In May 2000, water contaminated by Escherichia coli (E. coli)
bacteria entered the municipal Drinking Water System of Walkerton,
Ontario. Seven people died and thousands of others became ill. As a
result, the provincial government convened an inquiry led by
Justice Dennis O'Connor. In 2002, Justice O'Connor released
two reports, including 93 recommendations.
There are only two Municipal drinking water sources within the
committee's jurisdiction; the Municipality of Oliver
Paipoonge Rosslyn Village (groundwater intake) and the City of
Thunder Bay (Lake Superior intake).
The Committee identified 32 instances of Significant
Drinking Water Threats, as defined by the Clean Water Act, all
located in the rural Rosslyn Village Wellhead Protection Area. They
include septic systems, livestock grazing, manure handling and road
salt. Rosslyn has a population of about 1500. No significant or
moderate threats were identified for the City of Thunder Bay or in
the adjacent Municipality of Shuniah, which is in close proximity
to the Bare Point Water Treatment Facility.
The Source Protection Plan includes a series of policies to
protect the Rosslyn water supply. These include a Land Use
Planning Policy to prohibit any future waste disposal site,
sewage treatment facilities (not including those under 10,000
litres a day), organic solvents and fuel stored for
non-residential use, and the storage of pure dense non-aqueous
phase liquids (DNAPLs) except incidental volumes for personal,
domestic use. These policies will prevail over any contrary
Planning Act controls, such as official plans and zoning bylaws.
Similar policies are likely to be adopted in other rural water
protection zones across the province.
The Specify Action Policy manages the existing significant
threat of septic systems under 10,000 litres a day and future
significant threats of application handling and storage of road
salt, storage of snow and new septic systems under 10,000 litres a
The Education and Outreach Policy is designed to educate the
residents of WHPA-A on existing and possible future threats on
their property. This policy manages all existing agricultural
threats and future agricultural threats that could take place on
properties that are zoned "rural" and septic systems
under 10,000 litres a day. It also advises residents of the harmful
effects of DNAPLs to the groundwater resources.
The City of Thunder Bay is also encouraged to develop
a Spill Prevention and Contingency Plan and place a buoy at
the anchorage line near its water intake pipe at Bare