McGuinty government helps communities protect their drinking water sources

Archived Release

McGuinty government helps communities protect their drinking water sources

Funding for drinking water stewardship enshrined in legislation TORONTO, Dec. 3 - The McGuinty government is providing $7 million to help farmers, property owners and businesses take steps now to protect local drinking water sources, Environment Minister John Gerretsen and Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Leona Dombrowsky announced today. "We have a shared responsibility for protecting drinking water. Our government is making it easier for people who live and work in rural communities to do their part and make early changes that help safeguard local drinking water sources now and into the future," said Gerretsen. Ontario's Clean Water Act, which was passed to protect drinking water sources, is the first such legislation to include a special assistance program for rural communities. Of this initial $7 million: - $4 million is helping with the costs of measures taken in areas around municipal wells and water intakes such as upgrading wells and septic systems, installing runoff and erosion controls and reviews aimed at improving how businesses store, handle and dispose of materials. - $2 million is for promoting awareness of what individuals and businesses can do and the funding available to them. - $1 million is going to special projects to protect municipal drinking water sources including those that demonstrate a new or innovative approach. Contact Info "We listened when farmers told us that they need financial assistance to implement source water protection," said Dombrowsky. "We have also committed an additional $21 million over the next three years to support water protection efforts in rural Ontario." An advisory panel including agricultural, municipal and conservation authority representatives provided advice to guide the development and ongoing operation of the Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program including the types of activities that should be funded. "As a member of the Minister's Advisory Panel that provided advice on this program, I am extremely pleased to see this investment in protecting our drinking water supplies. On behalf of Ontario's Conservation Authorities I'd also like to say we appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Ministry in the local delivery of these funds," said Don Pearson, General Manager of Conservation Ontario. Disponible en français Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR RURAL SOURCE PROTECTION EFFORTS The McGuinty government is flowing $7 million to help farmers, property owners and businesses in rural Ontario learn about the Clean Water Act and implement measures now to help protect municipal drinking water sources. This funding is part of the new Drinking Water Stewardship Program under the Clean Water Act. An additional $21 million will also be invested over the next three years to allow for outreach, education and early action to protect drinking water sources across the province. Supporting Drinking Water Protection Activities Of the $7 million available now, $4 million is for use by farmers, rural property owners, small/medium-sized business owners and facilities located within a 100-metre radius of a municipal wellhead and/or a 200-metre radius of a municipal surface water intake for the following purposes: - Decommissioning abandoned wells and upgrading existing drinking water wells to prevent them from becoming pollutant pathways to municipal drinking water sources. - Repairing, upgrading or replacing faulty or malfunctioning septic systems. - Constructing and/or restoring buffer strips and riparian zones to protect municipal drinking water sources from runoff contamination and soil erosion. - Pollution prevention reviews of small and medium-sized businesses that manufacture, handle, store and dispose of materials to identify threats to sources of municipal drinking water and how they can be reduced or eliminated. - Land conservation measures to protect municipal wellhead and water intake areas. The funding for these activities is being delivered to land owners through the local conservation authorities and to farm owners by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. Up to 70 per cent of the costs of implementing measures such as upgrading wells and septic systems, runoff and erosion controls and land conservation could be covered. Assistance received from this program may be combined with other funding programs to increase cost recovery. Education and Outreach $2 million is dedicated to promoting awareness of the measures individuals and businesses can implement to help protect drinking water sources and the funding available to them. For example: - The St. Lawrence River Institute is developing an interactive learning kit on water quality and its importance for students in grades seven through twelve. - Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, London, Hamilton, Peterborough, and Ottawa region conservation authority staff will be going door to door to talk with property owners in vulnerable areas about the goals of the Clean Water Act, water protection activities and this funding program. - The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association is meeting with farm owners in identified source protection areas to tell them about the funding for improving their wells and septic systems and for installing runoff and erosion controls. The association has also prepared a brochure outlining all the cost-share opportunities that are available to the farm community. - Pollution Probe is partnering with a number of water management agencies to develop a web site to give water managers and the public access to water management data, including innovative mapping and