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.
Drinking Water Guidelines - Comments
CWWA has issued press releases and compiled resources for members on the COVID-19 pandemic.
CWWA Supports Expedited Creation of the Canada Water Agency
CWWA added their name, with 20 other water organizations, calling for the expedited creation of the Canada Water Agency. CWWA has long supported a more coordinated federal approach to water issues as various water issues fall into the portfolio of at least a dozen of the federal ministries and agencies.
The creation of the Canada Water Agency was identified in the mandate letter to the new Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, following the last election. The purpose of the letter was to support the creation of the Agency sooner rather than later.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clearer than ever that water and wastewater services are essential to the health of communities, and to their economy. Now is the opportunity to focus federal infrastructure funding onto critical water projects.
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.
Support and Funding for a Canadian Standard for Flushable Consumer Products
in partnership with the:
All of us in the wastewater sector understand the harmful impact that so-called flushable products have on our municipal wastewater systems. From additional maintenance, to equipment damage, to clogs and system failures to contamination of sludge, this issue is costing Canadian municipalities over $250 million each year. The inappropriate labeling of products and counter-education of our customer’s needs to be addressed. Currently, there are no standards, regulations or official definitions for the use of the term ‘flushable’. A solution is needed that supports jobs and free trade, but not at the expense of our wastewater systems. MESUG and CWWA have combined forces to address this situation for Canadian utilities, but we need your support.
MESUG, the Municipal Enforcement Sewer Use Group, is a non-incorporated group of municipal enforcement professionals working together to address common issues regarding sewer use in Canadian municipalities. MESUG spearheaded this effort to bring awareness and then invited CWWA to be a partner to assist with financial administration and national/international outreach. CWWA, the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, is a registered not-for-profit corporation that serves as the national professional association for our municipal sector. Together, MESUG and CWWA have been working on this issue for a few years, and working at it from various angles.
An ISO (international standard) initiative was commenced in 2014 by Canada through ISO’s Technical Committee (TC) 224. Considerable progress was made on the development of a Technical Specification regarding the quality and characteristics of products that might be considered “flushable” and how products, flushable and non-flushable, might be clearly labeled. This international committee consisted of both utility representatives as well as those in the wipes manufacturing industry. This work was nearing completion when it was halted by a challenge from the manufacturers concerning test methods.
Over the same timeframe, INDA, the US-based trade association for non-woven products, sought collaboration with the major North American wastewater associations (CWWA, NACWA, WEF and APWA), to review and improve their voluntary Code of Practice and their Guidance Document for Assessing Flushability (GD3) of their products. A task group of wipes industry and municipal utility representatives worked to develop a more stringent fourth edition of the INDA Guidance Document – GD4, but this work halted by the end of 2016 when the manufacturers failed to accept proposals for new tests and pass/fail criteria provided by the wastewater associations.
INDA and the utility associations did however come to agreement on a new voluntary Code of Practice with better guidelines for labeling of any product that could likely be flushed – although we did not agree that any products could be considered flushable yet. You can obtain the new Code of Practice at: http://www.inda.org/code-of-practice-download/ .
So this leaves us with the original question of “what is flushable?” With the suspension of the ISO work and collaboration with INDA failing, the wastewater associations joined together to form the International Water Services Flushability Group (IWSFG). This informal coalition put together a position statement on non-flushable and flushable labelled products which is now supported by wastewater services in 25 countries and by over 300 stakeholders. You can see the position statement and the entire list here.. The IWSFG is also developing a flushable product standard that would be acceptable to wastewater services.
How you can help
Any developed standard (whether international or North American) would require adoption within Canada, as a Canadian Standard, to be enforceable. The ISO and continuing IWSFG work has paved the way, and saved much time, on the development of a Canadian national standard. However, funding is required to continue this work and move us forward toward the implementation of a standard into legislation.
We are requesting Canadian wastewater utilities to contribute to a common fund for the development, adoption and implementation of a Canadian Standard for ‘Flushability’. Previous quotes from standards associations estimate a cost in the range of $150,000 over 18 months to develop a Canadian standard. Additional funds would be required to support lobbying efforts and the process to have such a voluntary standard adopted as an enforceable regulation. Given that the annual cost to Canadian utilities for responding to inappropriately flushed products is assessed at $250 million, the cost-benefit ratio of this investment is clearly evident.
Show your leadership by adding your logo to the Canadian Wastewater Statement on Flushables - Read More
Show your leadership by adding your logo to the Canadian Wastewater Statement on Flushables
Please contact Kara Parisien at CWWA for support information:
CWWA Communications (613)747-0524 ext 4 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Payments are to be made to the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association with a note to direct funds to flushable standard campaign.
Canadian Water and Wastewater Association
1010 Polytek Street Unit 11
Ottawa, ON, K1J 9H9
Contact Account Receivable Clerk Louisa Spina for payment details, electronic banking, invoices and receipts.
Louisa Spina, CWWA Accounts Receivable
(613)747-0524 ext 226 or email@example.com
Links and Supporting Documents
International water industry position statement on non-flushable and ‘flushable’ labelled products
EFFECTS OF FLUSHABLE PRODUCTS ON WASTEWATER INFRASTRUCTURE AND NATURAL AQUATIC ENVIRONMENTS
Ryerson University Report: Defining Flushability
Western University: Nonwoven Fabric Product Analysis Summary Report
The Road to a Standard for Flushability: March 2019 Update
Canada wide wastewater statement release
Suggested donation levels, donation instructions and project details
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.
CWWA, Unit 11, 1010 Polytek Street, Ottawa, ON K1J 9H9 Canada