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Walkerton Inquiry

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Walkerton Inquiry Powered By Docstoc
					Walkerton and
Watertight: Retrospect
   Harry Swain
   hswain@uvic.ca
   Prof. Lonergan‟s class, UVic
   29 March 2006
What to watch for

 The story – its conclusions and
  recommendations – depend on
  organized knowledge
 The gaps are arresting




                                    2
Walkerton -- The bare facts

 E.coli 0157:H7 and Campylobacter
  outbreak kills 7, sickens 2300
 Economic damage ~$150 million
 Uncountable psychological costs
 Political shock wave



                                     3
Contributing factors --
immediate

 60-yearrainfall
 Neighbouring herd infected




                               4
Underlying factors
 A compromised well: M
 Ignorant, deceitful and complacent staff: M
 No automatic shut-down system: M
 Inadequate inspection: P
 Partial failure of risk communications: M, P
 PUC/municipal oversight failure: M
 In sum, an utter absence of TQM: M




                                                 5
Drinking water contaminants
 Acute:   microbial
   Bacteria,  viruses, protozoa
   All the classic horrors: cholera, typhoid,
    dysentery, etc.
   E. coli and Campylobacter at Walkerton

 Chronic:   chemical, radiological



                                                 6
Microbes: a solved problem?

 Dr.Snow‟s Broad Street pump, 1854
 “The Private Capital” – Sandra Gwyn
 Boards of public health
 Chlorine!




                                        7
Chlorination
 Becoming  universal by WW1
 Biggest ever contributor to public health
 Nothing changes for 3 generations
   In1971, J.J. Rook discovers DBPs
   Publishes in Dutch

   Norteamericanos don‟t catch on for 3 years




                                              8
Chlorination, part 2:
 1970s-1980s  reaction to chlorine
 TTHM limits imposed, 1978+
 Upshot: Peruvian cholera epidemic
        dead, 320,000 sick in Peru alone; as
   3,000
   many more in the Andean region
 Basic   lesson: Always disinfect!



                                               9
Standard chlorination:
 Cl as gas, HOCl, or hypochlorite added
  to water
   Oxidizes   organics, including bugs
 Residual   of 0.2-0.4 mg/L maintained in
  distribution system
   Guards   against leaks, biofilms
 Falling   residual an excellent warning
   Something    organic is in the water


                                             10
Other ways to disinfect:
 Chloramines
   Milder,   but long-lived
 Ozone
   Good     for taste, odour too, but no residual
 Ultraviolet
   “Can‟t give a microbe too much sunburn!”
   Excellent on protozoa, but also no residual




                                                     11
Back to bugs:
             not much attention to
 Historically,
  anything except bacteria
   Fortunately,most viruses are as easily
    challenged by chlorine…we think
 Encysted   protozoa pretty resistant
   Cryptosporidium   and Giardia lamblia




                                             12
UV:
 Deadly  on Crypto and Giardia, as well
  as bacteria and viruses
 More used in Europe than here
 Probably has its own DBPs, but these
  are not known yet, and likely minor
 254 nm frequency is close to
  fundamental resonance of DNA


                                           13
Where do bugs come from?
 Overwhelmingly, human pathogens pass
  through a mammalian gut
 E.coli O157:H7 has toxic metabolite
 It‟s in 3-60% of cattle in Ontario – on average,
  20% are harmlessly infected
 Known as a waterborne pathogen for less
  than 20 years; may be new
 Ignorance contributed to the tragedy at
  Walkerton


                                                14
“Chronic” problems
       all arise from natural or man-
 Almost
 made chemical contaminants
   Radioisotopes   occur, but not everywhere
 Here‟s where standard-setting comes to
 the fore
   Resultsmore reassuring than the process
   by which they are set



                                                15
Standards
 Expressed  as MACs or IMACs
 Goal: <1 chance in 100,000 of early
  death, based on drinking 2 L/d for 70
  years
     practice, too small to measure
   In
   Means we tolerate lots of „false positives‟

 Science: toxicology and epidemiology
 Highly precautionary


                                                  16
Standard-setting process
 Federal-provincial       subcommittee
   14 members, meets in private, operates by
    consensus
        Danger of „race to the bottom?‟
   Health Canada does the science
   Judgments based on subjective values as
    well as science
        Value questions in the science too
 Publishes     “Guidelines”

                                              17
Standards only recently
enforceable:
 In   Ontario, 3 months after Walkerton
   OR    459/00 and 505/01
          frustrated officials tried to
 Hitherto,
  persuade ministers to act
   Wound     up having to stick performance
    criteria into Certificates of Approval
   Like marrying an operating manual and a
    building permit – pretty clumsy


                                               18
Feds haven’t caught up yet:
 Policy: apply „more stringent‟ of
  Guidelines or provincial standards
 Applies to Indian reserves, military
  installations, national parks…
 Policy and achievement differ
 ¾ of reserves in Ontario unsound
   Despite   doubled spending since 1996
 No   legally enforceable standards

                                            19
Inquiry had two parts:
 Part   1: classic judicial inquiry
   Rules of procedure; standing
   Lots of lawyers (but still worked well)

 Part   2: more like a royal commission
   Focus  on policy for the future
   Evidence from practice, literature, experts
    and intervenors



                                                  20
Part 2
 JusticeO‟Connor focused on public
 health issues:
   Source  protection
   Licensing and accreditation of water
    providers
 Other recommendations:
   Training,labs, standards, feds, machinery
    of government


