Amendments to Ontario Regulation 287/07 "General" under the Clean Water Act, 2006

ERO number
013-1839
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Clean Water Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 22
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Transferred to
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
December 22, 2017 - February 20, 2018 (60 days) Closed

This consultation was open from:
December 22, 2017
to February 20, 2018

Decision summary

We have updated a regulation under the Clean Water Act to better protect drinking water sources to safeguard new and expanding municipal drinking water supplies, improve how source protection plans are kept up to date and update the list of drinking water threats.

Decision details

On December 22, 2017, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change posted proposed changes under the Clean Water Act for a 60-day public comment period.

The ministry has decided to make the proposed changes to the General Regulation and the Tables of Drinking Water Threats with some changes to address input we received from the comment period. The amendments will come into effect on July 1, 2018.

Key updates to the regulation include:

  • Requiring a source protection authority to identify the necessary updates to a source protection plan to ensure sources of drinking water are protected when municipalities add new or alter their existing drinking water systems.
  • Improving the ability to update plans by adding two new types of minor administrative amendments:
    • updating source protection plans to remove wells or intakes that are no longer used to provide drinking water to the public,
    • making revisions in source protection plans to be consistent with changes the province has made to terminology used in the Tables of Drinking Water Threats;
  • Improving notification of administrative amendments to source protection plans, increasing transparency by ensuring that organizations responsible for implementing source protection plan policies are aware of the amendments.
  • To ensure consistency across plans, adding liquid hydrocarbon pipelines to the list of prescribed drinking water threats.
  • Removing the need to develop policies in source protection plans where a given drinking water threat does not exist and cannot happen in the future, and requiring information to be properly documented in this situation.

These updates improve the source protection framework in Ontario which helps protect drinking water.

Comments received

Through the registry

11

By email

0

By mail

19
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

We received submissions on the proposed amendments from a range of interested parties, including source protection authorities, Conservation Ontario, municipalities, associations, and non-profit organizations. In addition, we received verbal comments from municipalities, source protection committee chairs and project managers, during online and in-person sessions (January 19 and January 26, 2018). First Nation communities were also invited to participate in the online and in-person discussions or to request in-person meetings. We also met with pipeline owners and regulating bodies.

Feedback from consultation was positive overall, indicating support for ensuring consistency in the source water protection program of consideration of pipelines and improvements in updating the plans.

Most of the matters raised through consultation focused on:

  • the need for clarification of what an ‘editorial change’ in the provincial Tables of Drinking Water Threats would be,
  • how liquid hydrocarbon pipelines are assessed under the Clean Water Act, and
  • the need for guidance material to support municipalities and source protection committees and authorities with implementation of the proposed changes.

As a result of comments received during consultation on these proposed amendments as well as the proposed regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act , we made the following modifications to the original proposal to address concerns and provide clarification:

  • To provide more clarity around the roles and responsibilities of the drinking water system owners and source protection authorities, an additional amendment was made to the General regulation under the Clean Water Act to ensure that source protection plans are revised in a timely manner:
    • Where an amendment is proposed to ensure sources of drinking water are protected when municipalities add new or alter their existing drinking water system, the source protection authority will give the owner of the drinking water system a notice when it is satisfied the necessary vulnerable area mapping is complete. The notice will outline the amendments required to the source protection plan and the timing to carry these out.
    • Changes were made to the Tables of Drinking Water Threats to ensure pipelines were captured appropriately.

We will also develop guidance material to support stakeholders of the source protection program with implementing the changes.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Source Protection Programs Branch
Address

40 St. Clair Avenue West
14th floor
Toronto ON M4V 1M2
Canada

Office phone number

Connect with us

Contact

Jennifer Moulton

Phone number
Office
Source Protection Programs Branch
Address

40 St. Clair Avenue West
14th floor
Toronto ON M4V 1M2
Canada

Office phone number

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Original proposal

ERO number
013-1839
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Clean Water Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 22
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Proposal posted

Comment period

December 22, 2017 - February 20, 2018 (60 days)

Proposal details

Description of regulation

The Clean Water Act, 2006 and Ontario Regulation 287/07 General set out the requirements for the preparation, approval and amendments of assessment reports and source protection plans. Assessment reports and source protection plans, prepared by 19 source protection committees for the 38 source protection areas in the province, are currently in effect.

