What is Source Water Protection?
Source water refers to surface water (e.g. lake) or groundwater (e.g. aquifer) sources that are used for drinking water. Therefore, source water protection refers to the protection of surface water and groundwater drinking water sources from both contamination and overuse.
In 2000, Walkerton Ontario’s water supply became contaminated with E. coli from agricultural runoff, which caused the death of seven individuals, while another 2,300 individuals became ill. In response, a multi-barrier approach was recommended to protect municipal drinking water throughout Ontario. As part of that process, the Kettle Creek Source Protection Plan was developed and approved on September 11, 2014, and took effect on January 1, 2015.
Kettle Creek Watershed Drinking Water Sources
Within the Kettle Creek watershed there are two sources of municipal drinking water: the Elgin Area Primary Water Supply System (EAPWSS) and the Belmont Water Supply System (BWSS). The EAPWSS, located east of Port Stanley, has a treatment capacity of 91 million litres of water per day and serves a population of approximately 112,000 individuals in the cities of London and St. Thomas, the municipalities of Bayham, Central Elgin, and Dutton Dunwich, the townships of Malahide and Southwold, and the town of Aylmer. The BWSS operates two artesian wells that supply 500 cubic metres of water per day to 1,900 individuals within the village of Belmont.
Source Protection Plan
The Kettle Creek Source Protection Plan establishes policies to effectively address significant drinking water threats now and in the future for both the EAPWSS and the BWSS. While the BWSS has no significant drinking water threats, the handling and storage of commercial fertilizer (greater than 5,000 cubic metres) and fuel (greater than 6000 litres) are significant risks to the EAPWSS. Therefore, Risk Management Plans have been developed and implemented to ensure these existing activities cease to be significant drinking water threats. Future handling and storage of commercial fertilizer and fuel in large quantities are prohibited according to the policies established by the Kettle Creek Source Protection Plan.
To learn more, please see the Lake Erie Source Protection Region’s website at www.sourcewater.ca.
Intake Protection Zones
An Intake Protection Zone (IPZ) surrounds the EAPWSS intake pipe, which is defined as the area, both land and water, surrounding an intake pipe that is vulnerable to potential contaminants that may pose a significant threat to the drinking water source. Under the Clean Water Act, 2006, several IPZs have been identified: one that is proximity based (IPZ-1), one that is time based (IPZ-2), and one that is event based (IPZ-3). IPZ-1 represents a 1 kilometre radius around the intake pipe, which as a result of proximity is the most vulnerable to contaminants. IPZ-2 represents a 2-hour time of travel to the intake pipe. This means that it would take 2-hours for a contaminant to reach the intake pipe from anywhere within IPZ-2. IPZ-3 is event based, and represents the area where a spill of commercial fertilizer from harbour lands or a spill of diesel fuel from the EAPWSS could deteriorate the water quality at the intake pipe.
Wellhead Protection Areas
A Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA) surrounds the BWSS wells, which is defined as the area, both above and below ground, surrounding a wellhead that is vulnerable to potential contaminants that may pose a significant threat to the drinking water source. Under the Clean Water Act, 2006, several WHPAs have been identified: one that is proximity based (WHPA-A) and three that are time based (WHPA-B, WHPA-C, and WHPA-D). WHPA-A represents a 100 metre radius around the wellheads, which as a result of proximity is the most vulnerable to contaminants. WHPA-B, WHPA-C, and WHPA-D represent a 2-year time of travel, 5-year time of travel, and 25-year time of travel, respectively. This means that it would take 2-years, 5-years, and 25-years for a contaminant to reach the wellhead from anywhere within their respected WHPA
- Kettle Creek Source Protection Area: Source Protection Primer
- Kettle Creek Source Protection Area: Part-IV Primer
- Source Water Protection: Where Does Your Drinking Water Come From?
- Source Water Protection: Port Stanley Intake Protection Zone
- Source Water Protection: Belmont Wellhead Protection Area
- Source Water Protection: Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids