COVID-19 and Drinking Water Quality in Buildings
As Provinces and Territories lift COVID-19 restrictions and look to re-open buildings, there are critical steps that governments, water utilities, and individual property owners must take to ensure the safety of their community.
Water utilities are responsible to get clean, safe drinking water to each property in accordance with provincial/territorial regulations. While it can be argued our responsibility ends at the property line, property owners will look for direction and support from water professionals and the first place they will typically look is to their local water supplier.
National response to the COVID-19 crisis has forced the prolonged closure or reduced occupancy of many buildings. This includes, offices, retail outlets, restaurants, hotels, factories and more. This also includes many institutions such as schools, libraries and community centres.
When buildings are closed or on low occupancy for any prolonged period, water in the building becomes stagnant and can pose serious health risks. Harmful microbiological and chemical contaminants can grow or leach into water supply. See the FACT SHEET for more details.
The effect of such stagnation will vary between each building based on factors such as length of the shutdown, size of the building, number of occupants, complexity of the system, integrity of the plumbing, and maintenance performed during the shutdown.
The Rockwood and Hamilton Drive Water Systems are currently exempt from sampling for lead in private plumbing, as we have met the criteria noted within the Community Lead Testing Program (requirement O. Reg. 170/03) under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002. However, distribution system sampling is still required for pH and alkalinity for every "winter, summer" period. Lead samples are taken annually in the distribution system under Schedule 13-3 (2).
For more information, please contact our Water/Wastewater Department at 519-856-9596 ext. 122 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sodium and Fluoride levels are regularly monitored in water supplied to Guelph/Eramosa consumers. Samples collected are analyzed at accredited and licensed laboratories and test results are compiled and made available to the public.
The following Sodium results were sampled in 2014:
- Aesthetic Ojective (mg/L)
- Indicator of Adverse Quality (mg/L)
- Hamilton Drive Well Supply range from 9.8 mg/L to 29 mg/L
- Rockwood Well Supply range from 16 mg/L to 130 mg/L
- Gazer Mooney Drinking Water System 26 mg/L
Although it is not considered toxic to people, sodium in drinking water in excess of 20 mg/L may be significant to individuals on a sodium restricted diet.
The Medical Officer of Health is notified when the sodium concentration in a municipal water supply exceeds 20 mg/L so the information can be provided to local physicians.
0.5 - 0.8
- Hamilton Drive Well Supply range from 0.14 mg/L to 0.16 mg/L
- Rockwood Well Supply range from 0.95 mg/L to 1.3 mg/L
Fluoride occurs naturally in surface water due to atmospheric deposition from industry and volcanic eruptions, leaching from fertilizers, and the weathering of rocks and soils containing fluoride. Groundwater wells within the Guelph/Eramosa Township are especially rich in fluoride. Levels are currently below the guideline as set out under Regulation 170 of The Safe Drinking Water Act.
Water Hardness (Rockwood and Hamilton Drive.)
Hardness (total, as CaCO3)
For more information on additional water softener facts, please visit watersoftenerfacts.ca
Based on the Walkerton Inquiry recommendations, the Ministry of the Environment implemented the Municipal Drinking Water Licensing Program (MDWLP) through regulation, O. Reg. 188/07.
Upon successfully meeting the following criteria, the Township of Guelph/Eramosa was issued its first Municipal Drinking Water Licenses (MDWLs) and Drinking Water Works Permits (DWWPs) by the Ministry of the Environment in December 2010.
- A Drinking Water Works Permit (DWWP), replaces Certificate of Approval (C of A),
- A Permit to Take Water (PTTW), already existing,
- A Ministry of Environment and Climate Change accepted Operational Plan, based on the Drinking Water Quality Management Standard (DWQMS),
- An Accredited Operating Authority, achieved by passing a third party audit of the DWQMS, and
- A Financial Plan, as required by regulation O. Reg. 453/07.
Drinking Water Quality Management System (QMS)
The Township of Guelph/Eramosa has developed a Drinking Water Quality Management System for the Hamilton Drive and Rockwood Water Supply Systems to comply with the Drinking Water Licensing Program.
A drinking water quality management system is collective policies, plans, procedures, and the supporting infrastructure by which an organization aims to reduce and eventually eliminate non-conformance to specifications, standards, and customer expectations in the most effective and efficient manner.
Drinking Water Quality Management Standard (DWQMS) Can be described simply as
- Plan – establish the objectives, policy, and procedures necessary to deliver the results
- Do – implement the procedures
- Check – monitor and measure procedures and report the results
- Improve – take action to continually improve performance
Who does the DWQMS impact?
Anyone responsible and / or involved in the delivery of safe drinking water from a municipal residential drinking water system. This includes the Mayor, Councilors, Clerks, Treasurers, CAOs, Public Works Staff, Operating Authorities, Managers, Operators, and Administrative Assistants
What are some benefits of the program?
- The System as a whole is striving to reduce the risks
- Provides consistency to operations
- Provides procedures to reduce errors
- Improves teamwork & communications
- Roles & responsibilities are clearly identified
- Everyone strives to improve
Operational Plan defines and documents the Quality Managment System (QMS) for the Municipality of Guelph/Eramosa. It outlines the policies and procedures with respect to quality management in accordance with the requirements of the Province of Ontario's Drinking Water Quality Management Standard (DWQMS).
If you could like a copy of the Township's Quality Management System Operation Plan, please contact our Water/Wastewater Department at 519-856-9596 etx. 122 or email@example.com.
Click here to view the Municipality's QMS Policy
In August 2010, the Township of Guelph/Eramosa began preparing the Financial Plan as per O.Reg. 453/07. The regulation requires that Council must approve the Plan by July 1, 2010. Town Council approved the Financial Plan at its meeting on June 20, 2011. The Financial Plan provides an in-depth analysis of capital and operating needs, a review of current and future demand versus supply, and consideration of available funding sources.
Ontario’s Drinking Water Systems regulation Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 - O. Reg. 170/03 requires that the owner of a municipal drinking water system prepare an annual report on the operation of the system and the quality of its’ water.
For questions regarding drinking water reports contact Water/Wastewater Department at 519-856-9596 Ext 122 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here for a Glossary of Analytical Terms for Drinking Water
Click on the links below to view reports. For Gazer Mooney, please see City of Guelph Annual and Summary Water Services Reports and Waterworks Reports.
If you have questions, please contact our Water/Wastewater Department at 519-856-9596 ext. 122 or email@example.com