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Drinking water

COVID-19 status

  • Ottawa’s tap water is safe. Our water purification plants effectively handle all viruses, including COVID-19, by chlorine disinfection and other physical and chemical processes. We are continuously analyzing and monitoring the water disinfection process.
  • To ensure the completion of lead sampling during the COVID-19 response, water quality testing for lead has resumed using a modified procedure to avoid the need for in-home visits. Your request will be added to a sampling queue and you will be contacted when sampling in your area is going to take place. All other in-home water quality testing services continue to be suspended until further notice. Requestors will be contacted to discuss their concerns. If a visit is required, the request will be held and the requestor will be contacted when in-home water quality testing services resume.

Water purification, quality and distribution

Every day, the City of Ottawa’s central water supply provides safe drinking water to approximately 950,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers. Using the Ottawa River as its source, drinking water is treated at two purification plants and subsequently distributed through more than 3,000 kilometres of water mains before arriving at your tap. In rural areas, the City operates six groundwater well systems.

More than 100,000 water quality tests are performed on drinking water samples annually, covering 350 parameters. The results demonstrate that City of Ottawa customers receive high-quality drinking water that meets all federal guidelines and provincial standards.

Ottawa’s municipal drinking water systems operate under a comprehensive quality management system, which is a provincially mandated requirement under Ontario’s Safe Water Drinking Act, 2002. The Standard for the Drinking Water Quality Management Standard (DWQMS) was established in 2007 to ensure proper oversight and management of the drinking water supply. The DWQMS is composed of 21 Elements that cover all aspects of drinking water supply including: plant operations, infrastructure, maintenance, risk assessment, water quality testing, staff training, documentation, and continual improvement. Collectively, these elements help to ensure the provision of safe drinking water to the public. The Operational Plan describes how Ottawa’s Drinking Water Quality Management System works. A copy of the Drinking Water Quality Management System Operational Plan is available upon request by contacting

The City prepares an annual report for each municipal drinking water system, in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

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Drinking water advisories and planned work

Drinking water quality annual reports and test results

The City prepares an annual report for each municipal drinking water system, in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. 

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Drinking water - Frequently asked questions

Answers to the most commonly asked questions about drinking water. If you have a question that is not addressed, please call 3-1-1. You can also review the City's current seasonal advisories and planned work.

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Drinking water resources for teachers and educators

The following are downloadable drinking water activity sheets for teachers and educators:

Interested in finding out more?

Invite the Water Services outreach team to provide a presentation about Ottawa’s tap water to your school or community group! All presentations are subject to audience size and outreach team availability.


Use this map to find City of Ottawa operated water fountains available to the public.