, simply indicate to your accreditation body that your operational plan and procedures have been updated to conform to Version 2.0 of the Standard;
  • Your accreditation body has now established a formal two-stage appeal process for accreditation findings, to help ensure consistent interpretation and application of the requirements of the Standard.

As a municipal drinking water system owner:

  • Your operating authority will likely be reporting to you on projected impact of the changes to your quality management system, along with a proposed or projected timing for transitioning to the new requirements.

To obtain a copy of the revised Drinking Water Quality Management Standard or to provide feedback on any additional changes you would like to see considered in future revisions to the Standard, please contact the Safe Drinking Water Branch of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change at

Changes to Requirements for Drinking Water Operator-in-Training Certification

Changes to Requirements for Drinking Water Operator-in-Training Certification

 Changes to requirements for Drinking Water Operator-in-Training (OIT) certification took effect on July 1, 2017. While they have resulted in more streamlined processes, Ontario’s drinking water and wastewater operator certification program continues to have stringent training requirements to help ensure the safe operation of drinking water systems.

  1. All Drinking Water OIT certificates are issued for 36 months.

Before July 1, 2017, Drinking Water OIT certificates were valid for 16 months.

Completing the Entry Level Course for Drinking Water Operators (ELC) was and continues to be a requirement for Drinking Water OITs wishing to have their certificates reissued for 36 months, and for those wanting to upgrade their certificates to a Class I. Drinking Water OITs must also have one year experience in addition to completing the ELC before their certificates expire.

Issuing Drinking Water OIT certificates that are valid for 36 month gives OITs more time to meet their training and experience requirements. The issuance fee for a Drinking Water OIT certificate remains unchanged ($40.00).

  1. Temporary Drinking Water OIT certificates are no longer being issued.

Before July 1, 2017, temporary Drinking Water OIT certificates were issued for 12 months to individuals who worked as an OIT for four consecutive months or less in a seven-month period, i.e., during summer employment. Temporary OIT certificates could be renewed up to four times, resulting in multiple applications and confusion among applicants.

By no longer issuing temporary Drinking Water OIT certificates, the overall certification process for Drinking Water OITs is more streamlined and simplified. As of July 1, 2017, all Drinking Water OIT certificates are issued for 36 months.

  1. OITs are permitted to operate limited systems under the supervision of an Operator-in-Charge or Overall Responsible Operator.

Prior to July 1, 2017, Drinking Water OITs were not permitted to operate limited systems. They were required to take a separate course and pass an additional exam to obtain a limited system certificate, even though limited systems have less complex operational requirements than most other drinking water systems.

As of July 1, 2017, Drinking Water OITs can operate limited systems under the supervision of an Operator-in-Charge or Overall Responsible Operator. This change gives owners of limited systems, including those in First Nations communities, greater access to more individuals who can operate their systems.

The Ministry website, program documents and forms have been updated to reflect these changes. Visit and for more information about the province’s drinking water and wastewater operator certification program.



OWWA Water For People Paint Nite Fundraiser

The OWWA Water For People Paint Nite Fundraiser is officially live! Sign-up for a Paint Nite event near you – $15 from each ticket sold will be donated to Water For People.

About Paint Nite:

Paint Nite holds social events at the most popular restaurants and bars in your neighborhood.  You’ll get creative, because Paint Nite puts blank canvases, bright paint, and a guiding artist in the mix.

Fundraiser Information:

All details and sign-up information are provided at the link below. When registering, be sure to use the promo code ‘VF-OWWAWFP’.

2017 Water Utility Disinfection Survey

AWWA is seeking utility participation in the 2017 Water Utility Disinfection Survey to help better understand the current operations practices, impacts of regulatory requirements, and disinfection-related challenges within the drinking water industry. The survey is being conducted by the Disinfection Committee of AWWA, and is the fifth in a series of disinfection surveys since 1978. Combined, these surveys provide over 40 years of results to predict trends, assess the impact of technological advancements and regulations, and review the relative advantages of the various forms of disinfection that are currently available. The survey findings also assist the water industry by providing a basis for development of best management practices, educational efforts, and additional research related to disinfection practices and challenges.

Your Utility’s participation in this survey will assist in all these endeavours! The survey is available online and is open through September 5, 2017. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and we hope you will consider participating in this important survey effort. Your answers will be confidential and no identifying information will be shared or reported. Additionally, three lucky survey participants will receive $100 gift cards to the AWWA store from a random drawing in October.  

Click Here to take the survey

OWWA Fall Seminar Lineup

CWWA National Survey – Water Sector Resilience Project 

The Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) has commissioned a study about resiliency in water utilities.  We have asked Dalhousie University to conduct an online questionnaire survey about attitudes and perceptions about risk resilience and security at water utilities.

This questionnaire is being conducted at all water utilities across Canada and can lead to improvements in resiliency.  It would be greatly appreciated if you could take about 10 minutes out of your work day to complete this questionnaire.  You will not be asked for your name and the researchers at Dalhousie University will treat the information confidentially (i.e. the completed questionnaires will not be seen by anyone but researchers at Dalhousie University, and it will not be possible to identify you, or anyone else from the responses in feedback reports).

In order for the results of the study to be meaningful, it is important that as many people as possible in all types of jobs (Admin, IT, Operations, Security Guards, Technical Support) in your organization to complete the questionnaire.  Could you please help me to make this survey a success by distributing the survey link (below) to as many people as possible in your water utility, and encourage them to take part.

The link to the online questionnaire survey is:

Please complete the Questionnaire by Friday, June 2.

If you have any questions, please contact Robert Haller ( or Prof. Kevin Quigley at Dalhousie University at tel:(902) 494-3782, or

Notice of OWWA Annual General Meeting – May 8, 2017

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Ontario Water Works Association (OWWA) will be held at Ontario’s Water Conference & Trade Show, in Niagara Falls, Ontario from May 7 to 10.

Date & Time:     Monday May 8, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Location:            Scotiabank Convention Centre

                            2nd Floor, Rooms 201 & 202

The AGM package was emailed to all members on March 10, 2017. If you have not received your package, please contact the OWWA office toll-free at 1-866.975.0575, or 416.231.1555 within the GTA, or via e-mail to

A separate email with information on the Slate of Candidates for election to the OWWA Board of Directors, as well as voting instructions, has also be sent to members.

The 2016 OWWA Audited Financial Statements will be available upon request by April 8, 2017 and at the AGM in May. I encourage you to attend our AGM to network with other water professionals, learn about current association activities, and express your views to the Board.

Great Lakes Water Utilities Energy Challenge Launched!

The Great Lakes Protection Fund and American Water Works Association are excited to announce the launch of the Water Utility Energy and Efficiency Challenge (WUEC), an innovative program that engages water operators in a competition to reduce the emissions sourced in their energy generation.

The WUEC is a technology competition focused on water utilities in the Great Lakes Basin. Offering two top cash prizes of $20,000 and $10,000, the Water Utility Energy Challenge is supported by the Great Lakes Protection Fund, and is a collaborative effort of the American Water Works Association, CDM Smith, E2I, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Growth Capital Network, and Wayne State University.

More information on the challenge can be found by visiting



Beware of Potential Door-to-Door Scam

Beware of Potential Door-to-Door Scam

We have received reports that homeowners in Ontario have received calls and door-to-door visits from individuals claiming to be representatives from the Ontario Water Works Association, advising them of poor water quality in their area.

OWWA does not engage in any kind of telephone or door-to-door marketing activities, including offers for water testing and filtration systems. If you do receive this type of call, please advise OWWA staff by calling 416-231-1555.

For more information about your drinking water please contact your local municipal water provider.

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