Drinking Water Newsletter _Spring 2009_.indd

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					                                                                                        Summer 2009
City of St. Catharines
           DRINKING WATER MONITORING PROGRAM

          NEWSLETTER
THIS ISSUE                    Yes! Your Tap
YES! YOUR TAP
WATER IS SAFE TO
DRINK
                              Water is Safe
DRINKING WATER
TESTING                            Drink.
                                To Drink.
COMMON DRINKING
WATER COMPLAINTS
Q&A

FUN WATER FACTS




                         Yes, the tap water in the City of St. Catharines is safe to drink because it meets
                         strict Ministry of Environment requirements. The City is required to take hun-
                         dreds of samples each month and test for a variety of parameters including
                         chlorine, E. coli and other bacteria. The City has also implemented a community
                         wide lead testing program. All technicians and laboratories involved in analyzing
                         drinking water must meet stringent certification and accreditation requirements.
                         Annual Drinking Water reports are available at:
                                                        www.stcatharines.ca
                              DRINKING WATER MONITORING PROGRAM                           Summer 2009
                                                                           Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a


             Drinking Water
                                                                           subgroup of Coliform bacteria. It
                                                                           is most frequently associated with
                                                                           recent sewage pollution. The pres-


                 Testing
                                                                           ence of E. coli in drinking water is
                                                                           an indication of possible sewage
                                                                           contamination.

                                                                           Chlorine is added to water to
                                                                           disinfect, or to kill bacteria. Every
                                                                           sample collected MUST have at
                                                                           least 0.05 mg/L of chlorine.

                                                                           Trihalomethanes (THM’s) are a
                                                                           by-product of disinfection which
                                                                           can be produced when chlorine
                                                                           reacts with naturally occurring or-
                                                                           ganic material left in the water after
                                                                           filtration.
Microbiological Testing               Total Coliforms is a group of        Lead is present as a result of dis-
Every month, over 100 samples of      bacteria most commonly used as       integration of lead solder, brass fit-
tap water are tested for bacteria.    an indicator of water quality. The   tings containing lead or lead water
Bacteria may come from sewage,        presence of these bacteria in a      service pipes. The City has a lead
farms, septic beds and wildlife.      water sample indicates inadequate    testing program to help determine
Bacteria testing is the most im-      filtration and/or disinfection. On-   if residents have lead in their home
portant aspect of drinking water      tario Regulations do not allow the   plumbing fixtures.
quality due to its association with   presence of coliforms in municipal
potentially dangerous water-born      water.
diseases.

                       How Do I Get My Water Tested?
  The City of St. Catharines offers free in-home testing to all residents serviced by municipal water.
  A certified Water Quality Technician will come to your home and test your water for bacteria and
  chlorine. Please call: (905) 688-5601 ext. 2197 for more information.


                                       Did You Know?
  Every year over 3000 drinking water samples are taken and tested for a variety of parameters,
  including: E. coli, total Coliforms, free chlorine residual, lead, turbidity, hardness, sodium,
  trihalomethanes (disinfection by-products), iron, copper, magnesium... just to name a few. Samples
  are taken daily throughout the distribution system from over 100 different sampling sites, including
  schools, businesses, community and senior centres, hospitals and private homes.


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                                     DRINKING WATER MONITORING PROGRAM                   Summer 2009


 Common Drinking Water Complaints Q & A
Q. Why is my water sometimes         Or you can install a carbon filter    more prominent during extended
brown?                               on you tap to remove chlorine.       warm temperatures. When tem-
                                                                          peratures reach 19 °C and above,
A. If rusty or coloured water is     Q. Why is my water cloudy            naturally occurring compounds
noticeable in your cold water,       when I first turn the tap on?         which can create a musty odour
it may be coming from the wa-                                             or taste are formed. These odour
termain. Various maintenance         A. Cloudy water is usually caused    causing compounds are produced
procedures in our distribution       by tiny air bubbles in the water.    in aquatic environments by cya-
system require flushing of the wa-    After a while, the bubbles rise to   nobacteria (blue-green algae) or
termains. Rust can form on the in-   the top and disappear. This type     mould like bacteria called actino-
side walls of cast iron pipes over   of cloudiness occurs more often      mycetes. Very tiny concentrations
time. Running your cold water        in the winter, when the water is     of these compounds can create the
tap long enough for the colour to    cold. Another cause of cloudiness    earth/musty taste and odours in
disappear should be sufficient to     in our drinking water comes from     water. This odour poses no health
flush out the service line from the   calcium. Calcium is naturally oc-    impacts and is strictly aesthetic.
watermain to your house. Please      curring in our drinking water and    In-home water filtration systems
note that there is no known health   usually settles to the bottom.       that use activated carbon can help
risk associated with this physical                                        reduce or eliminate the tastes and
characteristic. If this problem is   Q. What causes the musty taste       odours. Storing water in a glass
noticeable in your hot water, your   and odour in our drinking wa-        pitcher in the refrigerator o may
water heater may be rusting and      ter?                                 also help.
should be serviced.                                 g     p
                                     A. Odour causing compounds are

Q. Why does my water
taste and smell like chlo-
rine?

A. Chlorine is added as
a disinfectant. It quickly
disappears from water on
it’s own. However, you can   n
easily remove the taste and d
smell of chlorine residual in n
drinking water through sev-   -
eral methods. Many people    e
find that storing tap water
                             s
in the refrigerator in a glass
container will remove the
taste of chlorine. Another
                             -
alternative is to use a store-
bought carbon filter pitcher. r.



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       FUN
                   DRINKING WATER MONITORING PROGRAM               Summer 2009




    WATER FACTS
1   The City of St. Catharines has a network of 600 kilometres of watermains
    T



    2
    b
    bringing clean drinking water to your tap.

          There are over 3500 fire hydrants in St. Catharines.
          T


3
     N
     Niagara Region’s Decew Water Treatment Plant is responsible for treating
     t water and the City of St. Catharines is responsible for delivering it to
     the
     t customers.
     the


4       Every year, more than 3000 drinking water samples are taken and
        Ev
        analyzed.
        an

    T average Canadian uses 335 Litres of water per day, while residents of
    The
5   S Catharines use an average of 240 Litres per day. Other countries use
    St.
    m
    much less, such as Sweden and Germany at 190 Litres and 130 Litres per
    d respectively.
    day


6    28% of our water used is for flushing toilets, while 27% is used for
     showers.

          Want To Know More About Your Drinking Water
                      & Its Regulations?
                          Visit the following websites:
                The City of St. Catharines: www.stcatharines.ca
           The Regional Municipality of Niagara: www.niagararegion.ca
              The Ministry of the Environment: www.ene.gov.on.ca

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