The municipalities do a very good job of providing “safe drinking water” to their citizens, especially given the budget constraints they are subject to. In any given city, there are thousands of kilometres of water pipe infrastructure under the cities streets that are twinned by waste water pipes.
The infrastructures of most cities are many decades old. The materials of these pipes include clay, cement, plastic, lead and even wood in rare very old areas.
The water treatment facilities in municipalities filter out large debris, add alum which does alot of things including removing organic matter from the water. Then the cities add chlorine to kill any bacteria in the water and protect it from bacteria growth as it travels under your cities streets.
The cities measure the 91 substances that the Ministry of the Environment dictates to them but, for the most part, there is little or no treatment for these substances. As long as these substances do not exceed the maximum allowable amount dictated by the Ministry of the Environment, this water is deemed as “Safe”.
According to the London Free Press, elected municipal politicians will face heavy fines if the bacteria levels are not regulated to maintain “Safe Levels”. This is one of the results of the Walkerton fiasco.
“… the rules require politicians to ask the right questions — what are those they hired doing to ensure the water the people in their municipalities are drinking is safe? — or risk stiff penalties.”
(London Free Press; www.lfpress.ca article titled “Pof V: Safe water accountability belongs with politicians”)
Is this the whole story?
According to the Conference Board of Canada, the greatest risk to water quality is more than just bacteria.
” In southern Ontario, nitrogen and phosphorus released from agriculture, municipal sewage, and industrial waste water have hurt the water quality of the Great Lakes and other inland waters. In the Prairies, nutrient concentrations are naturally high in rivers, and intensive agriculture magnifies the problem.”
(www.conferenceboard.ca; Water Quality Index- The Conference Board of Canada)
There are many documented higher than allowable levels for various substances in municipal drinking water including lead. What if there is an industrial accident polluting the water supply? Given the restricted budgets for water treatment and everything else, would you want to be a municipal politician?