On November 16, 2009 amendments to the "Clean Water Act, 2006 Technical Rules: Assessment Report" were finalized by the MOE and posted on the EBR at EBR Posting.
The Clean Water Act requires the development of science-based Assessment Reports to support the preparation of Source Protection Plans and policies by Source Protection Committees in each of the source protection areas in Ontario. The contents of Assessment Reports are set out in the Clean Water Act, its Regulation 287/07 and the Technical Rules: Assessment Report, which also stipulates the various methodologies that can be applied in drafting such Reports. Assessment Reports must identify and evaluate the vulnerability of groundwater and surface water, consider the activities or conditions that threaten such drinking water sources, and apply a rank to each of the identified threats. The amendments are intended to provide more clarity with respect to the content of Assessment Reports and to provide more flexibility to Source Protection Committees to address local conditions.
For the development of Assessment Reports and Source Protection Plans, the Clean Water Act first requires the preparation of Terms of Reference, to establish the relationships and division of responsibilities between the municipalities, conservation authorities and Source Protection Committees, as well as to identify drinking water sources in a source protection area. Terms of Reference documents are being prepared for each of the 40 source protection areas in the province. The Minister approved a number of Terms of Reference documents in July and August of 2009, including for the Toronto and Region Source Protection Area, the Central Lake Ontario Source Protection Area, the Credit Valley Source Protection Area, the Grand River Source Protection Area, the Nottawasaga Valley Source Protection Area and several others.
For Source Protection Committees with approved Terms of Reference documents, the newly amended Technical Rules: Assessment Report will be followed in the Assessment Report preparation and consultation process. As Assessment Reports must be completed within 12 months of a Terms of Reference approval, it is anticipated that Assessment Reports will be submitted for approval throughout 2010, with Source Protection Plans to be submitted to the MOE in 2012.
For more information on the Technical Rules and its amendments, the Clean Water Act or the preparation and implementation of Source Protection Plans, please consult the following links: