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Technical Studies and Policy Development Continue for Essex Region Source Protection Committee

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013

Essex -The Essex Region Source Protection Authority is continuing to expand its technical studies in preparation for its Updated Assessment Report. Draft policies will be developed to address significant threats, identified through technical studies, as required by the Clean Water Act (2006).

"Additional technical information is now being completed on the Lake Erie intakes of Union, Harrow-Colchester, Pelee Island, and Wheatley water treatment plants," said Tom Fuerth, Chair, Source Protection Committee. "This new information will be used to further update the Assessment Report as well as the proposed Source Protection Plan for the Essex Region Source Protection Area," said Fuerth.

The technical work has been completed for fuel threats within the Source Protection Area. "Fuel is a drinking water threat because a spill or leak of liquid fuel could contaminate drinking water sources and cause damage to the natural environment," said Fuerth. Potential contaminants include BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) and PHCs (petroleum hydrocarbons).

Current technical work has also begun with the identification of microcystins as a drinking water quality issue in the raw or untreated water for Lake Erie. "Microcystins is a toxin produced by blue green algae blooms. As per the Act's technical rules, once an issue is identified, an Issues Contributing Area must be mapped out to include the sources of the issue and if the issue is wholly or partially due to man-made causes," said Chitra Gowda, Project Manager, Source Water Protection.

Maps of these new vulnerable areas can be viewed on the Water quality policies will also be drafted to apply to these new vulnerable areas and will be available for consultation in early 2014.

"The Essex Region Source Protection Committee is committed to working with municipalities, various stakeholders, and the general public to ensure that the Source Protection Plan is relevant at the local level and that our drinking water sources are protected now and for future generations," said Fuerth.

The Clean Water Act plays a major role in ensuring that all Ontarians have access to safe drinking water. During the past several years, under the guidance of a multi-sector Source Protection Committee, the Essex Region Conservation Authority has carried out technical studies and developed a Source Protection Plan specifying actions to be taken to protect sources of drinking water, to meet the requirements of the Act.