Source Water Protection
Who to Contact:
Risk Management Official
Ryan Post M.Sc., P.Geo
705-424-1479 ext. 249
Planning & Development Department
705-435-3900 x1301 or
The Town of New Tecumseth is working towards implementing the Source Water Protection Plan to meet the requirements of Ontario’s Clean Water Act, 2006. New Tecumseth is part of the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Region.
The South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Plan came into effect July 1, 2015.
The purpose of the Clean Water Act, 2006 and the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Plan is to introduce a range of policies to keep contaminants out of municipal drinking water sources. The Clean Water Act is one of the Province’s responses to the Walkerton water contamination tragedy and is part of Ontario’s strategy to preserve drinking water from source to tap.
Municipalities are responsible for the regulation of activities that may pose a risk of contaminating drinking water sources (drinking water threats) on a site-specific basis. Source Water Protection Plan policies generally apply to activities located within surface water Intake Protection Zones or Wellhead Protection Areas (also known as vulnerable areas).
Vulnerable areas are located in the protection zones of municipal wellhead or surface water intake locations. Activities here will have a greater impact on the Town’s drinking water sources. Municipal drinking water is filtered through treatment plants and remove many (but not all) contaminants. This process is expensive and time consuming so protecting water sources or reducing pollutants at the source is one of the most cost-effective measures.
Water taken from the source is often taken from groundwater. Groundwater is a significant source of drinking water within the Town that flows or collects in cracks and spaces in soil, sand, and rock. If groundwater is removed for drinking purposes it must be replenished appropriately for future consumption.
This area of replenishment is known as the recharge zone. Water in the recharge zone accumulates very slow and is a natural process in which rain and snow seep into the ground and back into the groundwater. The recharge zone is a naturally occurring permeable basin that can include: forested land, grassed areas and other natural surfaces characterized through its permeability.
If groundwater supplies become depleted it will put a strain on drinking water as surface water (lakes and rivers) will be impacted due to the decrease in supply. Impermeable surfaces like pavement or asphalt exacerbates the problem when rain and snow do not soak back into the ground naturally. Instead water flows across hard surfaces picking up a variety of pollutants that would naturally percolate and filter the water back into the ground. Part of protecting our water quality is to create and enhance water permeability to reduce pollution runoff.
Residents, Landowners and Farmers
There are many simple things one can do to protect drinking water sources, including:
- Maintaining septic systems;
- Disposing of hazardous waste properly;
- Minimizing the use of pesticides, fertilizers and de-icing salt; and/or,
- Storing fuels properly.
Farmers can also protect groundwater sources by:
- Controlling field and stream bank erosion;
- Using safe storage and handling systems for manure;
- Creating a nutrient management plan; and/or,
- Controlling barnyard runoff and diverting clean water.
If your farm is within a vulnerable area, you may need to complete a Risk Management Plan. For further information, please contact the Town of New Tecumseth Planning and Development Department or the Town of New Tecumseth Risk Management Official.
To meet the requirements of the Building Code Act, the Town’s Building Standards Department staff conduct inspections of septic systems in certain areas. If your septic system is not functioning properly and you are located within 100m of a municipal well, you may be required to rectify the issue. Notification letters will be sent to addresses where septic system inspections are required. For more information about this program, please contact the Building Standards Department at 705-435-3900 x 1260 or x 1289.
Learn how The Health of Your Septic System Affects You.
Stewardship and Incentive Opportunities
You may be eligible to receive funding for eligible projects through stewardship and incentive programs. Contact information for available stewardship and incentive programs are noted below:
Lake Simcoe & South-eastern Georgian Bay Community Stewardship Program
Contact: Carrie McIntyre, Stewardship Extension Technician
The Healthy Waters Grant Incentive Program (NVCA)
Contact: Shannon Stephens, Healthy Waters Program Coordinator
Phone: 705-424-1479 ext.239
Landowner Environmental Assistance Program (LSRCA)
Contact: Katleya Young-Chin, Stewardship Technician
Phone: 905-895-1281 Ext. 150
Ontario Renovates – Simcoe County
Phone: (705) 725-7215 Ext. 1119
Ontario Soil and Crops Improvement Association
Contact: Lois Sinclair
We all have roles and responsibilities to protect our environment and help preserve the quality of our drinking water. If your home or business is within a vulnerable area, there may be policies in the Source Protection Plan that apply to you.
Businesses may be required to complete a Risk Management Plan before they begin a land development project that could impact the groundwater. Existing businesses may also be required to do so if their activities pose a threat to groundwater. For further information, please contact the Town of New Tecumseth Planning and Development Department or the Town of New Tecumseth Risk Management Official.
