The Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act (OSDWA) Fails To Protect Us

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Ontario residents are encouraged to use tap water to avoid single use plastics.  And rightfully so.  But what happens when our municipal tap water is in violation of the Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act?  … Absolutely nothing happens if you live in Tottenham, New Tecumseth, Ontario, Canada, that's what!

There are many troubling aspects to the municipally supplied drinking water in the Village of Tottenham.  These include raw water filled with high levels of bromide, ammonia and methane.  The location of the wells near industrial factories known to contaminate the surrounding soil.   But most disturbing to residents is the ten years of exposure to potentially carcinogenic Trihalomethanes (THMs).  Ontario residents living in Tottenham were exposed to THMs that exceeded the OSDW Act maximum of 100 ug/L and residents were not advised that their drinking water contained a potential health threat.

For multiple decades, the municipally supplied drinking water in Tottenham has contained iron levels more than double the “aesthetic” limit of 300ug/L, which government health agencies claim are safe under the OSDW Act.  Yet research shows that iron levels greater than this limit may have serious health implications. Levels, like those in Tottenham, that are two and half times the aesthetic maximum create iron bacteria which is a biofilm.  Biofilm is known to protect viruses and bacteria, such as pneumoniae and legionnellosis, from the effects of chlorine in drinking water and may even encourage colonization of these viruses and bacteria.

For all of these issues, we are told by municipal and provincial officials to deal with these issues on our own, despite the legal responsibility of our municipalities to deliver clean, safe drinking water to our homes.


How many times can an Act be violated?  
What is the threshold for non-compliance:  one violation, two violations?  
What is the time period that Act contraventions are allowed:  one year, two years?
Are Ontarians protected under the OSDW Act if violations are allowed?
More importantly, when non-compliance is permitted for such an egregious number of years, are Ontario residents really protected?
Would there be consequences if a private citizen were to violate an Act?
How do we make necessary changes to the Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act?
How can Tottenham residents in New Tecumseth, Ontario trust that their drinking water is safe?

Part One, Report of the Walkerton Inquiry, pg 42, states:

“…people trusted the drinking water and those who operated and oversaw the water system. This trust was shattered.”

We know for certain that the residents of Tottenham, who use municipal drinking water, have experienced, witnessed and been exposed to Ontario Safe Drinking Water (OSDW) Act violations for an entire decade.  We demand to have these 10 years of violations be investigated and hold those responsible accountable.  We demand changes that will protect residents governed by the Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act.  And we demand access to our BASIC HUMAN RIGHT to clean, safe water in Tottenham and other communities with similar drinking water issues across Ontario.

If you agree that Tottenham, as well as every other community across Ontario deserves serious investigation into violations to the Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act; changes to the Act are necessary to protect the health and property of our residents, followed by long term solutions to the issues, then please sign this petition and share your experience and opinions.