Source water is untreated water from streams, lakes or underground aquifers, which supply private wells and public drinking water systems. Source water protection involves protecting both the quality and quantity of these sources, now and in the future. The City of Thunder Bay receives its source water from Lake Superior at the Bare Point Water Treatment Plant.

Clean Water Act

Source water protection is an outcome of the Clean Water Act based largely on recommendations from the Walkerton Inquiry. The Act introduced a new level of protection for Ontario drinking water resources, focusing on protecting water before it enters the drinking water treatment system.

Source water protection

Source protection involves identifying threats to drinking water sources and determining appropriate actions to reduce or eliminate those threats.

Watershed-based source protection

Thunder Bay uses watershed-based source protection, which means managing these threats at the level of river systems as a whole. This approach makes sense for our area because water flows across community boundaries. Activities in one community may influence the drinking water of another downstream, as well as its own source. For more information about source protection in our area, see the Lakehead Conservation Authority's Source Water Protection.

Effective water treatment

Source protection is only one part of ensuring safe drinking water. Other key elements are effective water treatment, protection of the distribution system and adequate testing of the finished drinking water and training of personnel involved with water treatment and distribution. 

Source-to-tap drinking water protection plan

The Ontario government approved the Lakehead Source Protection Plan in 2013. The Lakehead Source Protection Committee developed the Plan. This made the City of Thunder Bay the first place in the province to have a comprehensive source-to-tap drinking water protection plan.

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