New Signs Urge Drinking Water Protection

Saturday December 17th, 2016

Posted at 1:18pm

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New road signs have been installed across the Essex Region Source Protection Area as part of a provincial awareness initiative about protecting drinking water sources.

“Public awareness about our drinking water sources and where they are most vulnerable helps us to protect them,” explains Dr. Katie Stammler, Water Quality Scientist and Source Water Protection Project Manager. “The new road signs identify sections of road where accidental spills could travel quickly to our public drinking water sources and contaminate them.” As part of the Essex Region Source Protection Plan implementation, emergency responders have been notified about these zones so that public water sources can be protected in the event of a spill.

Locally, drinking water comes from Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit River. Drinking water protection zones were identified through a scientific process, and are provided with special protection under the Essex Region Source Protection Plan – a local plan developed under Ontario’s Clean Water Act. In total, over 40 signs will be located across the region once installation is complete. While each municipality is responsible for the installation of these signs in identified drinking water protection zones, the Essex Region Conservation Authority is responsible for education and outreach elements.

In total, over 750 of these signs will be erected across the province. “The use of a standardized sign throughout Ontario will help to raise public awareness about the importance of protecting our local drinking water sources,” Dr. Stammler adds.

The main risk to drinking water in our local area has been identified as fuel, and if a spill is identified, residents should contact the Spills Action Center at 1-800-268-6060.

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