Members of the Ontario Municipal Water Association (OMWA) are among the first five municipalities to have successfully applied for the new Ontario municipal drinking water system license. Huron County, the City of Hamilton, the City of Kingston, Halton Region and the Town of Tecumseh, all OMWA members, are the first five municipalities in Ontario to receive the new license.
The development and implementation of the Municipal Drinking Water Licensing Program is based on Justice O’Connor’s recommendations in the Part II Walkerton Report. Justice O’Connor recommended that the Ministry require all owners of municipal drinking water systems to obtain a license to operate their systems. Justice O’Connor also recommended that the owners and operating authorities of these systems implement a quality management approach to operations and management. According to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, it is the first quality management system of its kind in North America.
The license is based on continuous improvement into day-to-day operations. It consolidates a number of existing approvals into one, including a permit to take water, a drinking-water works permit (formerly a certificate of approval), an operational plan, an operating authority accreditation, and a financial plan. Licensing is being phased in starting with large municipalities. All owners of municipal drinking water systems must apply for their licenses by June 1, 2010.