Annual Water Reports provide information on the operation and quality of the municipal drinking water system.
To ensure safe drinking water, the Township's drinking water system operates under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 and its' associated Regulations.
The Township's drinking water is continually tested, monitored and analyzed to ensure water quality, which is summarized in the Township's Annual Drinking Water Reports.
The Township's Backflow Prevention Program protects drinking water quality from contamination or pollution by preventing water from private plumbing from flowing backwards into the drinking water system.
The program includes Industrial, Commercial and Institutional buildings as well as multi-residential buildings (greater than 3 stories) and residential homes with irrigation systems. These buildings must have a water connection to the municipal water system.
The owners of buildings that require backflow prevention devices are responsible for ensuring the devices are installed, maintained and tested.
The Township By-Laws regulating the municipal water are:
- By-Law No. 2006-080 Municipal Water By-Law
- By-Law No. 99-55 Watering Restrictions
By-Laws are available upon request.
Can the COVID-19 virus spread through drinking water?
The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. Conventional disinfection treatment methods, used in municipal drinking water systems, will inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies, and based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low.
Am I responsible for my water service repairs?
The Township owns the water distribution system up to each property line including the curb stop (water valve at the property line). The Township also owns the water meter.
The connecting line (or the service line) from the property line into your building including the water shut off valve in the building belongs to the property owner. Any repairs are the property owner's responsibility.
The pipe ownership diagram illustrates the typical water and sewer layout and Municipal and Private responsibilities.
What is a curb stop?
If you have a Township water service, the water valve at the property line is called a curb stop. The curb stop is usually found in your lawn or driveway and has a 13 cm (5 inch) diameter iron cap. It provides access to an underground water valve which is the only way to shut off water supplied to your property during plumbing, maintenance or valve replacement. It is frequently a quick way to shut off the water going into your house in an emergency and provides quick response which can prevent or minimize property damage. In the event that the curb stop is not visible, the Township will need to dig up part of your property to locate the water valve and may need to replace or repair damaged valves or curb stops.
What should you do if you are landscaping or paving?
Before any work begins:
- If you are excavating, it is important to locate all your utility lines first. Contact Ontario One Call at 1.800.400.2255 to locate all utility lines. Under Ontario regulations, it is the law. Please call before you dig to keep your property, family, and the community safe.
- Request a free inspection by calling 519.846.9691 Ext 905. Be sure to contact the Township two weeks prior to the planned work to allow scheduling and inspection. There is no cost for a curb stop inspection.
- Ensure that your contractor doesn't pave over the curb stop and that an inspection has been completed prior to the driveway repairs or replacement. This should be among your contractors checklist of items to cover, but are important for you as a homeowner to know.
Please note: If you do not request a curb stop inspection prior to paving and your valve needs repair, excavation of a portion of your property may be needed. If it is in your driveway, the Township will patch the area, but will not replace or match the entire driveway. Also, if a repair is made to your curb stop, it is recommended that you allow 30 days for it to settle before completing any driveway.
How can I get the outside water valve at property repaired, raised or lowered?
Any issues with curb stop valves i.e. lifted, broken, bent must be repaired by Environmental Services. Residents should contact the Township at 519.846.9691 Ext 905 for curb stop valve repairs.
Who repairs my leaking water meter?
Any leaks that may develop at a water meter or its couplings must be reported immediately to the Township at 519.846.9691 Ext 905. Staff will be dispatched to make the repair. Please make sure there is clear access to the meter to make the repair. Please do not attempt to repair a meter yourself.
For water service turn on/turn off, who do I call?
If you need the water service to your home or business to be turned off, please contact Environmental Services 24 hours in advance if possible at 519.846.9691 Ext 905 for an appointment time. By giving advance notice, staff will locate and test the curb stop valve at the property line prior to the appointment time. The Township conducts service calls Monday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Requests for afterhours service calls may be subject to charges as per the Township Fees and Charges By-Law.
Water will only be turned back on if someone is present at the home or business, to make sure there are no unexpected leaks.
How can I help reduce water consumption?
Please take a look at some water conservation tips to learn how you can help reduce water consumption.
What to do if your building will be vacant for an extended period of time?
Please call Centre Wellington Hydro to notify them of the period of time the building will be left vacant.
Residents who wish to connect to the municipal water or sanitary sewer system will be permitted to, provided there are services available at the property line. A Municipal Infrastructure Application is required and must be paid for before a building permit will be issued.
Historically, some water service lines were installed at a depth of less than 2.0 meters which make them prone to freezing. Cold temperatures, or fluctuations between warm and cold, can sometimes push frost to a depth that will freeze shallow water services. If the ground surrounding the service lines becomes frozen and water is not used for several hours, for example overnight, shallow water services can be prone to freezing.
