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Small Drinking Water Systems

Small Drinking Water Systems A glass of water

If your business or premises makes drinking water available to the public and you do not get your drinking water from a municipal drinking water system, you may be an owner or operator of a “small drinking water system.”

What is a Small Drinking Water System (SDWS)?

A SDWS may be a privately or publicly owned and operated drinking water system that provides non-municipal drinking water to the public. These systems use private wells/cisterns or surface water drawn from rivers, lakes or ponds and are common in rural areas. Some examples of small drinking water systems may include:

  • Seasonal trailer parks, campgrounds or resorts with 6 or more connections
  • Restaurants on private water systems
  • Hotels, motels and bed and breakfast accommodations
  • Libraries, gas stations
  • Recreational and athletic facilities
  • Place of worship
  • Places where service clubs and fraternal organizations meet
  • Any place where the general public has access to a drinking water fountain, shower or washroom

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Responsibilities of a SDWS Owner/Operator

Under Regulation 319/08 External link made under the Health Protection and Promotion Act External link, owners/operators of small drinking water systems are required to keep the drinking water safe.

Public health units in Ontario are responsible for inspecting and monitoring small drinking water systems. These systems are assessed to determine the safety of the drinking water, to reduce the incidence of water-borne illness and to determine the level of owner/operator compliance with regulation 319/08 External link.

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What if my business or organization operates a small drinking water system?

If your business or organization operates a small drinking water system you will need to complete the following forms:

Please submit completed forms to:

    Halton Region Health Department
    Health Protection Services
    1151 Bronte Rd., Oakville, ON L6M 3L1
    Or fax to 905-825-8797

Once the completed forms have been received by the Halton Region Health Department, a public health inspector will contact you to arrange a time for a site-specific risk assessment.

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Adverse Water Quality Reporting

If you own/operate a SDWS you are required by law to report any adverse (unsafe) water quality incidents to your local Health Unit.

To report an adverse water quality incident in Halton Region, call Halton Region Health Department at 1-866-442-5866 or dial 311 to speak with a public health inspector during regular business hours or the on-call public health inspector when calling after business hours.

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Additional Information

To learn more about directives, regulations, operator training, source water, treatment options, sampling and testing, and response to adverse events visit the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's Small Drinking Water Systems External link web page.

If you have questions or are not sure whether you own a small drinking water system, contact the Halton Region Public Health Department at 1-866-422-5866 or dial 311 and ask to speak with a public health inspector.

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