May 2023 Board of Health Meeting - Small Drinking Water Systems Information Report

Meeting Document Type
Information Report
Small Drinking Water Systems


Environmental Health


May 18, 2023


Small Drinking Water Systems


The Environmental Health (EH) Department conducts inspections of small drinking water systems (SDWSs) in Windsor and Essex County (WEC), as a part of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s Safe Water Program. This mandatory program contributes to the prevention and reduction of illnesses related to drinking water and operates under the requirements outlined in the Safe Drinking Water and Fluoride Monitoring Protocol, 2019, the Small Drinking Water Systems Risk Assessment Guideline, 2018, and Ontario Regulation 319/08.

Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) assess the risk level of SDWSs and issue site-specific directives to owners and operators, which include requirements for sampling and testing frequency, treatment, equipment, record maintenance, and signage posting. Assessments are required to be completed every two to four years, at minimum. In addition, PHIs monitor SDWSs to ensure that the requirements outlined in the directives and Ontario Regulation 319/08: Small Drinking Water Systems are being met. They also investigate all adverse water quality incidents in a timely manner and ensure that appropriate corrective actions are taken to protect the public from unsafe water.

In WEC, there are currently 36 SDWSs, 34 of which are located on Pelee Island.

SDWS Summary

A summary of completed inspections and orders in 2022 and 2023 is outlined in the chart below.
Year # of Completed Inspections # of Boil Water Orders Issued # of Boil Water Orders Resolved # of Ongoing Boil Water Orders # of Closure Orders
2022 6 4 2 2 0
2023 (data pulled April 28, 2023) 3 1 1 2 (continued from 2022) 0


There are 18 SDWS assessments and re-assessments due for 2023. Assessments on Pelee Island will take place between April and November, as permissible by the available ferry services.

The Environmental Health Department has also been experiencing challenges in maintaining an accurate inventory of SDWSs due to business closures and changes in business ownership. In collaboration with the Pelee Island municipality, work is being done to increase education and awareness regarding the requirements for SDWSs registration with the WECHU, as per Ontario Regulation 319/08.

All routine and complaint-based inspection reports of SDWSs and drinking water advisories are made available on the health unit’s Disclosure Website. Assessments are posted within two weeks of a completed inspection and remain posted for four to eight years.