Today’s standards require water service pipes be buried deep enough to protect against frost and freezing.
How do I prevent frozen pipes?
Frozen pipes can also occur inside your home and can be prevented through proper heating and insulation. Follow these simple tips to protect the water pipes inside your home:
- Wrap foam pipe insulation around the water pipes most susceptible to freezing such as pipes along outside walls and in crawl spaces or cold cellars.
- If piping is located next to exterior walls, leave the cupboard doors open under your kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow warmer air to circulate. Please take care to remove household cleaners and other items that could harm children or pets while the cupboard doors are open.
- Shut off and drain pipes leading to outside taps.
- Seal air leaks in your home and garage, especially in areas where pipes run.
- If there are water supply lines in the garage keep outside garage doors closed.
- If you’re going away, talk to your insurance company about what you can do to protect your home while you’re away.
If your pipes have frozen in the past, the best solution is to lower your service line to a depth that cannot be affected by frost. New water lines must be buried at a depth of 2.0 meters. Please contact the Township for further information if you are considering lowering your water service.
The Township has asked me to run my water, why?
The Township actively monitors frost depths to determine if water services are at risk of freezing. If the water service supplying your home has a history of freezing, the Township will contact you and request that you run your water. Running your water is important to prevent your service from freezing. Residents are asked to run a cold water tap that is not connected to the water softener at a rate of one gallon every four minutes, or a stream about the width of a pencil (1/4”). Ideally the tap should be at the lowest point in the house, which is typically a laundry room sink. Please ensure the drain is kept clear of debris to prevent overflowing or flooding.
If you have received a request from the Township to run your water, please leave water running until you have been notified to turn off your tap. Although the temperature may become warmer, frost is still deep in the ground and remains well into the spring. Your water and sewer bill will be adjusted during this time and is based on your average use. If you choose to run your water without being notified by the Township, applicable water and sewer rates will apply.
What should I watch for?
You may be at risk of freezing if you experience the following:
- No water at all or a noticeable drop in water pressure.
- You have a history of frozen water service.
- You have unusually cold water (less than 5° C) running from your tap.
- You are experiencing discoloured water.
If a frozen water service is suspected, please contact the Township at 519.846.9691 Ext 905. Crews will be dispatched to determine if the water service is frozen.
What if my pipes freeze?
Property owners are responsible for maintaining and replacing water pipes inside their home, and from the home to the property line. The Township is responsible for pipes beyond the property line. Your first step is to try to determine if your indoor (household) plumbing has frozen or if the problem is outside. Try running different cold water taps throughout your home. If even one tap has running water, your issue is likely internal, please contact a plumber. Tenants having problems with frozen water pipes must advise their landlord.
If you find that all water service to your home has stopped, or you are not sure where the problem is, contact the Township at 519.846.9691 Ext 905. The Township will work with you to determine where your pipes have frozen. If it is found to be frozen on private property, homeowners will be advised to contact a plumber. If found to be on Township property, our crews may attempt to thaw the service or make arrangements to supply water to the home.
The drinking water in the Township comes from groundwater wells. Groundwater is typically considered "hard" water due to the minerals the water picks up while it travels underground. Although it is safe for drinking, the minerals contribute to scale build-up in pipes and appliances. Many residences use water softeners that replace the minerals with salt, resulting in softened water.
In Fergus, the average hardness is 540 mg/L as CaCO3 or 38 grains of hardness. In Elora, the average hardness is 423 mg/L as CaCO3 or 30 grains of hardness.
The Township has developed and implemented a Quality Management System for the drinking water system in accordance with the Ministry of the Environment mandated Drinking Water Quality Management Standard.
The Quality Management System Policy for Centre Wellington's Drinking Water System states the Township is committed to:
- Comply with all applicable legislation and regulations for the supply of drinking water in the Province of Ontario
- Maintain and continually improve the Quality Management System and Drinking Water System
- Provide safe drinking water to the consumer
A copy of the QMS Operational Plan is available for review at the Infrastructure Services Office.
The Township conducts regular water system maintenance to improve water quality and to ensure infrastructure is repaired or replaced as needed.
Watermain Flushing - Flushing is done in the spring and fall during evening hours. Flushing cleans out iron and sediment that has gathered in the Township's watermains. When the mains are flushed or there is a change in pressure and the minerals that have settled in the distribution system can be stirred up.
If discoloured water is experienced, residents are urged to turn on a cold water tap nearest to their water meter and allow the water to flush slowly for several minutes until it runs clear. If after 24 hours, the water still appears discoloured, please contact Centre Wellington Infrastructure Services at (519) 846-9691 Option #2.
