Protect from Threats
Whether or not you live in a municipal drinking water source’s vulnerable area, here are some tips for protecting your property and local water supplies from contamination from these potential threats.
Safe Use of Fuel Oil Tanks and Systems
Improper installation and poor maintenance of fuel oil tanks and heating systems can lead to oil spills. If you live in a vulnerable area, a spill could contaminate your municipality’s drinking water source.
You can protect your property and municipal drinking water from fuel oil spills and leaks by:
- Having your tank and heating system inspected each year by a qualified technician
- Checking your tank regularly for signs of corrosion, oil around joints, stains under tank, pinched lines or a strong smell of fuel oil
- Choosing to install a modern leak resistant tank.
Report fuel leaks and spills to the Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060 (available 24 hours a day).
The Canadian Oil Heat Association (COHA) website has some helpful information, and its YouTube video.
Learn more about the Handling and Storage of Liquid Fuel.
Quick Fact Sheet on Protecting Your System from Leaks and Spills
Handling of Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs) and Organic Solvents
A DNAPL is a liquid that is denser than water, does not dissolve in water, and tends to sink below the water table when spilled in significant quantities. Spills of large amounts only stop when they reach impermeable bedrock, making them difficult to locate and remediate. Quantities used in manufacturing, commercial services such as dry cleaning, or that may be transported for industrial or commercial uses pose the greatest risk and need to be properly handled and stored. Some organic solvents are DNAPLs.
A wide variety of household products contain DNAPLs such as paints, stains and coatings, paint removers or strippers, solvents, batteries, printing inks, degreasing products and pesticides. You can help by ensuring that such hazardous waste ends up at an approved site – not your local landfill. Each municipality has information on its website as to where residents should take hazardous waste for disposal.
Tips to protect from the threat of DNAPLs and Organic Solvents:
- To prevent a spill or leak, hazardous liquids should be stored in sealed containers with secure lids.
- Never pour hazardous liquids down the drain or toilet.
- Avoid or minimize the use of hazardous liquids.
- Do not dispose of hazardous liquids in your garbage. Take them to your municipal hazardous waste depot.
The North Bay-Mattawa Drinking Water Assessment Report identified specific DNAPLS and Organic Solvents that could pose a threat to municipal drinking water if spilled in significant quantities.
Learn more about DNAPLs and Organic Solvents.
Application of Pesticides
The use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes was banned in Ontario in 2009 through Regulation 63/09. Pesticides should only be applied by a licensed professional following a proper assessment of the problem. There are often safer alternatives.
A pesticide label is a legal document that describes how the substance must be used to ensure safety and to avoid contaminating water sources. Directions must be followed exactly. Carefully calculating the amount required ensures there will be no leftovers needed to be taken to a hazardous waste facility.
Hazardous Waste Disposal
Correct disposal of toxic and harmful substances will help keep our drinking water sources safe and protection human health. Household hazardous products that are improperly used, stored or disposed of can enter ground water and surface water supplies, contaminating our drinking water sources and endangering human health.
Tips to protect from the threat of contamination from hazardous waste:
- Research ‘green’ product alternatives
- Plan carefully and purchase only the amount you really need
- Round up the chemical products you no longer need and take them to your municipal hazardous waste depot for safe disposal
- Never put hazardous waste in the garbage
- Never pour hazardous waste down the drain or sewer or out onto the ground
- Until you can get it to a hazardous waste depot, store waste in sealed containers in locations away from wells, surface water and storm drains
Application of Uncomposted Manure
Policy SMF1 (Municipal Action to Prohibit Land Application of Nutrients) requires municipalities, using tools available to them, to prohibit the application of Agricultural Source Materials (ASM) in areas where the threat to drinking water sources could be significant. The threat would only be significant where the application of ASM could result in the presence of one or more pathogens in groundwater or surface water.
The limited scope of the threat makes it challenging to draft an appropriate by-law. Therefore, municipalities have elected to utilize an education and outreach approach to advise property owners in affected areas of the need to avoid application of certain materials to their land. The threat would principally be from applying manure that has not been composted and is fresh enough to retain active pathogenic organisms. Proper composting addresses the threat of pathogens.
Therefore property owners and residents in the following areas are advised that application of uncomposted manure as described here is not permitted:
- Callander IPZ-1 and 2
- Mattawa WHPA-A and B
- North Bay IPZ-1
- Powassan WHPA-A and B1, and
- Village of South River IPZ-1 with the exception of lands in Laurier Township which are subject to LAU1.