Ontario Public Health Standards

Safe Water

Goals

  • To prevent or reduce the burden of water-borne illness related to drinking water.
  • To prevent or reduce the burden of water-borne illness and injury related to recreational water use.

Societal Outcomes

  • The public has access to safe drinking water.
  • There is reduced exposure to unsafe drinking water.
  • Public exposure to water-borne illnesses is mitigated.
  • There is reduced incidence of adverse events related to unsafe drinking water.
  • There is reduced incidence of water-related illness, injuries, and fatalities in public recreational waters.
  • There is decreased public use of public beach water under adverse water quality conditions.
  • There is reduced public exposure to recreational water-borne illnesses.

Board of Health Outcomes

  • The board of health achieves timely and effective detection and identification of water contaminants and illnesses, their associated risk factors, and emerging trends.
  • The board of health mitigates water-borne illness.
  • The board of health is aware of and uses epidemiology to influence the development of healthy public policy and its programs and services to reduce the burden of water-borne illnesses of public health importance.
  • Members of the public who use private wells, cisterns, rain or lake water are aware of how to safely manage their own drinking-water systems.
  • The public is aware of drinking water safety.
  • Owners/operators of recreational water facilities operate in a safe and sanitary manner.
  • Owners/operators of drinking-water systems operate in a safe and sanitary manner.
  • The public is aware of potential risk of illness and injury related to public beach use.

Assessment and Surveillance

Requirements

  1. The board of health shall report Safe Water Program data elements in accordance with the Drinking Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current); [PDF] and the Recreational Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]
  2. The board of health shall conduct surveillance of drinking-water systems and of drinking water illnesses of public health importance, their associated risk factors, and emerging trends in accordance with the Drinking Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current); [PDF] the Infectious Diseases Protocol, 2008 (or as current); and the Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]
  3. The board of health shall conduct surveillance of public beaches and public beach water illnesses of public health importance, their associated risk factors, and emerging trends in accordance with the Recreational Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current) (or as current). [PDF]
  4. The board of health shall conduct epidemiological analysis of surveillance data, including monitoring of trends over time, emerging trends, and priority populations, in accordance with the Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]
  5. The board of health shall conduct surveillance of recreational water facilities in accordance with the Recreational Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]

Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirements

  1. The board of health shall provide information to private citizens who operate their own wells, cisterns, rain or lake water system to promote their awareness of how to safely manage their own drinking-water systems.
  2. The board of health shall provide education and training for owners/operators of drinking-water systems in accordance with the Drinking Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]
  3. The board of health shall increase public awareness of water-borne illnesses and safe drinking water use by:
    1. Adapting and/or supplementing national and provincial safe drinking water communications strategies; and/or
    2. Developing and implementing regional/local communications strategies.
  4. The board of health shall provide education and training for owner/operators of recreational water facilities in accordance with the Recreational Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]

Disease Prevention/Health Protection

Requirements

  1. The board of health shall ensure that the medical officer of health or designate is available on a 24/7 basis to receive reports of and respond to:
    • Adverse events related to safe water, such as reports of adverse drinking water on drinking-water systems governed under the Health Protection and Promotion Act or the Safe Drinking Water Act;
    • Reports of water-borne illnesses or outbreaks;
    • Safe water issues arising from floods, fires, power outages, or other situations that may affect water safety; and
    • Safe water issues relating to recreational water use including public beaches

    in accordance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act; the Drinking Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current); [PDF] the Infectious Diseases Protocol, 2008 (or as current); [PDF] the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Protocol, 2008 [PDF] (or as current); and the Recreational Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]

  2. The board of health shall provide all the components of the Safe Water Program in accordance with all applicable statutes and regulations, and the Drinking Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current) [PDF] to protect the public from exposure to unsafe drinking water.
  3. The board of health shall inform the public about unsafe drinking water conditions and provide the necessary information to respond appropriately in accordance with the Drinking Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]
  4. The board of health shall reduce risks of public beach use by implementing a beach management program in accordance with the Recreational Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]
  5. The board of health shall reduce the risks of recreational water facility use by implementing a management program in accordance with the Recreational Water Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]

Resources

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