|Reports & Publications - Annual Report 2006
Health Unit Role in Drinking Water Safety
Safe Water is a Mandatory Program under the responsibility of the Health Protection Department. One of the more well-known roles of the Health Unit is that when there is a possible or determined presence of bacteria in water consumed by the public, the Health Unit issues Boil Water Advisories and Boil Water Orders so that the water can be consumed after it has gone through a boiling process. But that isn’t the only role in drinking water safety. When water supplies are threatened as in an emergency or when chemical or radiological health standards are exceeded, the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) is a necessary contact for emergency response.
In the Safe Water Act, the Medical Officer of Health is identified as a key contact as she works with Public Health Inspectors (PHI) and the Ministry of Environment to make specific instructions when adverse water quality results are received. An assigned PHI is the eyes of the MOH out in the field as well. The PHI assists in determining a correct course of action for the operator of the public water system. They may need to take additional samples or use other methods to ensure that the public has access to safe drinking water.
For more information about the regulations for drinking water safety, you can view the Ontario Drinking Water Standards at this website:
In the Safe Water Act, the Medical Officer of Health is identified as a key contact...