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General Information > The Walkerton Inquiry




In May 2000, water contaminated by a virulent strain of E. coli bacteria made its way into the municipal water system of the community of Walkerton. Within days, seven people had died and thousands of others had become ill from drinking the contaminated water.

Multi Barrier ApproachAs a result of the events in Walkerton, the provincial government convened an inquiry, which was led by Justice Dennis O'Connor of the Supreme Court of Ontario. In 2002, Justice O'Connor released two report findings and recommendations to ensure safe water supply systems in Ontario. Part 1 described the events that took place in Walkerton and the series of human and system failures that led to the water being contaminated. Part 2 of the report focused on the public policy development for the protection of Ontario's drinking supply. A total of 121 recommendations were made with 22 of those related to Drinking Water Source Protection.

Justice O'Connor recommended that drinking water is best protected by taking an approach that uses multiple barriers to prevent contamination from affecting our drinking water, called the 'multi-barrier approach.' Actions to prevent contamination include water treatment and distribution systems, water testing, and training of water managers. Parts 1 & 2 of the Walkerton Report are available from the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General's website.

Trent Conservation Coalition Partners

Crowe Valley Conservation Authority 1 Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority 1 Kawartha Conservation
Lower Trent Conservation 1 Otonabee Conservation

ont This project made possible through the support of the Government of Ontario