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Ontario Approves Plan to Protect Drinking Water in Essex Region

Archived News Release

Ontario Approves Plan to Protect Drinking Water in Essex Region

Province Supports Actions to Safeguard Drinking Water

Ontario has approved the Essex Region Source Protection Plan to strengthen local source-to-tap drinking water protection.

The plan, developed by local municipal and community partners on the Essex Region source protection committee, will take effect Oct. 1, 2015.

Source protection plans are local science-based plans designed to protect the water quality of the lakes, rivers and sources of underground water that supply municipal drinking water systems. The plans set out actions to eliminate, manage or reduce potential risks to drinking water sources.

Actions set out in the Essex Region plan include:

  • Creating management plans to oversee sewer, stormwater and wastewater treatment facilities
  • Developing plans to respond to potential fuel spills within water intake protection zones
  • Providing information to residents on best practices for maintaining their wells and above-ground fuel tanks, and for reducing discharges to sewage and stormwater facilities
  • Producing and placing road signs to identify drinking water protection zones
  • Delivering an education and outreach program to help reduce the amount of phosphorus entering area water supplies, and collecting data to learn more about local sources of phosphorus.

Protecting the province's clean drinking water and safeguarding our environment is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • The Clean Water Act established 19 local committees across Ontario. Each committee developed science-based plans that address risks to the water that supplies municipal drinking water systems.
  • Essex Region has seven municipal drinking water systems that serve approximately 95 per cent of the area's residents.
  • Each drinking water system draws water from a surface source - lakes Erie or St. Clair, or the Detroit River. No municipal system relies on groundwater for its supply.

Additional Resources


“Few things are as important to our health as having safe water to drink. Ontario's multi-barrier approach to protect drinking water has made our tap water among the best protected in the world. Protecting the sources of drinking water - our lakes, rivers and groundwater - is the foundation of our safety net.”

Glen Murray

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

“We are proud of the work of the Essex Region source protection committee in reaching this goal. Collaboration with our local stakeholders, municipal partners and the ministry has resulted in policies designed to protect sources of municipal water supply. The science-based process will provide ongoing protection by recognizing and minimizing the risk to water supply sources from land-use activities. We look forward to continuing with our partners into the future to enhance the protection of existing and future sources of drinking water.”

Tom Feurth

Chair, Essex Region source protection committee

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