Source Water Protection Signs
Town Staff have recently completed the installation of source water protection signs throughout our wellhead protection areas (areas that supply water to municipal wells). The intent of the signs is to enhance public awareness pertaining to our drinking water. These signs physically identify the most vulnerable zones within a wellhead protection area, and are part of a larger education and outreach strategy in accordance with the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Plan.
Official Plan and Zoning By-law Updates
Planning Staff are now working with other municipalities to incorporate the policies of the Source Water Plan into our Official Plan and Zoning By-law. The purpose of these updates is to ensure that the Town of New Tecumseth conforms with Ontario’s Clean Water Act, 2006, and the ongoing safety of our drinking water.
An Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment was initiated by the Town and a public meeting was held on December 7, 2016. Council approved the Zoning By-law Amendment and adopted the Official Plan Amendment on March 20, 2017, and is now awaiting final approval by the County of Simcoe.
Caring for your Septic System
SepticSmart! Understanding Your Home’s Septic System
SepticSmart! Advanced Treatment Systems — Alternatives to Conventional Septic Systems
Wellhead Protection Areas 2009
Intake Protection Zones 2009
Highly Vulnerable Areas 2009
Water Quality and Water Quantity Issues 2009
What Landowners Can Do to Protect Water 2009
Septic Systems 2011
Private Wells 2011
Runoff, Erosion Protection and Additional Best Management Practices 2011
Home Heating Oil Storage 2012
Know Your Drinking Water!
Cultivating Smart Water Use – The Facts for Farmers On Protecting Water
Drinking Water – Ours to Protect
Handling Fuels Safely – Residential Fuel Use
Keeping Chemicals Out of Drinking Water Sources – The First Line of Defence
Planning to Protect Drinking Water Sources – Risk Management Plans
Speaking of – Septic Systems
What is the Clean Water Act?
The Clean Water Act, 2006, is a legislative document that is part of the Ontario government’s commitment to ensure the sustainability of clean, safe drinking water for all Ontarians and to implement the Walkerton Inquiry recommendations. The Clean Water Act, 2006 applies primarily to municipal supplies of drinking water and completes the multi-barrier approach to ensuring safe drinking water from ‘source to tap’.
What is the Source Water Protection Plan?
A Source Protection Plan is a collaborative, locally-driven, science-based, provincially approved plan to protect our current and future municipal drinking water supply from threats of contamination and overuse. The Source Protection Plan was developed by a committee that includes public sector, private sector, community, and First Nations representatives. This plan seeks to protect New Tecumseth’s water quality and quantity in order to ensure that we have clean and safe drinking water now and in the future.
What is a Wellhead Protection Area?
A wellhead is simply the physical structure of the well above ground. A wellhead protection area is the area around the wellhead where land use activities have the potential to affect the quality of water that flows into the well. These are areas of high vulnerability where the greatest care must be taken in the storage, use and handling of materials that could, if mishandled or spilled, pollute or contaminate a municipal well.
Why is Drinking Water Source Protection Important?
Source protection safeguards public health by protecting drinking water supplies. Source protection is a preventative approach and is a more cost effective means of protecting drinking water than water treatment alone. Once water sources are contaminated, treatment can become much more expensive or even impossible.
What are Drinking Water Threats?
- Chemical storage
- Spreading of sewage treatment sludge
- Storage and spreading of road salt
- Animal feedlots
- Use and spilling of fertilizers and pesticides
- Accidental spills and hazardous materials
- Septic systems
- Underground storage tanks
- Underground pipelines or sewers
- Private or abandoned wells
How does the Source Water Protection Plan address Drinking Water Threats?
Source Water Protection is a preventative and more cost effective approach to protecting our drinking water. Once sources of water become contaminated, treatment can become very expensive or not viable. The goal of the Source Protection Plan is twofold; one, to control or eliminate existing activities that are, or could become, significant threats to drinking water sources; and two, to regulate future activities that could become significant threats to drinking water.
What are Risk Management Plans?
Risk Management Plans outline strategies and risk management measures used to mitigate drinking water threats. These locally developed plans are created on a site by site basis.
How does the Source Water Protection Plan affect the Town of New Tecumseth’s Processes?
Departments are currently determining the most effective way to implement the program. A framework will be established to guide how the source protection policies will apply. Steps will be taken to provide a streamlined review process for the development community. If you have concerns with the location of a property, we recommend contacting the Town Planning Department to discuss any additional source protection considerations.