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Chief Drinking Water Inspector

 Ontario –A World Leader in Drinking Water Protection

 I recently reviewed the Chief Drinking Water Inspector, John Stager’s, Annual Report 2008-2009, put out by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and found some very interesting information  that made me very proud and thankful to be living in the province of Ontario.  John states that as a result of the Walkerton Tragedy 10 years ago, Ontario has put various measures in place, making it a world leader in protection of drinking water and drinking water sources.  The report pubished results that over 99% of the tests met Ontario's strict drinking water quality standards, including 99.87% for municipal drinking water.


First let’s find how it is done:


“How does my drinking water get from the source to my tap?  

Your drinking water comes from surface water (lakes and rivers) or groundwater (aquifers) sources. The water is pumped from these sources to a drinking water treatment plant where it is treated and tested. From there, it goes through a network of pipes to reach the tap in your home or workplace. To learn more about drinking water systems and their sources, visit the Drinking Water Ontario website at www.ontario.ca/drinkingwater, and view the drinking water quality map.” 

“How is my drinking water treated?

Your drinking water is treated in a multi-step process. If you get your drinking water from a water treatment plant which uses chemically-assisted filtration and draws its water from lakes or rivers, here’s what happens. First, after adding settling agents, coagulation occurs and removes any larger particles from the water by settling them out. Then, the smaller particles are removed through filtration by passing the water through a bed of sand, gravel or charcoal. Finally, the water is disinfected with chlorine before it enters the distribution system and a chlorine residual amount is maintained in the drinking water as it makes way to your tap.

“For more information, visit the Walkerton Clean Water Centre’s animated tour of a drinking water plant at www.wcwc.ca/AnimatedDemo/index.html.”

(Chlorine can be removed with an inexpensive under the sink carbon filter hooked up to a kitchen tap for drinking & cooking or a whole house carbon filter if you want to cover all household taps.)

How much Chlorine is coming through in your tap water?  Use this simple product to find out.  Total Chlorine Test

Some interesting facts from the report:

Pharmaceuticals - Treated drinking water was tested for 46 Pharmaceuticals and other emerging contaminants and found that they were either not detected at all or found to be well below the acceptable daily intakes for human health.

“If you’d like to know more about these tests, please read the Survey of the Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals and Other Emerging Contaminants in Untreated Source and Finished Drinking Water in Ontario at www.ene.gov.on.ca/publications/7269e.pdf.”

Pesticides - A report completed on pesticides in drinking water for the period of 1986 to 2006, showed pesticides were detected in treated surface water at a decreased rate from 86 per cent to 3 per cent. Most groundwater systems had no pesticide detections in treated water.

“To find out more about these results, please read the report Pesticides in Ontario’s Treated Municipal Drinking Water,1986-2006 at www.ene.gov.on.ca/publications/7407e.pdf.”


Lead - Lead Testing of drinking water and flushing of taps at Schools and Day Nurseries has been required since 2007, and reports found that a large majority of schools/day cares did not have any problems with lead.

In 2008, records indicated that 85.9 per cent of samples taken before the plumbing had been flushed at day nurseries and schools met our lead standards. After flushing, 94.8 per cent of the samples met the standards. Schools or day nurseries where tests have shown that lead is a problem will be required to work with local public health officials to address and resolve the issue of lead in plumbing within the facilities”.  Schools and nurseries are required to keep records of the flushing and testing so that they can be made available to the public if requested.

John Stager’s Closing Statement:

“The greatest strength of our provincial safety net continues to be dedicated people and communities working together to safeguard Ontario’s drinking water. The Ministry of the Environment and partner ministries, municipalities, private system owners and operators, the Walkerton Clean Water Centre, local Public Health Units, licensed laboratories, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and the public at large all play a critical role and I can assure you that we will continue to work together to ensure Ontario’s drinking water is of the highest quality.”

Check out the full report here:  http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/publications/7372e.pdf

In a world where so many do not have access to safe drinking water, I am blessed to be a resident of Ontario where relatively, safe drinking water is freely available.  for my own long term health and taste, my drinking water preference is still purified Reverse Osmosis water as there are still many harmfull substances present in our tap water such as Chlorine, Lead, Floride, Hardness etc.

Check here for more information on what's in your tap water.  



  1. Prue on December 31, 2011 at 1:57 AM said:
    I'm ipmrsesed. You've really raised the bar with that.
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