Water system reports officially being released at the end of the month reaffirm drinking water in Oxford County is safe.
Deborah Goudreau, manager of water services for Oxford County said annual system reports are a requirement of Ontario’s Safe Water Drinking Act.
“Essentially the purpose of this is to give the general public confidence that the water systems are run professionally and the quality is good,” she said.
Data is collected throughout the year from the county’s 19 water systems.
Reports disclose the presence of harmful bacteria like E.coli or chemicals such as lead, and must also show any steps taken to address any adverse, or unusual, test results in the water system.
Tap water in Oxford County is regularly tested for bacteria like E. coli and more than 70 different chemicals, such as lead at 30 separate treatment points.
In 2012, Oxford County Public Works treated and supplied just over 12 million cubic metres of drinking water. Water quality testing was based on results from 4,307 regulated bacteriological samples collected. Of those, 11 were adverse samples (0.2%), requiring further testing.
“In general water quality is excellent throughout all of our systems,” she said.
Four systems, Beachville, Embro, Hickson, and Princeton received inspection ratings of 100%.
Receiving ratings between 96 to 98% was Bright, Brownsville, Dereham Centre, Drumbo-Princeton, Innerkip, Mount Elgin, Norwich, Plattsville, Tavistock and Tillsonburg. Water systems in Lakeside and Otterville-Springford received ratings between 92 to 94%.
Most percentage point losses were the result of administrative errors or equipment malfunctions that were quickly resolved.
For instance in the case of Norwich water systems points were lost because of equipment in one of the wells used to measure water levels was broken. Water technicians measured levels manually while equipment was fixed, but points were still lost.
Reports for Ingersoll, Thamesford and Woodstock have not yet been finalized, but Goudreau expects a minimum rating of 95% for this water system.
The finalized report will be presented to Oxford County council during the regularly scheduled meeting on March 27.
To read the available Oxford County’s water system summary reports, visit www.oxfordcounty.ca/drinkingwater.
In response to public feedback and to promote better understanding of drinking water issues, Oxford County began releasing annual health information advisories in 2013 to remind people of special health considerations, such as the recommendation to avoid using tap water to prepare infant formula in areas with naturally occurring fluoride, or to consult with a physician if you are on a sodium-restricted diet but live in an area with high levels of sodium in the drinking water. To read the health information advisories, visit www.oxfordcounty.ca/health.