Every day, the City of Ottawa’s central water supply provides drinking water to approximately 865,000 residential and industrial customers. Using the Ottawa River as a source, drinking water is treated at two purification plants and subsequently distributed through a number of pumping stations, reservoirs, and elevated tanks.
The Britannia and Lemieux Island Water Purification Plants together produce approximately 275 million litres of drinking water each day. The treatment process makes use of the “multiple barrier” principle. A series of treatment steps remove undesirable substances such as colour, suspended particles, algae, bacteria, and viruses from the water. About 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.
In rural areas, the City operates five groundwater well systems. These communal groundwater systems use drilled wells to supply residents in the communities of Carp, Munster Hamlet, Richmond (Kings Park), Greely (Shadow Ridge) and Vars with drinking water. Well water is disinfected using chlorination at each treatment facility. The Vars Well System also uses greensand filtration and activated carbon to remove iron, manganese, and natural organic matter from the groundwater. Other rural residents typically get their water from private wells.
The City prepares an annual report for each municipal drinking water system, in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.