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Water System Operators

Small Drinking Water System Operators

If your business or organization provides unrestricted access to drinking water for the public and your water is not directly from a municipal (city) source, you could be operating a Small Drinking Water System (SDWS). These systems need to follow the requirements for Small Drinking Water Systems (Ontario Regulation 319/08).

Public health inspectors will conduct an on-site assessment of each SDWS in Simcoe and Muskoka. Small drinking water systems regulated under Regulation 319/08 can include restaurants, seasonal trailer parks, summer camps, community centres, libraries, gas stations, motels, churches and many other public facilities not served by municipal water.

Ontario Regulation 319/08 (Small Drinking Water Systems) sets out specific requirements that owners and operators of SDWS's must comply with. These include:

Every owner and operator of a SDWS must provide specific information to the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) in writing prior to re-opening after a 60-day closure, or after the construction, installation, alteration or extension of the SDWS.

To comply with these requirements, owners/operators must complete and submit the Small Drinking Water Systems Notice and Designation Form.

Owners and operators of SDWS's are required to have water from their systems tested at alaboratory licensed by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). Written notice identifying the laboratory must be submitted to the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) by completing the Laboratory Services Notification (LSN) form. The minimum sampling requirement is for E. coli and total coliform bacteria. The directive issued by one of our public health inspectors may specify other tests that must be performed. These records must be kept for five years and must be made available, if requested by a member of the public, for a period of two years.

If a SDWS treats water, the owner and operator of the SDWS must ensure the water treatment equipment meets specific requirements that are detailed in Ontario Regulation 319/08. For systems that obtain water from a surface water source, the owner and operator must ensure appropriate treatment equipment is provided.

When something goes wrong with small drinking water system (SDWS), the event may be referred to as an adverse drinking water quality incident (AWQI). As soon as you are aware of an adverse test result of your SDWS, or if you see that the drinking water directed to users is not being property disinfected, you must:

  • Immediately report the event to the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) by speaking with someone in person or on the phone. Even if the health unit is closed, you can s till report it.
  • A public health inspector is available to take these reports during regular office hours Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 extension 8811.
  • If reporting an adverse water quality incident outside of regular office hours, please call 1-877-225-7851 to speak with an inspector.

IMPORTANT: You must speak directly with someone on the phone. DO NOT leave a message. If you receive voicemail, reroute to the receptionist and notify them you are calling about an adverse drinking water result.

When the issue is corrected, you must deliver a follow-up written notice to our health unit Medical Officer of Health (MOH) summarizing the actions taken and the results achieved. Fill out the section "Summary of Actions Taken and Results Achieved" on the Notice of Adverse Test Results and Issue Resolution form. Fax, e-mail or deliver the completed form to our health unit within one week after you resolve the problem.
Below are forms that apply to SDWS. As owners/operators of SDWS, you are responsible for completing and submitting the necessary forms to the health unit.
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