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Drinking Water

Water being poured into a drinking glass

In Ontario, there are certain standards that drinking water must meet in order for it to be safe to drink. A reliable municipal water system benefits the community in many ways. The provincial government, through the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, regulates these systems to ensure water safety and quality.

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In many rural areas, municipal water service is not available. In such cases, it is necessary for a home owner to use an alternate water supply. Where there is no body of water or well on the property, many homes rely on the use of a cistern. A cistern is a large holding tank of water. It is filled periodically by a water supply company, or by rainfall.

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Drinking Water Hauler Inspection Program

Water hauling truck

Drinking water haulage vehicles supply water to homes in Haldimand and Norfolk that are serviced by wells or cisterns with unreliable water yield or unsafe water quality.

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List of Licensed Laboratories

Water test

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, labs must be accredited and licensed to test drinking water.

In Ontario, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks:

  • licenses laboratories
  • inspects laboratories
  • ensures that laboratories comply with laws and rules around drinking water testing

A drinking water testing licence authorizes a laboratory to carry out analysis for specific drinking water tests by approved analytical techniques.

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Private Well Water

Outdoor faucet

Well water quality can change throughout the year, and after certain events such as heavy rainfall or flooding. It is recommended that well water be tested at least three times a year.

Free well water testing is available to private residences year-round. 

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Water Testing

Water testing bottle

Drinking water is tested for the presence of two groups of bacteria, total coliform bacteria and E.Coli bacteria. Your results are the number of bacteria in 100 millilitres of your water sample.

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Small Drinking Water Systems

Glass of water

If you provide access to drinking water for the public and your water is not provided by a municipal source, you may be operating a Small Drinking Water System (SDWS). These systems must follow the requirements under the law, Small Drinking Water Systems (O. Reg. 319/08).

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Boil water advisories

The Ontario provincial government, through the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, regulates municipal water systems to ensure water is safe to drink. When the water is no longer safe to drink, a “Boil Water Advisory” is issued by Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health and the respective counties.