Mississippi and Rideau Watersheds, January 4, 2016 – There will soon be new road signs appearing in some communities in eastern Ontario. These signs aim to raise awareness about Drinking Water Protection Zones that surround a community’s shared drinking water source. These zones are now afforded special protection under the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan – a local plan developed under Ontario’s Clean Water Act.
Drinking Water Protection Zones are located in communities with municipal water services. Locally these include Almonte, Carleton Place, Kemptville, Merrickville, Perth, Smiths Falls and Westport. Depending on the community, the drinking water source may be a well that draws water from a groundwater aquifer or an intake pipe that takes water from a river. It should be noted that in some locations, the zone extends into a neighbouring municipality so a portion of the Drinking Water Protection Zones are also found in the townships of Beckwith, Drummond / North Elmsley, Montague, Rideau Lakes and Tay Valley.
The Drinking Water Protection Zones were determined through scientific and technical studies. “We now have an understanding of how water and contaminants behave in these areas and have been able to map out the critical zones where contaminants can most easily reach the drinking water source,” explains Brian Stratton, the Water Resources Engineer who coordinated the studies locally. “Municipal water treatment ensures tap water is safe but it just makes sense from an economic and human health perspective to keep contaminants out in the first place.”
The Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan sets out ways to ensure long-term protection of the drinking water source such as ensuring sanitary sewers are in good repair and not locating future waste disposal sites in Drinking Water Protection Zones. For residents, there will be a new “Living in the Zone” program to provide information on simple steps they can take in their own homes and yards to help protect the nearby drinking water source.
To view detailed maps of Drinking Water Protection Zones and learn more about drinking water source protection, visit www.mrsourcewater.ca
Allison Gibbons, Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region
613-692-3571 or 1-800-267-3504 ext. 1148