Hydrant Maintenance - Hydrants are part of water infrastructure and are annually maintained. They help save lives in the event of a fire. Hydrants must be visible and easy to get to for use by the Fire Department. Plants, shrubs and fences should not block hydrants.
Please report any problem you may have with the municipal water system.
Protecting the sources of our municipal drinking water is an important step toward ensuring that there is enough safe, clean drinking water for all. The closer your property is to a municipal well or municipal water intake, the more likely there may be some policies in the Source Protection Plan that may affect your property.
The responsibility for protecting municipal drinking water sources is a partnership between municipalities, conservation authorities and the provincial government, each with different roles and responsibilities. Source Protection Committees have been appointed by the provincial government to guide the development of source protection plans and are comprised of municipalities, farmers, businesses, industry, residents and members of the public.
Source Protection is delivered for the Township by Wellington Source Water Protection, a partnership of the eight municipalities that make up Wellington County.
The Township's drinking water supply is groundwater. The groundwater is treated with chlorine to control bacteria, algae, and viruses that can be found in the water. It's considered one of the most important tools for disinfection of drinking water and is responsible for ending disease epidemics that were widespread prior to its use.
Chlorine levels may vary (to ensure disinfection throughout the distribution system) and there may be an intensified smell of chlorine from your taps due to aerators.
Water rates cover the cost of the day-to-day operations and maintenance to ensure safe drinking water and reserve funds to maintain, replace and build water infrastructure. Water billing is completed by Centre Wellington Hydro, and is based on water meter readings that are taken remotely on a monthly basis.
The Township monitors use and if an unusual usage is seen (zero or high usage), contact will be made with the customer and staff will investigate. Customers are billed for water based on the water rate and the amount of water used (in cubic metres) as measured by the installed water meter. This charge covers the cost of water treatment and distribution. The base monthly charge is based on the water meter size and covers the cost of the water meter, customer service and the billing process.
The water rate for 2024 is $2.53 per cubic metre.
If the property has a fire protection system, there will be additional charges based on the size of the service line feeding the fire system.
Water meters are used for calculating water usage for many reasons such as billing, consumption, leak detection, calculation of waste water discharged back into the municipal system and overall usage accountability.
The Township will supply you with a water meter spacer as well as the water meter couplings which are to be installed before the Township can install the water meter. Once these have been installed, please contact Centre Wellington Hydro to set up the water and sewer account. Centre Wellington Hydro will notify the Township of the new account and provide the contact information. The Township will call and set up an appointment to have the water meter installed.
Unusually High Water Use
Water meters are read monthly prior to each billing. This ensures that you are billed only for the water you have used.
If you receive an unusually high bill, you should check for a possible leak. Water leaks within the premise can be a very costly incident that can both contribute damages to the property and result in very large water/ wastewater bills.
All water meters are equipped with a leak indicator. The indicator can be used to determine if a leak is occurring:
- Older meters have a red triangle on the face of the meter. If there is no water being used in the building, the red triangle should not be moving. If you find the triangle moving, there is water being used somewhere in the building.
- Newer water meters are digital and require the customer to shine a flashlight onto the meter to turn the digital display on. An arrow will appear on the screen pointing in the direction of the water flow if water is being used somewhere in the building. The arrow will not be visible if there is no water being used.
A dripping faucet, leaky hot water tank or running toilet can significantly impact your water consumption. Please review the water conservation tips to help reduce your consumption.
The Township maintains a year-round watering restriction through By-Law 99-55.
The use of municipal water through a hose or other attachment for lawn or garden watering, fountains, washing automobiles or filling swimming pools is subject to the following regulations:
- Homes with EVEN house numbers – watering is allowed on EVEN calendar days.
- Homes with ODD house numbers - watering is allowed on ODD calendar days.
- Sprinkling or watering is only permitted between the hours of 5 a.m. – 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
People must obey watering restrictions or fines may result.
Exemptions are permitted, but must be applied for. For further information regarding outdoor water use, please contact us.
Apply for a Sod Watering Permit by clicking here.
In the case of an extreme emergency, the Township has the authority to ban any non-essential uses of water.
Other Conservation Tips:
Lawns only need about 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water per week including any rain. The height of the lawn should be 7.5 cm (3 inches) to protect promote deeper root growth, retain moisture, and help crowd out weeds. Consider leaving grass clippings on your lawn as they act as nutrient rich mulch.
If you have an irrigation system, install water sensors to prevent the system from running on days when it is raining to protect from over-watering. Regularly check to see if the sprinkler heads are free from damage and clogging vegetation, pop up correctly and spray evenly.
Consider placing a rain barrel at a downspout to collect untreated water to use in your garden. Use mulch in your flowerbeds and around trees to retain moisture.
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