Though it may look clean, untreated water could contain microscopic contaminants that might be harmful or possibly even deadly if consumed.

Micro-organisms like viruses, bacteria and parasites can be impossible to see with the naked eye.  That’s why we treat every single drop of water in our system and continuously sample and test it to make sure there’s nothing harmful hiding in your taps.

Our drinking water system is rigorously inspected annually, and in January 2020 we’ve earned our 12th CONSECUTIVE 100% COMPLIANCE RATING from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.Conservation and Parks (MECP).

12 Consecutive Years of 100% MECP Compliance Inspections

Water Treatment System Overview

The Corporation of the City of Cornwall owns and operates the Cornwall Drinking Water System, a Large Municipal Residential system.

Our system is made up of the Raw Water Intake & Zebra Mussel Control Facilities located at the base of the R.H. Saunders Power Generating Station Dam; the Water Purification Plant, a class 3 water treatment facility, located at 861 Second St. West; the Boundary Road Reservoir; the Elevated Storage Tank located on Tollgate Rd.; and the City’s Class 3 Distribution System.

We take water from the St. Lawrence River and treat it according to standard surface water treatment methods before it’s distributed to your homes and businesses.

The Water Purification Plant uses chemically assisted coagulation and flocculation to remove particles suspended in the raw water.  The water is then filtered and treated with UV light and chlorine for disinfection.

Our system is rigorously inspected annually and in 2020 earned its TWELFTH consecutive 100% compliance rating from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Drinking Water

Drinking Water Quality Management

In accordance with the Ontario Drinking Water System Regulation (O.Reg. 170/03) under the Safe Drinking Water Act; we continue to deliver safe, high quality drinking water to the residents and businesses of our community. In order to ensure that we continue to do so the NSF accredited Cornwall Drinking Water Quality Management System (DWQMS) and policy has been created and implemented.

The DWQMS Policy states that the City of Cornwall is committed to:

  • Continually providing safe and clean drinking-water to City customers;
  • Legislative compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and related regulations;
  • Establishing, maintaining, and continually improving its Drinking Water Quality Management System;
  • Acting to resolve any issues relating to drinking-water quality; and
  • Reviewing and improving its drinking-water system infrastructure.

The quality of our drinking water is continuously monitored and tested by advanced on-line instrumentation, a state-of-the-art automated control system, and is operated and maintained by qualified City staff members who have successfully completed rigorous training and testing to become certified Drinking Water Operators.

Our customers can have complete confidence in the quality of the drinking water delivered to them through the City's Water Distribution System.

Drinking Water

Water Purification Plant & Distribution System

Cornwall's drinking water infrastructure consists of the Raw Water Intake & Zebra Mussel Control Facility located at the R.H. Saunders Power Generating Station Dam, the Water Purification Plant located at 861 Second Street West, the Boundary Road Reservoir, as well as the Elevated Storage Tank located on Tollgate Road.

Over 11 million cubic metres of fresh clean water are pumped annually through over 272 kilometres of watermains to efficiently distribute the City's abundant drinking water supply.

The water is treated according to standard water purification methods using chemical assisted coagulation for flocculation and sedimentation, water filtration, chlorine and Ultra-Violet light for disinfection. Our Drinking Water System undergoes rigorous inspections and consistently earns top ratings from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

For additional information on the Water Purification Plant you can contact the Plant Supervisor Owen O'keefe at telephone number 613-930-2787 ext. 2573.

For additional information on the Water Distribution System you can contact the Water Distribution & Wastewater Collection Supervisor Shawn O'Brien at 613-930-2787 ext. 2226.

Drinking Water

Drinking Water Quality Reports

As required by the Province of Ontario's Drinking Water Protection Regulations the City of Cornwall publishes its Drinking Water Quality Reports once a year.

These reports confirm that the City has continued to deliver safe, clean drinking water to its customers throughout the reported year. They contain detailed descriptions of the City's water sampling parameters and list all of the City's drinking water sampling & testing results.

The reports also contain short descriptions of the Water Purification and Distribution Systems, flow summaries and limits, and they also update readers on the status of the Drinking Water Quality Management System (DWQMS), and Residential Water Metering Programs.

 Drinking Water

Source Water Protection

Our source water comes from the St. Lawrence River, and to keep it as clean as possible a plan has been put into place through the Ontario Clean Water Act. In order to keep contaminants away from our water intake an Assessment Report and Source Water Protection Plan was developed by the Raisin-South Nation Source Protection Committee and implemented in 2015.

The Assessment Report identifies our Source Protection Area and the activities which could potentially pose a threat to either our water quality or quantity.  Our Source Protection Area includes two Intake Protection Zones, and these two zones are classified by their distance from our raw water intake, and the time it would take for contaminated water to travel to it.

In 2015, we also developed a Source Water Protection Implementation Guide to ensure that we have the tools we need to meet all of the obligations of the Clean Water Act.

Protecting our source water is one of the most important things we can do to keep our environment clean, and all who use the St. Lawrence River healthy.

Drinking Water Source Protection

Safe Drinking Water Act

We operate our Water Treatment and Distribution Systems under the laws and regulations created under Ontario’s Safe Drinking Water Act of 2002. 

The Act clearly recognizes that people are entitled to expect safe drinking water, and provides for the protection of human health from drinking water health hazards through controls, testing, and regulations.

Ontario's Safe Drinking Water Act

Water Conservation and Demand Management

A key pillar in our Strategic Plan is: “Being leaders in sustainability and climate change impact”. In the context of our water system, we’ve adopted “Blueprint” as an urban water awareness and action brand. Demand management and water conservation are key components to our Blueprint, and as part of this effort, we’ve implemented a volunteer residential water meter program. Although the “flat rate” water billing framework hasn’t changed, our administration is currently reviewing the policies, consumptions and financial aspects of water metering, as part of the Blueprint to our Demand Management approach.

To date, we’ve installed 1,897 water meters freeof-charge in single and multi-residential units. This provides residents with an opportunity to monitor and adapt to more water conserving habits.


phone icon Contact Us

Carl Goodwin
Division Manager, Environment
861 Second Street West, Box 877, Cornwall ON, K6H 5T9
Phone: 613-930-2787 ext. 2582
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