Source water protection is finally coming into force in Ontario.
Nearly 13 years after the Walkerton water tragedy, Ontario has approved its first Source Water
Protection Plan under the Clean Water Act. The Lakehead Source Protection
Plan for the Thunder Bay area is the first legally
binding plan intended to protect active municipal drinking water
sources (wells and surface water intakes) from obvious current
threats. Although the Plan cannot require cleanup of existing
(historic) contamination, it trumps all other laws in terms of
current activities inside designated well head protection
zones. Official plans and zoning bylaws must be amended to
comply with the Plan.
Lakehead Source Protection Area
"While most Conservation Authorities are based on a natural
watershed or group of watersheds, the Lakehead Region Conservation
Authority (LRCA) ...only covers the lower portions of virtually all
of its watersheds. The boundary of the LRCA corresponds
to the boundaries of its participating Municipalities, yet most of
the watercourses and their watersheds extend beyond these
Municipalities in unorganized territory. Territories that are not
covered by a Conservation Authority in the Province of Ontario fall
under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Ministry of Natural
There are only two Municipal drinking water sources within the
LRCA jurisdiction; the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge Rosslyn
Village (groundwater intake) and the City of Thunder Bay (Lake
Agriculture and Septic Tanks main threats
...32 instances of Significant Drinking Water Threats, as
defined by the Clean Water Act, have been identified in the
Lakehead Source Protection Area. These threats are all located in
the Rosslyn Village Wellhead Protection Area and consist of septic
systems and threats related to agriculture. Since these threats are
significant, policies have been created in order to protect the
drinking water source...
The Land Use Planning Policy will prohibit the future
significant threats of establishing a waste disposal site, sewage
treatment facilities (not including those under 10,000 litres a
day), organic solvents and fuel stored for non-residential use, and
the storage of pure dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs)
except for incidental volumes for personal, domestic use.
The Specify Action Policy manages the existing significant
threat of septic systems under 10,000 litres a day and future
significant threats of application handling and storage of road
salt, storage of snow and new septic systems under 10,000 litres a
The Education and Outreach Policy is designed to educate the
residents of WHPA-A on existing and possible future threats on
their property. This policy manages all existing agricultural
threats and future agricultural threats that could take place on
properties that are zoned "rural" and septic systems
under 10,000 litres a day. It also advises residents of the
harmful effects of DNAPLs to the groundwater
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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