The purpose of having policy statements is to provide a management tool for the use of Members in supporting presentations and arguments to their Municipal Council respecting management decisions; and for the Association, a means of encouraging a uniform and high level of public confidence in municipal water and wastewater services. The purpose of having policy statements is to communicate the views of the members of the Association to other organizations on particular questions or issues.
CWWA has set out a consultation process in order to ensure that our members can fully participate in the development of policies.
Click on the links to see the CWWA Policy. Context and additional information for each policy is included in the Members' Briefing Book available to Members on request by contacting CWWA.
Boil Water Advisories
Water services are required to monitor the microbiological quality of their finished water. If water quality is compromised, the water service must notify and cooperate fully with local health authorities, provide notice to consumers and institute remedial actions to restore water quality. CWWA advocates that national standards or policies be developed to guide public health officials in the application and management of boil water orders. To assist in effective monitoring of water quality, services should establish a local water quality team, comprising those responsible for source water protection, water treatment and distribution, water quality monitoring and public health surveillance.
Bottled water should meet the minimum criteria as set out in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, and that labeling be required to advise consumers of the water source, treatment method used, shelf life, contents and standards met by the bottled water. Legislation should be enacted to control and monitor the bottled water industry in the same fashion as centralized water supplies.
CWWA opposes the actions of manufacturers, distributors or retailers of bottled water who through advertising, marketing or other activities imply that central water supplies are not safe to drink.
Disinfection of Municipal Effluents
CWWA encourages regulators to use site-specific criteria in determining whether the disinfection of wastewater effluents is needed and what methods of disinfection are to be used. Municipal effluents should only be disinfected where appropriate or needed to protect human health. An environmental audit, including financial, health and environmental criteria should be undertaken to determine when and how to disinfect effluents.
The risks to public health must be balanced with risks to the environment. Treatment processes and disinfection of wastewater effluents must be optimized to achieve the greatest level of health protection with the lowest impact upon the environment, at a reasonable cost.
Drinking Water Guidelines
Water services should (in addition to complying with the applicable water quality regulations of their province or territory) strive to meet the health risk-based parameters for drinking water quality as published in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, as amended from time to time, in order to continuously improve the quality of their drinking water.
Federal Water Policy, 1987
The Federal Water Policy is a statement of the federal government's philosophy and goals for the nation's freshwater resources and of the proposed ways of achieving them. The overall objective of the federal water policy is to encourage the use of freshwater in an efficient and equitable manner consistent with the social, economic and environmental needs of present and future generations. Despite the date of publication, many of the issues and strategies outlined in the 1987 Policy remain valid today. Since no more recent published policy can be offered at this time, the text of the 1987 Policy is offered for information purposes only.
Fluoridation of Municipal Drinking Water Supplies
Municipalities across Canada have to determine whether or not to fluoridate the drinking water supplies delivered to their residents. It is often a contentious decision to be made by the individual Councils. This is a public health issue, and not a water treatment issue, therefore the local public health authority should lead the debate on the subject.
Municipal water officials should also be prepared to discuss the capital expenditures necessary to introduce fluoride to the water supply system, the annual operating costs associated with it, and the health and safety issues for treatment plant employees. Fluoridating agents used are dangerous goods (hazardous materials) and the design construction and operation of equipment to receive, store and introduce the agent into the treated water requires risk assessments for worker occupational health and safety issues and for the environment of and around the plant. Close monitoring of the presence (concentration) of fluoride in the treated water is also required.
Heat Exchange / Recovery Devices
CWWA recognizes that there is a strong interest and movement towards installing "green" facilities and features in buildings but is concerned that this could lead to situations where impacts on water quality or water demand may not have been considered in the design. CWWA opposes the use of such facilities and features where this could lead to a deterioration in water quality or increased demand on water sources and supplies.
CWWA opposes the installation of unregistered and unapproved water-based heat exchange / recovery systems on water or wastewater plumbing systems connected to municipal water or wastewater services. Where installed, they should be pre-registered with the municipal water and wastewater services and pre-approved and inspected by the municipal building inspection services.
CWWA opposes the use of open loop, groundwater-based heat exchange / recovery systems. Where installed, they should be pre-approved by the authority responsible for the management of the aquifer and the municipality where the municipal water system is based on groundwater sources.
In both situations, CWWA considers it important that the municipal authority have unrestricted access to inspect the unit and associated components.
A technical guidance document on the installation and use of heat exchange / recovery systems is being prepared by CWWA.
CWWA encourages municipalities to examine their By-Laws to determine if there are provisions adequately regulating the registration, approval, installation and use of these systems.
CWWA believes that such systems may not be specifically addressed in the provincial and territorial building and plumbing Codes, although the Codes do address issues such as cross-connection control and backflow prevention.
Integrated Wastewater Management
It is the position of CWWA that a holistic approach to managing wastewater systems requires management of pollutants and contaminants at their source through the collection and treatment systems in order to achieve effluent and biosolids qualities that are protective of the environment. The Montréal Charter for Wastewater Management was adopted at the First Canadian National Wastewater Forum in Montréal on April 3 to 5th The Charter is attached in pdf format.
