Protection refers to proactive/preventative measures and emergency response. Proactive/preventive measures reduce the risk to consumers and reduce the liability to the waterworks system owner. This response anticipates events or situations that may compromise the safety of drinking water. Emergency response involves plans and actions to deal with incidents that arise from unforeseen incidents such as equipment failure or extreme weather events.

Proactive/Preventative Measures

Examples of proactive/preventative measures include:

Emergency Response

When a bacteriological sample indicates the presence of coliform bacteria, corrective action including additional monitoring is required. This direction is outlined in Section 6 of the Communication and Action Protocol for Failed Bacteriological Results. Re-samples taken under these provisions must be identified on the Provincial Public Health Laboratory's Request for Microbiological Analysis of Water (requisition) form as RESAMPLE's. The original requisition form ID number and the Alberta Environment and Parks Reference (Call ID) number must be noted on the requisition using a neon yellow label. The label should be Neon Yellow, 2 5/8" x 1", 30 per page (3 columns of 10 rows). Download the template for printing these labels.

Source Water Protection

Source protection is used to control or minimize the potential for introduction of chemicals or contaminants in source waters, including water used as a source of drinking water. Since both surface and groundwater may be a potential source of drinking water, source protection relates the protection of all water resources. Drinking water source protection is the equivalent of a watershed management plan that focuses on water quality. Watershed management planning is the first barrier in the multi-barrier/source-to-tap approach.

Source protection requirements exist in a number of acts and regulations that are administered by various levels of governments and departments. Some examples include:

  • Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act - municipal and industrial point-source discharges, pesticide use
  • Alberta Safety Code for private sewage systems
  • Water Act - water well drillers regulation
  • Public Health Act - nuisance and sanitation regulation
  • Various regulations that require setbacks from water bodies for various activities or structures that could adversely affect water quality

Source protection is achieved through watershed management planning and the combined efforts and commitment of a wide range of participants including, but not limited to, federal, provincial and municipal governments, watershed groups, stakeholders, and the public. The waterworks utility needs to be an active participant in this process as a stakeholder.