Ontario Municipal Water Association President’s Message: “OMWA Premiere Water Symposium Attracts International Attention”
“Delivering water 24 hours a day, seven days a week without interruption is a basic necessity for public health.”
Quoted by Water Director, Paula Keyhoe of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, featured in an article by WaterTAP, and a recent Speaker at World Water Tech North America 2017.
As an elected official dealing with municipal water systems, and their oversight responsibility, these words resonate intensely. We value and rely on the security and benefits of our public water systems for our constituents and the health of our communities, throughout our province.
While hosting the Premiere Ontario Municipal Water Symposium in partnership with Water Tap, Ontario Water Innovation Week, and World Water Tech North America this past October 30-Nov. 3, I contemplated York Region’s “ONE WATER ACTION PLAN 2017” and this particularly statement,
“The full value of “One Water” can be unlocked “only” through partnerships”.
Partnerships that are forged by mutual “interest, goals and respect.”
Continue reading “OMWA Premiere Water Symposium Attracts International Attention”
OMWA’s new board of directors
The Board of Directors of the Ontario Municipal Water Association (OMWA) are pleased to announce that at their Annual General Meeting held May 9, 2017 in Niagara Falls, the following slate of Directors was approved.
- Rosemary K MacLennan Municipality of Trent Hills
- Mark Howson Sault Ste. Marie PUC
- Peter Chilibeck Lakefront Utility Services Inc. (Cobourg)
- Lynn Dollin Town of Innisfil
- Doug Lawrance Town of Sioux Lookout
- Andy Bruziewicz City of Sarnia
- Patrick Merlihan Township of Woolwich
- Andrew Henry Lake Huron and Elgin Area Water
- Nick Benkovich City of Greater Sudbury (retired, 2018)
- Jim Keech Utilities Kingston
- Amy Martin City of Guelph
- John Thompson City of Barrie
- Susan MacFarlane Lambton Area Water Supply System
Also at the Annual General Meeting, Andrew Henry, who has been the OMWA President for the past three years, announced that he would be stepping down and will become our Past President.
Following the 2017 AGM the OMWA Board held a Meeting of the Directors and the following changes to board’s executive were made:
- President Andrew Henry (Manager, Lake Huron & Elgin Area Primary Water Supply Systems, London) stepped down after serving three years, and is now Past President;
- Vice President Rosemary Kelleher-MacLennan (Deputy Mayor, Municipality of Trent Hills) was elected President;
- Vice President Peter Chilibeck (Chair, Lakefront Utilities, Cobourg) is now Chairman of the Board;
- Board members John Thompson (manager of Water, Wastewater and Environmental Operations, City of Barrie) and Doug Lawrance (Mayor, Municipality of Sioux Lookout) were elected Vice-Presidents.
Continue reading “OMWA board of directors and executive committee, 2017”
By Andrew Henry
Past President, OMWA
I’m going to make a shocking statement. Many of you might get offended, downright shocked, or possibly even think I’ve gone completely insane. Nonetheless, I’m going to risk it because it needs to be said…
The fact that you have an Asset Management Plan will not solve your infrastructure problems.
There it is. I’ve said it. But before you call to have me committed to a psychiatric institution, please let me explain.
Whether you’re operating a water or wastewater utility, or a municipality with a mesh of services and responsibilities, an asset management plan is a ‘road map’ of sorts. It should distill your policies to fundamental principles with regard to how you intend to manage your assets; how you maintain them, how you reinvest in them, and how you will eventually replace them. It should set out a planned and systemic approach to effective and efficient asset utilization, ensuring their entire lifecycle is maximized to the extent that is reasonably practical.
But here’s the rub: this is only one element of the solution, and if this is the only piece that you’re focused on then it will never be the be-all and end-all that you were made to believe it is. It is not The Saviour of our communities. It cannot slay that dragon… at least not alone.
Continue reading “Asset Management – Is It Really Your Saviour?”