Lead in buildings
CWWA believes that all water utilities should supply to their customers drinking water that fully meets the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. Where water delivered to customers at their property line contains lead at levels higher than the Guidelines, water utilities should optimize their treatment processes to minimize lead take up in the distribution system and replace leaded fixtures of the distribution system on a proactive basis.
Lead Service Replacement
CWWA believes that water delivered to customers should, wherever practicable, comply with the parameters set out in the most current Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. However, CWWA recognizes that some consumers may be receiving water through distribution or plumbing systems having components or devices which leach lead into the water. Water services should identify these areas and establish a monitoring program to determine the levels of lead in drinking water. Every effort should be made to minimize lead levels through chemical means or by replacing lead distribution and service lines. Owners of properties with lead service should be advised of their lead levels and if necessary the need to replace lead services within their properties. They should also be advised not to drink water on first draw if the plumbing system has been inactive for an extended period of time.
Municipal Infrastructure Program(s)
CWWA welcomes the intervention of federal, provincial and territorial governments in funding municipal infrastructure. It opposes such initiatives when offered in an ad hoc manner because this skews on-going municipal infrastructure development and renewal planning processes. As well, infrastructure programs must take into account the environmental and financial sustainability of municipalities
National Certification Standards
CWWA supports the development and implementation of a national Canadian framework for the certification of water and wastewater operators reflecting Canadian utility needs and conditions and facilitating operator mobility between jurisdictions.
CWWA supports and will participate in the initiative of the Environmental Careers Organization - Canada (ECO Canada) to form a National Certification Steering Committee that will examine options and recommend a certification framework and examination mechanism that would include an databank of certification questions supported by the majority of Canadian certification jurisdictions and reflecting Canadian conditions and the needs of Canadian utilities.
CWWA reminds the participants in this process that Canadian water and wastewater systems use technologies and processes that are similar or common with those in the United States and that educational material and standards developed by AWWA and WEF is relevant and applicable to Canadian situations.
National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI)
The Canadian Water and Wastewater Association recognizes the importance of the NPRI program and encourages municipal water and wastewater facilities to report when required, and to ensure that their reports are accurate and complete. The Association will continue to cooperate with Environment Canada to promote and facilitate reporting to the NPRI.
Point of Use/Point of Entry Devices
CWWA believes that all water utilities should supply to their customers drinking water that fully meets the provincial requirements. Where this cannot be achieved by central treatment of the water supplied, CWWA encourages water utilities to find alternate means of delivery sufficient water to meet their customers potable water needs.
Point-of-Use/Point-of-Entry Treatment Devices
CWWA opposes the actions of manufacturers, distributers and retailers of point-of-use or point-of-entry (POU/POE) water treatment devices who through advertising, marketing or other activities imply that municipal water supplies are not safe. Until appropriate legislation regulating such devices is enacted they should be certified to the appropriate ANSI/NSF standard.
Some Canadians may have legitimate and special needs for "ultra-quality" water. In such cases, water services should offer scientific information regarding the quality of municipal water supplies and the possible need for alternatives. Where municipal water supplies present a short-term health risk, residents should be advised on how to ensure the safety of their water supply and, where necessary, should be provided with access to alternative supplies.
Publication of Water Quality Data
CWWA recommends that all water treatment utilities serving the public report the quality of drinking water produced or wastewater released on a regular basis. If water fails or is likely to fail to meet drinking or effluent water quality objectives, water treatment utilities should alert, as appropriate, the health or environmental authority. CWWA supports an open release of water quality data in general, and particularly in response to specific enquiries.
Public-Private Partnerships and Water and Wastewater Services
CWWA encourages water and wastewater services to consider public-private partnerships (P3s) as an option and as a possible means of ensuring that the services provided to customers are of the highest level of excellence and are effectively, equitably and economically delivered. CWWA opposes the private ownership of water and wastewater infrastructure.
Sewer Use By-laws - Pre-treatment Devices
Canadian standards writing organizations such as CSA International and Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada are developing performance-based standards for wastewater pre-treatment devices (point-of-discharge pollution control devices). CWWA supports this initiative and encourages all municipalities to provide reference in their Sewer Use By-laws to such devices and to require certified devices to be installed and maintained where possible. CWWA recognizes the need to phase in such requirements, given existing investment in non-certified devices.
Source Control and Pollution Prevention
CWWA believes that all municipalities should contribute to pollution prevention through sewer-use bylaws which set out the contaminants and the levels at which they may be discharged into the municipal sewer system. To reduce pollution, these bylaws must be effectively enforced and a continuous program of education and awareness should be established.
An integrated approach to stormwater management is necessary to protect watershed health and ensure sustainability of future growth.
New and infill development projects should be approved where stormwater is primarily managed consistent with principles of Low Impact Development.
Sustainable Development for Water and Wastewater Services
CWWA encourages all water and wastewater services to integrate environmental, public health and sustainable development principles in their planning, decision-making and day-to-day operations.
System Vulnerability Assessment
The Canadian Water and Wastewater Association recommends that all municipal water and wastewater services should be prepared to face emergency situations in the operation of their infrastructure and services.
Watershed and Water Recharge Area Management
CWWA supports the concept and principles of environmental sustainability, and in particular watershed and water recharge area management. Water and wastewater services are encouraged to manage water quality and protect the environment on a watershed or water recharge area basis; and when the area is not entirely within their jurisdiction, to collaborate with relevant authorities to do so.