The Ontario government has approved the Cataraqui Source Protection Plan to strengthen local source-to-tap drinking water protection.

Kingston skyline. Credit: Kevin MacKinnon.
Kingston skyline. Credit: Kevin MacKinnon.

The plan was developed by local municipal and community partners on the Cataraqui source protection committee and will take effect on April 1, 2015.

“I am pleased that our plan has been approved,” said John Williamson, the chair of the Cataraqui source protection committee. “The science-based plan will better protect the sources of our drinking water as Justice O’Connor recommended following the Walkerton tragedy.”

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Actions set out in the Cataraqui plan will:

• Create risk-management plans for handling and storing pesticides, fertilizers, fuel, and manure;
• Provide information to residents on the proper care, re-inspection, and maintenance of septic systems;
• Conduct regular inspection of a sewer storage tank; and
• Produce and place road signs to identify drinking water protection zones.

“Few things are as important to our health and well-being as having safe water to drink,” said Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray. “Protecting the sources that supply our drinking water is the first step in keeping our drinking water safe and helps ensure we never have another Walkerton incident.”

The Cataraqui source protection area is located at the eastern end of Lake Ontario and the upper part of the St. Lawrence River, covering about 3,200-square kilometres. It is home to 210,000 people with 15 municipalities, including Kingston, Brockville, and Greater Napanee.

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