In order to ensure that the assessment reports and source protection plans remain relevant and up to date, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (the ministry) is proposing regulation amendments to O. Reg. 287/07 that improve the regulatory framework, address implementation challenges, and increase transparency.

The details of the proposed regulatory amendments are explained below.

A. Minor amendment provisions

Currently, section 51 of regulation 287/07 allows source protection authorities to make typographical and other minor amendments to source protection plans, including the related assessment reports. The types of minor amendments listed in subsection 51(1) include clerical, grammatical or typographical errors, style or presentation changes including numbering and cross-references, references to future events that have occurred, updates to reflect risk assessments that have been accepted by a risk management official, patent errors, or references to persons, places or things, the name of which has changed. Also stipulated in subsection 51(2) is the requirement to publish the amended source protection plan and a notice describing the amendment on the Internet.

The ministry is proposing to make two types of changes to this section of the regulation.

  1. The addition of other types of minor changes to the list of permissible minor amendments in subsection 51(1) of the regulation, including:
    • Amendments to address situations where drinking water systems, individual wells or intakes have ceased to operate and been properly decommissioned and so the intake protection zones or wellhead protection areas need to be removed from or amended in the assessment report and source protection plan.
    • Amendments to update terminology used in assessment reports and source protection plans to reflect editorial changes made to the Director’s Tables of Drinking Water Threats. These changes would not affect new landowners and would have already been consulted on by the ministry through the Environmental Registry.
  2. Given that the proposed changes (outlined above) to subsection 51(1) include situations in which vulnerable areas could be changed, it is important that bodies responsible for the implementation of policies in those areas are made aware of the change. Therefore, the second type of change the ministry is proposing is to subsection 51(2), to improve stakeholder awareness by requiring that, in addition to the current requirement to publish notice of the amendment on the Internet, notice should also be provided to the Director of the Source Protection Programs Branch as well as to any body responsible for implementing policies in the source protection plan that could be affected by the amendment. Furthermore, to ensure that changes are reflected in provincial mapping, the source protection authority must provide the Director with any associated data, including vulnerable area mapping, in a digital format approved by the Director.

These changes allow assessment reports and source protection plans to remain up to date more effectively by removing the need for minor amendments to follow the full amendment procedures. This helps source protection authorities and committees as well as landowners and bodies implementing plan policies. It also improves the awareness of the updates by requiring additional direct notification.

B. Continuous improvement: hydrocarbon pipelines

One of the commitments to the protection of drinking water is the commitment to continuous improvement. Therefore, the ministry is proposing a change to regulation 287/07 to improve the protective framework by addressing an emerging issue and further ensure that sources of drinking water are protected. The ministry has already made other improvements to the technical framework through amendments to the Director’s Technical Rules in March 2017.

Subsection 1.1(1) of the regulation lists the activities that are prescribed for the purpose of the definition of drinking water threat in subsection 2(1) of the Clean Water Act. It is proposed that the establishment and operation of a liquid hydrocarbon pipeline be formally added to this list. Source protection committees were also already allowed to identify local activities that pose a risk to sources of drinking water as local threats. Pipelines are already included as a local threat in six source protection plans.

Currently, the Clean Water Act requires significant threat policies to be developed for every area identified in the assessment report as an area where an activity is or would be a significant drinking water threat. Partners and stakeholders identified that this requirement was redundant in portions of intake protection zones or wellhead protection areas where the land was already developed to the extent that particular drinking water threats could never be located there. i.e. there are no pipelines in that area. Therefore, the ministry is also proposing to focus the need for developing source protection policies to areas pipelines occur. Should the situation change in the future, policies to address pipelines would be added through locally initiated amendments or during comprehensive plan reviews and updates.

Policies from the source protection plans that currently include pipelines address the risk through requirements for mapping, emergency planning and spills prevention, integrity testing, as well as consideration of drinking water sources during planning for future pipeline locations. These policies are only legally binding on public bodies. It is expected that similar policies would be included in other plans where pipeline policies will be added. Updates to source protection plans to address pipelines can be made during section 36 plan updates.