graphing applications. Special Projects The remaining one million dollars is going to special projects including projects that: - promote and support the principles of source protection in the Clean Water Act, - demonstrate a new or innovative approach to protecting municipal drinking water sources protect sources of municipal drinking water outside of Source Protection Areas; or, - are carried out by First Nations to protect sources of municipal drinking water drinking. This funding includes money allocated to developing and designing a free pollution prevention review program for businesses and training conservation authorities on how to conduct the reviews. The Clean Water Act The Clean Water Act, 2006, which came into effect in July 2007, sets the legal framework for communities to develop plans to protect the sources of municipal drinking water. Communities will decide what measures are needed to protect their water supplies and how best to carry them out. Source protection plans will be prepared and delivered locally under the leadership of local source protection committees. Source protection planning is currently getting underway now that the chairs of all the local source protection committees have been named. Further information on the Clean Water Act and source protection planning can be found on the Ministry of the Environment website at: www.ontario.ca/cleanwater. Further information on funding for land owners can be obtained from local conservation authorities at: http://www.conservation-ontario.on.ca/source_protection/otherswpregionsindex.h tm. Further information on funding for farm owners can be obtained from the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association at: http://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/. Disponible en français Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- FUNDING FOR EARLY ACTION AND EDUCATION AND OUTREACH The McGuinty government is flowing $7 million to help farmers, property owners and businesses in rural Ontario learn about the Clean Water Act and implement measures now to help protect municipal drinking water sources. Of this funding, $4 million is for helping farmers, rural property owners, small/medium-sized business owners and facilities with the costs of measures taken in areas around municipal wells and water intakes such as upgrading wells and septic systems. The funding for these activities is being delivered to land owners through the local conservation authorities and the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. $2 million is dedicated to promoting awareness of the Clean Water Act, the measures individuals and businesses can implement to help protect drinking water sources and the funding available to them. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Conservation Authority/ Early Action Education/Outreach Total Funding Delivery Agent Funding Funding ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ausable Bayfield, Maitland Valley $156,069 $101,120 $257,189 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cataraqui Region $41,618 $131,172* $172,790 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Essex Region $24,277 $87,610 $111,887 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Grey Sauble, Saugeen Valley $239,306 - $239,306 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Halton , Hamilton $72,832 - $110,582 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kawartha Conservation, Crowe Valley, Otonabee, Lower $332,948 $203,905 $536,853 Trent, Ganaraska Region ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lake Erie Region, Catfish Creek, Grand River, Kettle $579,191 $251,460 $830,651 Creek, Long Point Region ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lake Simcoe Region, Nottawasaga Valley $1,144,509 $284,222 $1,428,731 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lakehead Region - $24,000 $24,000 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lower Thames Valley, Upper Thames River, $381,503 $128,975 $510,478 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- St. Clair Region Mississippi Valley, Rideau Valley $83,237 $131,172* $214,409 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Nickel District $41,618 $72,765 $114,383 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Niagara Peninsula $27,746 - $27,746 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Quinte $41,618 $131,172* $172,790 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Raisin Region, South Nation $110,983 $114,450 $225,433 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sault Ste. Marie Region - $25,825 $25,825 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Toronto and Region, Credit Valley $253,179 $91,900 $345,079 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association $400,000 $74,000 $474,000 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- * Funding provided as part of a single project lead by Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. The remaining $1 million is going to special projects to protect municipal drinking water sources including those that demonstrate a new or innovative approach. Disponible en français For further information: Contact information for media: Patti Munce, Minister Gerretsen's Office, (416) 314-6736; John Steele, Ministry of the Environment, (416) 314-6666; Contact information for the general public: (416) 325-4000 or 1-800-565-4923/www.ene.gov.on.ca HELP | CONTACT US | PRIVACY | IMPORTANT NOTICES © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008-2009 — Last Modified: February 15, 2009 For further information: Contact information for media: Patti Munce, Minister Gerretsen's Office, (416) 314-6736; John Steele, Ministry of the Environment, (416) 314-6666; Contact information for the general public: (416) 325-4000 or 1-800-565-4923/www.ene.gov.on.ca