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Implementation of Source Protection in the City of Barrie

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Proposed Fee Structure

The City of Barrie is working on preparing for the implementation of the Source Protection Plan to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act. Municipalities are already responsible for the delivery of municipal drinking water and land use planning and the proposed source protection process will build on this work. This plan introduces restriction on land uses and activities and provides municipalities with the authority to regulate activities that are significant drinking water threats on a site-specific basis, where such activities are located within intake protection zones or wellhead protection areas known as vulnerable areas (see map at the end of this post, or click here to view the entire document as a PDF).

An Assessment Report which is a series of technical studies that outline vulnerable areas on map and provide a total count of significant drinking water threats to the drinking water system has been completed for the City of Barrie. It describes the local watershed and assesses available water supply and provides the technical information needed to assist in developing the source protection plan.

Further information the Assessment Report and the proposed Source Protection Plan can be found on the Source Protection Region’s website at: http://www.ourwatershed.ca/

How will the City fund this new program?
The City is proposing that a new fee structure be added to the City’s 2013 Fees By-law for Source Protection and considering a minimum to average range for the following activities:

  • Establishing a Risk Management Plan required under Section 58 of the Clean Water Act - $400 - $700
  • Issuing a Notice to Proceed required under Section 59 of the Clean Water Act - $300 - $600
  • Reviewing a Risk Assessment as outlined under Section 60 of the of the Clean Water Act - $500 - $800
  • ‘Causing things to be done’ under Section 64 of the Clean Water Act – fee of staff hourly rate plus benefits (not exceeding full cost recovery) + additional fees as required
  • Proposed that an exemption from fees be applied for threats associated with Residential properties and any Risk Management Plan associated with the Application of Road Salt.
  • That these minimum fees be re-evaluated one year after the effective date of the Source Protection Plan.

What is a Risk Management Plan?
Section 58 of the Clean Water Act states the requirement for establishing a Risk Management Plan where an activity would be a significant threat. It is a site-specific document that outlines actions required to address identified significant drinking water threats, and should include and account for risk management measures that are already in place such as having spill containment for stored chemicals. The plan is negotiated with the person engaged in the activity; not necessarily the property owner and regulates how the threat is managed.

The City is proposing to streamline the process by preparing templates for each threat type and guidance documents for preparing Risk Management Plans to outline the level of information that will be required. Where possible, the process, time and cost to the development community will be minimized.

What is a Notice to Proceed?
Section 59 of the Clean Water Act requires a person to obtain a Notice from the Risk Management Official for an application under a provision of the Planning Act and to construct or change the use of a building at any location within the vulnerable area designated for the City of Barrie.

Policies under source protection may restrict or limit certain activities on properties located in designated wellhead protection areas and intake protection zones. These restricted land uses are used in conjunction with Section 57 prohibition or Section 58 RMPs. Policies will not prohibit a land use, but ensures that activities in the vulnerable area are assessed for their potential risk. This can be seen as a screening tool for municipalities when reviewing applications, and to prevent the unintentional approval of applications that would lead to the creation of significant threats.

What is a Risk Assessment?
Section 60 of the Clean Water Act provides an opportunity for an individual to apply for an exception from a Risk Management Plan or prohibition. The Risk Management Official has the authority to review and accept a Risk Assessment that concludes an activity, if engaged in that location, is not a significant threat.

This is only for threats that meet the circumstances that make an activity a significant threat. As the Assessment Report was a desk top exercise, the City will work to verify the potential threats identified.

Areas where the Province is contemplating allowing Risk Assessments include:

  • Groundwater vulnerability analysis – site specific conditions (e.g. soil types) that impact the vulnerability score for a site and cause the vulnerability to be scored less than significant.
  • Surface water vulnerability analysis – site specific information shows a different delineation including the drainage pattern (set-back), the high water mark, and the impact of transport pathway and cause the vulnerability to be scored less than significant.

The City will complete a technical review of the report and may need to seek the advice or peer review of a professional (e.g. geoscientist or hydrogeologist) to ensure the information provided in the Risk Assessment is valid. This peer review would be charged back to the proponent.

What is ‘Causing things to be done’?
Section 64 of the Clean Water Act details when the Risk Management Official may cause things to be done only if the person who is ordered to do a thing has refused to comply, is not likely to comply or requests the assistance of the Risk Management Official in complying with the order. An example would be to hire a company to complete an on-site sewage system inspection.

How will this change the processes at the City?
Internally departments are meeting to determine the most effective way to implement the program. A framework will be established and departments educated on where the Source Protection Policies will apply. Steps will be taken to provide a streamlined review process for the development community. If you have concerns with the location of a potential property, we recommend scheduling a pre-consultation meeting where any additional source protection considerations can be noted.

How will these processes apply?
The objectives of the source protection plan are to protect existing and future drinking water sources and to ensure that an activity never becomes a significant threat. Here is an example for both to help illustrate the process:

Existing uses – Property owners have been previously contacted by the Source Protection Authority if their property was identified in the Assessment Report as having the potential to be a significant threat. Now that the City is commencing implementation, we will contact these property owners to collect the necessary information to be able to verify if a significant threat is on site. If a threat is verified then the Source Protection Plan will be consulted. For example if a property is confirmed as a threat for the Application of Commercial Fertilizer, a Risk Management Plan will be required to detail the appropriate terms and conditions for application to reduce the risk to the drinking water.

Future uses – Change of use application is received where a commercial property would like to change from a convenience store to a dry cleaners close to a municipal drinking water source. This property will require a Notice to Proceed from the Risk Management Official. This notice will only be granted once it is satisfied that the property will not be using any of the five (5) listed dense non-aqueous phase liquid chemicals prohibited in this area for future use as it is considered a significant threat.

When will these new processes commence?
The Proposed Source Protection Plan was submitted to the Ministry of Environment in October of 2012. It is expected to be approved in 2014. The City needs to be ready for the approved plan and has already drafted an amendment to the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw.

Where can I get more information?
Further information on the City’s implementation plan for source protection; contact Sherry Diemert, Risk Management Official at (705) 739- 4220 x 5150.




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