Ontario approved the Mattagami Region Source Protection Plan
under the Clean Water Act, 2006 on April 10, 2014. The
Plan will take effect on October 1, 2014. This is the third source
protection plan (SPP) to receive provincial approval, with 16
others currently under consideration.Municipalities and companies should take note of this
development to help prepare for their potential responsibilities
and opportunities under Ontario's evolving source protection
Key Considerations for Municipalities and Companies
Municipalities are the primary implementers and enforcers of
SPPs. Those with SPP responsibilities will need to prepare for this
new role by employing and training risk management officers to
oversee plan implementation. Alternatively, they may hire a body
approved under the Clean Water Act, 2006 to provide the
Companies that operate in a region covered by an SPP will need
to determine whether they are affected by SPP policies and, if so,
how. For example, if a company is conducting activities that impact
an SPP-identified vulnerable area, such as an intake protection
zone or a wellhead protection area, it will need to find out
whether those activities will be permitted to continue. If yes, it
may need to negotiate a risk management plan with the responsible
municipality within the stipulated time frame to avoid having one
potentially imposed upon it.
In the 14 years since contamination overwhelmed the municipal
drinking water system in Walkerton, Ontario has come a long way in
implementing the source protection recommendations of the Walkerton
Inquiry. The provincial Clean Water Act, 2006 and
associated regulations seek to protect municipal drinking water
sources – lakes, rivers, aquifers – from contamination.
The Act requires local communities, through Source Protection
Committees (SPCs), to assess threats to their drinking water and to
establish SPPs to mitigate those threats. SPPs must be
science-based, include public consultation and be approved by the
Ontario Minister of the Environment.
To date, 19 SPCs have been developed and submitted SPPs to the
Ministry of the Environment (MOE). The Mattagami Region SPP is the
third to be approved, preceded by the Lakehead SPP in January 2013
and the Niagara Peninsula SPP in December 2013.
Key Provisions of the Mattagami Region SPP
The Mattagami Region SPP covers over 11,000 square kilometres,
more than 48,000 residents and four municipalities – the City
of Timmins, the Town of Iroquois Falls, the Township of Black
River-Matheson and the Township of Matachewan. Of these, only
Timmins has a municipal drinking water system, which draws from the
Mattagami River and supplies approximately 90 per cent of the
Under the SPP, Timmins will
establish risk management plans for the storage of pesticides,
fuels and manure
ensure municipal sewage equipment has appropriate back-up power
update its road salt management plan
pre-screen land use planning and building permit applications
to prohibit the future storage of large quantities of organic
in partnership with the Mattagami Region Conservation
Authority, conduct an education and outreach program to advise fuel
distributors, private fuel outlets and property owners of what to
do in case of a spill.
As noted above, 16 other SPPs are being reviewed by the MOE. All
are scheduled to be revised and resubmitted by their respective
SPCs by mid-2014 at the latest. Therefore, the MOE will likely
announce a number of approved SPPs in the coming months. Over the
next year, much of Ontario's new source water protection regime
should fall into place.
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.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).