Complementary amendments to the Tables of Drinking Water Threats included in the Director’s Technical Rules are also being made to define which protection zones and vulnerability scores that pipelines would be a significant, moderate or low drinking water threat. This is summarized in an attachment available under Additional Information.

C. Safe Drinking Water Act Regulation – see separate EBR Posting #013-1840

The Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 provides for the protection of human health and the prevention of drinking water health hazards through the control and regulation of drinking water systems and drinking water testing.

The ministry is also proposing to develop a regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act to add an additional level of assurance that drinking water is being protected at the source. This regulation would only apply to municipal drinking water systems who are proposing new or expanded drinking water systems in source protection areas (see EBR #013-1840 for details). The regulation would require that municipal council resolutions from all affected municipalities be in place endorsing the delineated vulnerable areas and proposed source protection plan policies prior to an application being made under the Safe Drinking Water Act for a new or an amendment to an existing drinking water works permit for altering drinking water sources (e.g., relocating a surface water intake) or adding sources (e.g., adding one or more intakes or wells). The addition of this regulation ensures that the work required to protect sources of drinking water for new and expanding drinking water systems has been completed before the system can provide water to the public.

Discussion / consultation questions

  1. Do you agree with the additional minor amendment items proposed to be added to section 51 of O. Reg. 287/07? What other types of amendments should be considered for inclusion in this section? What benefits and challenges do you perceive as a result of these proposed amendments?
  2. What risks/benefits do you perceive related to the proposal to add the establishment and operation of liquid hydrocarbon pipelines to the list of categories of drinking water threats? What kinds of source water protection policy tools do you think should be available to address pipelines or what types of source water protection policy tools should not be available?
  3. What benefits / risks do you perceive related to the proposal to focus source protection plans to include policies on pipelines to areas where pipelines currently exist?
  4. Is there anything else that you wish the Ministry to consider with respect to the proposed changes outlined in this posting?

Purpose of regulation

The purpose of this proposal is to seek feedback from the public, stakeholders, communities, and Indigenous groups on proposed amendments to O. Reg. 287/07 (General) under the Clean Water Act, 2006. Proposed amendments would improve the regulatory framework by including pipelines, address implementation challenges, and increase transparency. Further detail is provided in this notice under the Description of Regulation section.

The purpose of the Clean Water Act is to protect existing and future sources of drinking water to help protect human health and the environment, and to ensure safe, clean drinking water for Ontarians. The Act ensures communities are able to protect their drinking water sources through prevention - by developing collaborative, locally driven, watershed based drinking water source protection plans founded on science. Source protection planning is a vital part of Ontario’s drinking water safety net, a framework designed to protect drinking water from the source to the tap.

All source protection plans are now in effect across Ontario. Together they protect the sources of almost 450 municipal drinking water systems.

Other information

The websites maintained by Conservation Ontario and source protection authorities contain information about the assessment reports and source protection plans prepared by each source protection committee.

General information on source water protection and the Clean Water Act, 2006, is also available at Conservation Ontario’s website.

Public consultation

This proposal was posted for a 60 day public review and comment period starting December 22, 2017. Comments were to be received by February 20, 2018.

All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.

Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.

Other public consultation opportunities

Comments may also be submitted electronically to: source.protection@ontario.ca

To submit written comments, please forward your response to:

Jennifer Moulton
Source Protection Programs Branch
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
40 St. Clair Avenue West
14th Floor
Toronto Ontario, M4V 1L5
Phone: (519) 860-7851
Fax: (416) 327-6926

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Source Protection Programs Branch
Address

40 St. Clair Avenue West
14th floor
Toronto ON M4V 1M2
Canada

Office phone number

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from December 22, 2017
to February 20, 2018

Connect with us

Contact

Jennifer Moulton

Phone number
Office
Source Protection Programs Branch
Address

40 St. Clair Avenue West
14th floor
Toronto ON M4V 1M2
Canada

Office phone number