Small drinking water systems
If your business or premises makes drinking water available to the public and you do not get your drinking water from a municipal drinking water system, you may be the owner or operator of a small drinking water system.
Examples of small drinking water systems:
- municipally-owned airports, industrial parks, community centers, and libraries
- sports and recreational facilities
- restaurants and gas stations
- seasonal trailer parks, campgrounds, private cottages on communal water systems or resorts with 6 or more connections
- places that operate primarily for the purpose of providing overnight accommodations to the travelling public such as motels, hotels, and bed and breakfasts
- churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or other places of worship
- places other than a private residence where service clubs and fraternal organizations meet on a regular basis
- any place where the general public has access to a drinking water fountain, shower, or washroom
Systems that serve designated facilities such as children’s camps, social care facilities, schools, universities, colleges or other degree-granting institutions are not considered small drinking water systems and remain under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.
What is the role of the public health inspector with regards to a small drinking water system?
Public health inspectors conduct site-specific risk assessments on every small drinking water system in their area. Based on the assessment, they determine what owners and operators must do to keep their drinking water safe and will issue a directive for the system. Directives may include requirements for water testing, treatment options, and training. This reflects a customized approach for each small drinking water system depending on the level of risk.
Public health inspectors conduct compliance and complaint-based inspections on every small drinking water system in their area. Inspection information and drinking water advisories of small drinking water systems are disclosed publicly on Public Health Sudbury & Districts disclosure website, Check Before You Go! Reports remain posted for four years.
Do you plan to open, or are you currently operating, a small drinking water system?
If you are, you should know that it is your responsibility to:
- Notify the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) in writing of your intention to operate a small drinking water system following construction, installation, alteration or extension of your system. The public health inspector will:
- Provide you with a unique identification number for your system. This number will be used for all your lab sample submissions and other correspondence related to your system.
- Arrange to conduct a site-specific risk assessment of your small drinking water system and issue a directive including any sampling frequency and testing requirements.
Once Public Health Sudbury & Districts has been notified you must:
- Choose a commercial lab that is licensed and accredited by the Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks for testing your drinking water samples.
- Provide the lab with the unique identification number for your system when submitting your samples using their Chain of Custody form.
- Provide both the lab and Public Health Sudbury & Districts with your current contact information, as well as the name and contact information of the designated operator responsible for your system.
To provide Public Health Sudbury & Districts with your contact information and designated operator, complete the Small Drinking Water Identification form and send it to the public health inspector for filing.
If you believe that you operate a small drinking water system and have not received an assessment to date, notify Public Health Sudbury & Districts. If you currently operate a small drinking water system and have undergone an assessment in the past, a public health inspector will contact you to make an appointment when your next risk assessment is due.
Small drinking water systems regulation
Small drinking water systems are regulated under Ontario Regulation 319/08- Small Drinking Water Systems. Under the Regulation, owners and operators of small drinking water systems are responsible for keeping their drinking water safe. The Regulation sets out specific requirements that owners and operators of small drinking water systems must comply with. They include:
- Designating an operator.
- Providing patrons with a supply of potable water at all times during operation.
- Sampling and testing- microbiological sampling and testing must be taken at the frequency and location indicated in your Directive. All water samples must be submitted to a private laboratory licensed by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in charges being laid for issues of non-compliance.
- Ensuring the following information is made available for inspection by any member of the public during normal business hours without charge:
- a copy of every water sample test result taken in accordance with the system’s Directive
- a copy of every Directive issued under section 7 of the Small Drinking Water System Regulation
- a copy of every order issued
- a copy of Ontario Regulation 319- Small Drinking Water System
This item was last modified on January 27, 2020