Part one: About SOPs
By Ken MacDonnell, P. Eng.
Professor, Fleming College
Over the years, and especially since the Walkerton tragedy, there has been a general shift for municipalities and other public entities to operate with a clear set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Whether it be as a requirement to conform to DWQMS, a compliance requirement for your ECA, the result from a visit from a Ministry of Labour / Ministry of Environment and Climate Change inspector, or you were ahead of the curve and understood that SOPs were a part of a Best Management Practice, the fact is that SOPs are here to stay.
The most critical component in the above title is the development and writing of effective SOPs. In order for SOPs to be effective they should:
- Clearly define the purpose of the SOP (i.e. why is the task required);
- Identify all tools and equipment required to perform the SOP;
- Provide easy and concise instructions to complete the task.
Finally, the SOP must take into consideration and identify all possible hazards and safety precautions required to complete the tasks associated with the SOP safely.
Continue reading “Developing and writing effective standard operating procedures”
Ontarians depend on their municipal governments to provide clean, safe drinking water and effective stormwater and wastewater services. While municipal governments face a host of infrastructure challenges, continued investments in our water systems remain a priority to Councils across Ontario. These essential services are critical to our health and well-being, environment and economic development.
The Ontario Municipal Water Association has been an important leader and resource in ensuring that our water systems are safe, reliable and sustainable – from source to tap.
I’d like to congratulate the OMWA for this new online publication, encompassing all aspects of municipal water services. From stormwater and wastewater management, to source protection and drinking water, the issues are complex and many. A new resource to keep informed on issues, events, policies and technologies is most welcome.
Lynn Dollin is Deputy Mayor Mayor of the Town of Innisfil. She was first elected councillor in 1994 and as Deputy Mayor in 2014. She is also chair of the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Committee and a member of the board of directors for OMWA. She has held a seat on AMO’s Board of Directors since 2011 and in 2014 was elected to the position of Chair of the Ontario Small Urban Municipalities (OSUM). She was elected president of AMO in 2016.
By Patrick Merlihan
Running for elected office for the very first time in 2014 was not a decision made lightly. Aside from my potential conflicts and optics of a newspaper owner running for office, the personal toll of the job on me and my family were given the highest priority. Before making my final decision to put my name forward I did some due diligence to find out if my skills could complement the role of a Councillor in my municipality.
My research started with the job descriptions posted by the municipality. I ventured further afield reading the Municipal Act and other provincial documents posted that seemed relevant. I even signed up and have the certificate to prove it for the “So you want to run for Council” e-learning module hosted by the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO). When I was comfortable enough with myself and the idea of running for office I had a discussion with my family, colleagues and friends in the community. I had a lot of personal support that led me to make the next step; filing the paperwork.
Just days after filing, an interview with Township staff took place to unload more information about the expectations and rules of running in an election, tracking and filing expenses, and tax roll data to assist with door-to-door canvassing. That was my only contact with the municipality I had until election night when I found out I was successfully elected.
Continue reading “Sometimes best efforts to be informed isn’t always enough”
Consultation on Lead in Drinking Water and Amendments to the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality
by Andrew Henry,
The Ontario Municipal Water Association continues to strive to be The Voice of Ontario’s Public Water Authorities, representing municipalities and municipally-owned water systems across Ontario. On behalf of our municipal members, we look to develop and implement long-term drinking water, wastewater and storm water policies and programs for the benefit of the greater public, strive to ensure sustainable water-related utilities in Ontario, and address our most-pressing issues that we face in the water resource sector.
The OMWA has reviewed Health Canada’s consultation document with regard to lead in drinking water. The Association agrees with the science and reasoning behind the proposed changes in the maximum allowable concentration of lead in drinking water from 0.010 mg/L (10 µg/L) to 0.005 mg/L (5 µg/L) but has some concerns with regard to the overall program application and potential liabilities for water utilities in Ontario.
Continue reading “OMWA issues statement on lead”