Lower Trent Conservation

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Drinking Water Source Protection

Water is an essential element of everyday life, it is crucial that we do our part in preserving the quality of our water today and for the future!  


Drinking Water Source Protection began after the tragic events of Walkerton in 2000, where 7 people died and thousands became ill after drinking water contaminated with e-coli and bacteria. This event negatively affected vulnerable water sources, bringing change. In 2006 the provincial government made a commitment to the citizens of Ontario by passing the Clean Water Act to protect the sources of drinking water supplies throughout Ontario. The Trent Source Protection plan was developed based on science from the assessment reports and  has been in effect since January 1, 2015. An amendment was approved February, 2018. The newly approved amendment document can be found on the Trent Conservation Coalition’s website.  Trust the Tap Logo.png

How the plan came to be?

The Trent Conservation Coalition Source Protection Committee, a multi-stakeholder committee comprised of municipal, special interest group and business sectors, and First Nations across the region guided the development of the plan. Lower Trent Conservation partnered with four other Conservation Authorities Crowe Valley, Ganaraska Region, Kawartha Region, and Otonabee (all within the source protection planning region). Lower Trent Conservation, as the Lead partner, manages the administrative and financial aspects of the program and oversees the work of the source water protection project team. 

What is a vulnerable area? 

Vulnerable areas are mapped locations near sources of drinking water are sensitive to activities that could effect the quality of the drinking water. There are two types of vulnerable surface water areas for drinking water; surface which is known as an intake protection zone and groundwater which is known as a wellhead protection areas that have been recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. 

Are you in a vulnerable area? 

If you are not certain please visit the interactive map below found on the Trent Conservation Coalition website. Real Estate Agents are encouraged to search the address of their listing or contact a Risk Management Official (RMO) to determine if it is in a vulnerable area. 

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Drinking Water Protection Zone Signs 

These signs are placed in areas that are more sensitive to threats that could put the local drinking water at risk. If you witness a spill it is important that you call Emergency Services (911) or Ontario Spills Action Centre (1-800-268-6060) so that it doesn’t go unreported. To learn more about drinking water protection zones and road signs CLICK HERE. 

Threats to Drinking Water

Threats to drinking water can easily occur because of pollution caused by humans, these pollutants often run right into groundwater sources, and local surface water. There are 21 threats that have been identified, and are described in five categories bellow. Please click on the photo of each threat for more information.

The Threat

Short description




Improperly cared for septic systems are considered to be potential threats to drinking water source, due to possible leaching of contaminants such as chemicals and bacteria into ground or surface water.



Agricultural & Livestock  


Improper application, handling, and storage of agricultural material can contaminate local drinking water i.e. manure produced by farm animals, runoff from farm yards and manure storages. Application and storage of commercial fertilizers, and application and storage of pesticides.


Road Salt


Large quantities of salt applied to the roadways, can end up in our lakes and streams causing harm to the water quality. 



Snow Storage


Large piles of snow stored in areas such as large parking lots or even along streets, can be contaminated with road salt, car pollutants and heavy metals often lead to contaminated drinking water sources once they begin to melt.  



Hazardous waste

Improper storage or handling of hazardous waste, such as paint removers, metal cleaners, and stains, etc. Even small amounts of liquid hazardous waste such as paint, motor oil can contaminate a large area of water. Dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) are chemicals  that are heavier or denser than water and do not dissolve easily in water, for example crude oil. 



Other resources:

Check out our video for a brief overview of Source Protection. Click here.


Contacting a Risk Management Official (RMO)

Why should you?

If you are in a vulnerable area and are engaging in any of the activities that would affect drinking water a Risk Management Official will work with you to develop a Risk Management Plan that you both agree on, and that is specific to your site for any activities that you may be engaging in. In the case that something does happen you will have a proper plan in place to help protect municipal drinking water sources.

When to contact a Risk Management Official

A Notice from the Risk Management Official, will be required as part of a complete application to the Municipality for any application pertaining to a proposed development, including building permits, rezoning, minor variances, and plans of subdivisions within a Source Water Protection Vulnerable Area.  This review process ensures drinking water protection policies under the Trent Source Protection Plan are adhered to. The notice from the Risk Management Official will identify if the activities related to development require a risk management plan which has been agreed to or established, or does not require a risk management plan and is not prohibited. If the proposed activity is prohibited the development will not be able to proceed.  

To apply for a notice please complete the Section 59 Application.

Once completed please contact the Risk Management Official: 

Chris McLeod  
(613) 394-3915 ext 250

For general inquiries please contact:    

Anne Anderson  
(613) 394-3915 ext 219

To learn more about the Clean Water Act and source protection planning within the Trent Conservation Coalition Source Protection Region, go to the Trent Conservation Coalition Source Protection Region  website.