The operators of 12 water treatment plants have been ordered to take corrective action to meet Ontario''s stringent standards for drinking water, Ontario Environment Minister Dan Newman said earlier this week.
The field orders follow inspections at 40 facilities between July 24 and Aug. 4, 2000.
A total of 16 plants were found to have operating deficiencies; further orders are pending.
The inspections are part of Operation Clean Water, Ontario''s action plan to ensure the safety of the province''s drinking water.
As of Aug. 4, the Ministry of the Environment had completed 281 inspections since early June, finding various levels of problems at 148 facilities.
"Safe drinking water is one of the foundations for healthy and prosperous communities," said Newman. "This component of Operation Clean Water reflects the government''s commitment to ensuring that water treatment plants are run with the utmost vigilance. These inspections will be conducted annually."
The four most common reasons water treatment plants were found deficient by the ministry during recently completed inspections are:
- in 14 plants, inspectors found an insufficient number of bacteriological or chemical samples being taken and analyzed;
- three plants were not found to have adequately maintained their disinfection equipment;
- in some instances, plants using groundwater were not chlorinating the water, or plants using surface water were not treating it with coagulation, flocculation and filtration;
- in two cases, plant operators were not appropriately certified by the ministry or had inadequate ongoing training.
"We are committed to having the safest drinking water in Canada," said Newman. "The Drinking Water Protection Regulation is a major initiative because, for the first time, universal standards for water quality and testing have the force of law."
For more information go to the Environment Ministry''s Web site at www.ene.gov.on.ca.
by Virginia Sutcliffe