Drinking Water Stewardship

Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program

As part of its commitment to safe drinking water and as established in the Clean Water Act, the Ministry of the Environment has launched the Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program, a financial assistance program to help landowners take action to reduce threats to local municipal drinking water sources.

Funding will be provided by the Ministry of the Environment, through partnerships with participating Source Protection Regions. A total of $21 million is available over three years from spring 2008 to spring 2011.

Early Action Funding for Landowners

Under the Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program, funding will be available to assist landowners who take early actions that protect municipal drinking water sources.

If you have a farm, business, or property within a 1km radius within a municipal water treatment plant intake, you may qualify for assistance for the following projects:

  • Well Decommissioning and Upgrading
    Improperly maintained and old, unused wells can become a direct pathway for pollution to contaminate our drinking water sources. Plugging or sealing unused wells will reduce the risk of contamination to our groundwater. Funding is available for sealing and capping old water wells, upgrades to prevent surface water contamination, and connection to a municipal drinking water service line. The program pays 80% to a max of $4,000.
  • Septic System Inspections and Upgrades
    Improperly maintained or failing septic systems can contaminate our sources of drinking water and cause serious environmental and health problems. The septic program will provide funding for the repair, upgrade, or replacement of faulty or malfunctioning septic systems. Funding is also available for connection to a municipal sewer line, if available. The program pays 80% to a max of $7,000 for a regular system and $15,000 for an advanced system.
  • Runoff and Erosion Protection
    Overland runoff and soil erosion can harmfully impact municipal drinking water sources. Funding is available for projects to restore buffer strips and riparian zones. Well vegetated stream banks and buffer strips can reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients reaching a water source. The program pays between 25% - 70% to a max of $1,000 - $30,000.
  • Pollution Prevention Review for Small and Medium-sized Businesses
    These audits, for businesses with 500 employees or less, are aimed at identifying best management practices of materials storage, handling, and disposal of contaminants that may have an impact on the environment. The program pays 100% to a maximum of $12,000 for materials, supplies, and professional fees or technical support of the review.
  • Fuel Storage
    Information coming soon.

Municipal Drinking Water Intake Maps

Is your property near a municipal drinking water intake? You may be eligible for funding to help protect our local drinking water. Click here to view an area map and see if you qualify.

To ensure your proposed project qualifies and for technical assistance, please contact the Essex Region Conservation Authority to complete an application.

Katie Stammler, PhD
Source Water Protection Project Manager
519.776.5209 Ext: 342

Additional Information

  • More information on the Source Protection Program including an application form and guidance can be found on the Ministry of the Environment Website
  • Click here for further local information on drinking water source water protection.