CWWA’s position statements are developed in consultation with the CWWA Board of Directors and members of CWWA technical committees. They are developed in response to a specific issue or legislative direction.
Lead in Drinking Water
Health Canada today published revised guidelines concerning lead (Pb) in Canadian drinking water. The most significant change is the reduction of the Maximum Allowable Concentration (MAC) of lead in drinking water from 0.01 mg/L to just 0.005 mg/L.
CWWA and our members, the municipal water professionals in Canada, fully support these new, science-based targets and support all efforts to one day eliminate all lead from drinking water. But we all need to recognize that these are aggressive targets that cannot be achieved overnight. There are significant challenges, mostly outside of municipal authority to address. So this will require a combined effort from federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments as well as individual property owners to achieve these targets.
Our greatest concern is how quickly these Guidelines might be implemented in each province and territory and how this might affect the public’s confidence in their drinking water. We need all Canadians to understand that nothing has changed overnight regarding the safety of their water. Rather, we have agreed upon even better targets. We need the public to understand that safe drinking water leaves the treatment plant lead-free and is distributed through water mains down each street lead-free. Drinking water only comes into contact with lead when it reaches the service line from the water main to an individual property and/or in the plumbing and fixtures within individual homes and buildings. As the use of lead service lines was phased out in the 1960’s, this only affects older homes in older neighbourhoods.
So the bulk of our lead issue lies on or within private property, outside of the road allowance and municipal authority. Aside from the significant cost and disruption to replace lead service lines, our greatest challenge is to engage the individual property owners to cooperate with municipal utilities to replace lead service lines and to address any other plumbing within their building.
To support our members in speaking about these Guidelines to their Council, their customers or the media, CWWA has prepared a Fact Sheet and Speaking Notes. The Fact Sheet provides general details about Lead and the Guidelines, but more detail can be attained from Health Canada or your local public health authority. The Speaking Notes outline our key points we need to make as municipal water professionals. We encourage members to use these speaking notes and to share these tools with their Communications staff and municipal Council.
CWWA Lead Fact Sheet
On March 8, 2019, Health Canada released revised guidelines, significantly reducing the maximum allowable concentration of lead in drinking water. While our municipal water sector fully supports these new targets, we need to identify the challenges inherent in moving to these new targets while maintain full public confidence in the safety of their drinking water.
Speaking Notes on Lead in Drinking Water
On March 8, 2019, Health Canada released revised guidelines, significantly reducing the maximum allowable concentration of lead in drinking water.
Other Advocacy Activities
Submission on proposed changes to the NPRI reporting for releases to water
The Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) is the national voice of the water and wastewater sector. The Association’s primary role is to monitor federal legislation and national policies for relevance and impact on the municipal water and wastewater sector and advocate on its behalf.
CWWA, as a member of NPRI’s Multi-Stakeholder Work Group has reviewed the proposed changes to how facilities report releases of pollutants to water. The Association and our members have several concerns with the proposed changes.
The first general change will be to develop an effluent volume-reporting threshold for releases to water. We note that the municipal wastewater sector already has an effluent threshold of 10,000 m3/day to determine reporting under the NPRI. This is working well for our sector, and we support the concept of expanding this requirement to other reporting sectors. We also note that the current reporting threshold is adequately capturing wastewater facilities, and if a lower threshold is proposed, we recommend that wastewater facilities should be exempt (ie: remain at the current reporting threshold).
Letter to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans - enforcement of Fisheries Act
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CWWA submits comments on Health Canada's proposed Guideline for Lead in Drinking Water
CWWA submits comments on Health Caanada's proposed Guidelines for uranium and enteric viruses in drinkng water
CWWA 2016 Budget Advocacy Report: Our Impact, Our Opportunity, Our Position
Letter to Minister of Infrastructure and Communities - CWWA positions on Infrastructure Renewal
CWWA submission on Private member’s Motion M-69 Concerning Lead In Drinking Waterructure Renewal
CWWA’s Board of Directors are reviewing all CWWA’s Policy Statements to update, and develop new more relevant statements. We will be updating this section as statements are approved by the Board of Directors.
Sustainable Water Services
A sustainable water service recognizes and incorporates
social (service level and affordability), environmental and
economic factors while ensuring full cost recovery and
intergenerational equity. There are many benefits to
communities where utilities provide sustainable water
services (water, wastewater and/or stormwater). Over the
long‐term, there may also be significant risks to public
health, local economies and the environment if water
services are not truly sustainable. However, there are a
number of key challenges or barriers to achieving
sustainable water services. Utilities should plan to move
closer to sustainable water services, recognizing those
challenges, and monitor their progress to that objective.
Communication with, and engagement of, the public and
elected officials as to the social, environmental and
economic value of water services will be essential in that
Joint Statement of Canada’s National Professional Associations: Advancing Integrated Climate Action
The recently released IPCC SR15 report is unequivocal: we are beginning to experience the impacts of climate change, and it will take “rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to keep global warming below the crucial threshold of 1.5C. As professionals, we have the opportunity and responsibility to address both climate change mitigation (emissions reduction) and adaptation (responding to the impacts we cannot avoid). Our associations have a crucial role to play in advancing ethics, awareness, practices and policies that support integrated action on climate change, due to our prominent roles in many aspects of the development and management of resources, ecosystems and communities.
As such, we acknowledge that climate change is causing a variety of unavoidable impacts, many of which are projected to increase in duration, magnitude and severity. In the years ahead, these impacts will affect the outcomes of professional decisions made today. There is widespread recognition that we must plan ways to adapt, and that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is crucial if we are to minimize the risks – both types of actions are urgently required. Typically, mitigation and adaptation have been addressed separately; however, every opportunity to mitigate or adapt must be explored. Can an adaptation solution incorporate mitigation? Can a mitigation solution incorporate adaptation? Can thinking that incorporates both action streams as one process lead to transformative approaches?
Integrating these perspectives in a “Low Carbon Resilience” lens to guide decision-making and best practices, where appropriate, can save time and resources, increase returns on investment, and generate economic, environmental, social, and health co-benefits. Ensuring the two streams of action are coordinated and cross-evaluated can also help to avoid risks and unintended consequences associated with advancing them separately.
Issues Analysis Papers
Food waste Grinders
This paper is focused on food waste grinder use by the residential sector. Food waste grinders may also be used by the Commercial and Institutional (C&I) sector, particularly food service establishments (e.g. restaurants, cafeterias in hospitals, schools, etc.). As food waste grinders used in the C&I sector are typically larger units, the issues discussed in this paper can be magnified. It is considered best practice for jurisdictions to require, through their Sewer Use Bylaw or other regulatory means, that C&I food waste grinders and similar equipment used in the preparation of food be connected to a solids interceptor (prior to connecting to a grease interceptor). Jurisdictions can also consider a prohibition on commercial food waste grinders. The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Model Sewer Use Bylaw (2009) contains an optional additional requirement for prohibition of food waste grinders and other pretreatment requirements in the Advanced Clauses, Section 7.
CWWA is a non-profit national body representing the common interests of Canada’s public sector municipal water and wastewater services and their private sector suppliers and partners.
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