Drinking Water Legislation and Approval Process
Drinking water in BC is regulated under the Drinking Water Protection Act (Act) and the Drinking Water Protection Regulation (Regulation). Drinking Water Officers (DWOs) conduct inspections and work with water suppliers to meet the Act and Regulation. The primary goal is to work with suppliers so they can provide potable water that is safe to drink without further treatment.
The DWO is responsible for compliance with the Act and Regulation within an assigned geographic area. This is done through inspection, education, and where necessary, enforcement.
In the Act, a water supply system provides water for drinking, food preparation and other household purposes. A water supply system is a well or surface water intake that serves more than a single family home. Water supply systems can be two homes on a shared well or intake, or with shared distribution lines.
Suppliers are required to:
- Comply with the Act and Regulation
- Obtain a construction permit or construction permit wavier prior to constructing or modifying the water system
- Obtain an operating permit
- Operate the system according to the legislation and any terms and conditions on the permit
- Have a trained water system operator
- Have an emergency response and contingency plan
- Monitor the quality of the water
- Immediately notify the DWO of any threats to the drinking water
- Provide public notice of threats as required
- Make emergency response plans and annual reports public
- Conduct water source and system assessments
Water System Approval Process
All water systems other than a single family home require Island Health approval. Some examples include:
- Restaurants or other businesses where the public may access the water
- Community halls
- Mobile home parks
- Municipal systems
Information on the approval process can be found in the Water System Approval Process links. The steps to become approved include:
- Approval of the source, including bacteriological and chemical water quality
- Receipt of a construction permit or waiver issued by the Public Health Engineer prior to construction or modification of the system
- Construction of the system according to the construction permit or waiver.
- Providing an operator qualified to operate the system
- Providing an Emergency Response and Contingency Plan
- Providing a water quality monitoring plan
Depending on the system, there may be other requirements. Contact a DWO for more information.