                                                21
Implications for municipalities
 Source      protection is top of the pops
     Most of the parties with standing, and all Town
      Hall meetings, emphasized that it‟s cheaper to
      start with clean water
     Farmers torn: fear they may face large burden,
      can‟t afford, but are responsible stewards
     Industrial, municipal contamination too
     Ignorance of (esp.) groundwater resources
     We were urged to think about watershed planning


                                                    22
Source protection (2)
 Means hydrogeological surveys, where
  groundwater is used
 Integration with land use planning
       Zoning to be consistent with source protection
 May require some new powers
 May also require upgrading of STPs
       Not all plants now meet standards, and standards
        are distressingly low



                                                         23
Second, upgrade the
management system:
 Water   providers:
   TQM; accreditation and licensing;
    liability
 Government oversight:
   Better policy, better enforcement

   Adequate resources



                                        24
For workers:
   Certification required since 1987
       After 18 months, 2236 of 4000 workers
        still grandfathered
   Ontario has dropped ball on curriculum
       Obsolescent; requirements mechanical
   …And on ensuring supply of training
       Community colleges: in or out?
       OWWA/OMWA: a latent resource
       New Walkerton centre up and running



                                                25
For water providers:
   Recall this is a disorganized, often
    complacent “industry”
       Too many providers: should have consolidated
        long ago
   Compare standards for water, food and
    pharmaceuticals
       Industries grew up in different eras
   Need to take lessons from latter on HACCP,
    TQM, GMPs, etc.


                                                       26
Quality standards:
   Look forward
       Inspection/enforcement focuses on past events
 Are based on stakeholder consensus
 Are widely known
       Regulated by Standards Council of Canada under
        act of Parliament
       Focus on continuously improving capability
       Need to be specific to water supply – not just
        generic ISO 14001-style


                                                        27
Quality standards (2)
 Mustbe built on solid engineering
  knowledge of present systems, risks
 Require adequate financing
   No proof system owners can‟t afford good
    practices
   Some evidence of over-investment, oddly

   SDWA now requires competent financial
    plans


                                               28
Finally, government oversight:

 Sets  policy and standards
    OWRA, SDWA, SWSSA
 Inspects, assists
 Subsidizes?
    Much moaning, little evidence
 Enforces!
    Fairly, without conflicts of interest

                                             29
Summary re Inquiry:
 Missing   science:
   Hydrogeology

   Risk   basis for DWQ standards
 Management      technology known
   QMS

   Training,certification
   Law: Standard of care, regulation



                                        30
Watertight
 Panel  of 3
 Ministry staff for financial modeling, etc.
 Continues Inquiry‟s work on PH
  standards into finance and organization
    BTW, do wastewater too!




                                            31
32
         Water Plants 1                                             Wastewater Plants
                   2% 3%                                                          3%    6%
                            7%
                                                                                              9%

                                  12%         100,000+
                                              35,000-99,999
                                                                                                   12%
                                              10,000-34,999
                                              5,000-9,999
                                              0-4,999            70%
     76%

1Includes water plants owned (1) by the private sector but operated by a municipality and/or serving a
 municipal population, and (2) by local services boards.
Source: Ministry of the Environment.




                                                                                                         33
Costs fall as scale increases
                          Average Yearly Cost per Person for Water and Wastewater Services
                                     by Municipality Size (Forecast 2005 - 2019)

                   1000

                              883
                    900


                    800                   773


                    700
 Cost Per Person




                    600
                                                        548

                    500                                                     476


                    400                                                                    373

                                                                                                        285
                    300


                    200


                    100


                      0
                             <2000     2000 - 4999   5000 - 9999       10000 - 49999   50000 - 99999   >100000
                                                            Municipality Size




                                                                                                                 34
Safety in numbers
Microbiological exceedances v. size:
   Pop x1000        E/10,000 tests
     <5                  33
     5-10                28
     10-50               26
     50-100              15
     >100                15

                                       35
Hidden assets
Billions of 2005 dollars at replacement cost

           Treatment       Dist &          Total
                           Coll


Water       6                28                34
Wastewater 14                24                38

Total           20           52                72
               28%          72%

                                                    36
Large investment needs
                          2005-19   Avg/yr


Renewal and replace-
ment of existing assets     25       1.7
Growth                       9       0.6
Less: current inv‟t         16       1.1
Gap                         18       1.2

                                             37
US$/m3                     Water Rates Among Selected OECD Countries
$3.50

$3.00

$2.50

$2.00

$1.50

$1.00

$0.50

$0.00
        Denmark   France    Finland   Japan   Australia Sw itzerland Greece   Austria   Italy   Canada
           Netherlands UK  Sweden Germany Turkey                U.S.      Spain LuxembourgHungary   Korea
Source: OECD Working Paper, 1999.




                                                                                                         38
       Comparative Average Monthly Household Expenditures
                             (2002)
$90
$80
$70
$60
$50
$40
$30
$20
$10
 $0
      Cable and    Water and     Alcoholic   Telephone   Electricity
       Satellite   Wastewater   Beverages



                                                                       39
Key recommendations
   Consolidation:  scale
   Business-like utility organizations
   Full-cost pricing
   Unsubsidized financing
     Unsustainable   systems
   Economicregulator
   Fix OCWA


                                          40
41
42
Recs for a $72b industry
depend on:
 Standards  for DW and ST
 Hydrogeology
 Surface water stocks, flows,
  contaminants, fate – and climate
 Asset location and condition
 Forecast lives of new materials
 Guesses about scale and scope effects
 Management and regulatory theory
                                       43
Questions for B.C:

 Filtrationrequired (protozoa)? Any
  research on waterborne GI disease?
 Standards enforceable? Enforced?
 Effects of climate change?
 Consolidation?
 BCMFA a real asset. User pay?


                                       44

				
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