Mayor's Report - June 2005


NEW BC REGULATIONS FOR SMALL WATER SYSTEMS

Mayor Ralph Drew

On May 30th, Council and representatives from the Fraser Health Authority held an information meeting regarding the new provincial Drinking Water Protection Act & Regulations and how the new regulations impact the small (2 or more) privately shared water systems. The recent Belcarra Aquifer Study was summarized by Councillor Glover, Chair of the Environmental Affairs Committee, as part of the discussion of water source alternatives, and Council’s proposal to undertake a comprehensive study of water distribution options was also discussed.

The new Drinking Water Protection Act & Regulations (DWPA & DWPR) came into force on May 16th, 2003, and provides a comprehensive legal framework for drinking water protection. The new regulations replace the October 1992 Safe Drinking Water Regulations under the Health Act. The new Act establishes a Drinking Water Officer (DWO) as statutory decision-maker, and the DWO for the Belcarra area is Dr. Nadine Loewen. All water systems that provide drinking water to more than one single-family residence must comply with the new Act and Regulations.

Marc Zubel and Brian Standing from the Fraser Health Authority reviewed key requirements of the new DWPA & DWPR as follows:

  • A water supplier must provide potable water to the users served by its water supply system. (DWPA – Section 6)
  • “Water Supplier” means a person who is the owner of a water supply system.
  • “Owner” includes a person who is responsible for the ongoing operation of the water supply system or is in charge of managing that operation. (For 2 or more “owners”, refer to DWPA – Section 17.)
  • “Potable Water” means water that meets the water quality standards prescribed by regulation, and is safe to drink and fit for domestic purposes without further treatment.
  • A person must not construct, install, alter or extend a water supply system or works, facilities or equipment unless a construction permit for this has been issued. A person applying for a construction permit must include results of water quality analyses. (DWPA – Section 7)
  • In order to operate a water supply system, the water supplier must hold a valid operating permit. (DWPA – Section 8)
  • A person must not operate, maintain or repair a water supply system unless the person is qualified. A person is qualified if the person is certified by the Environmental Operators Certification Program (EOCP) for the class of system as classified under the EOCP. (DWPA – Section 9, DWPR – Section 12)
  • The water supplier must have a written emergency response and contingency plan. The water supplier must make this plan accessible to staff of the water supplier, and provide a copy to the DWO; and make a summary of the plan accessible to the users served by the water system. (DWPA – Section 10, DWPR – Section 13)
  • A water supplier must monitor its drinking water source, the water in the system, and the water it provides for: (a) total coliform bacteria, and (b) fecal coliform bacteria or Escherichia coli. The laboratory must report the results of analyses to the DWO and to the water supplier. (DWPA – Section 11, DWPR – Section 8)
  • A water supplier must immediately report and give public notice of threats to drinking water, i.e. water that is not or may not be potable. (DWPA – Section 12-14, DWPR – Sections 9-10)
  • A water supplier must prepare and make public an annual report on the results of the monitoring of water quality. (DWPA – Section 15, DWPR – Section 11)

Marc and Brian also reviewed the Multiple Barrier Approach to reducing drinking water health risks:

  • Source Water Protection – By limiting or prohibiting wastewater discharges and other sources of water pollution.
  • Treatment – Adequate treatment such as disinfection and/or filtration.
  • Water Distribution System – Safeguarding water quality during storage and distribution.
  • At The User’s Tap – Monitoring the water quality of the distribution system and enforcement of water quality standards.

It’s clear that the new BC regulations will mean changes for all water systems that provide drinking water to more than one single-family residence, but it is hard to argue against the protection of people’s health and safety!

RALPH DREW
MAYOR


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Village of Belcarra
4084 Bedwell Bay Road
Belcarra, BCCANADA
V3H 4P8

E-mail: belcarra@belcarra.ca
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