Source Water Protection Permit
A source water protection permit called a Section 59 Notice under the Clean Water Act (2006) identifies whether a proposed land development application or change in activity complies with local Source Water Protection Plan policies. Developers are required to obtain a permit from a York Region Risk Management Official before a municipality processes an application to develop land in areas where drinking water is vulnerable.
The permit notice or letter provided by the York Region Risk Management Official will identify if activities related to a development proposed under the Planning Act, Condominium Act or the Ontario Building Code are:
- prohibited under section 57 of the Clean Water Act
- require a risk management plan under section 58 of the Clean Water Act (and the plan has been agreed to or established)
- or do not require anything under Part IV of the Clean Water Act
In order to ensure that applications are not inadvertently approved without complying with Source Protection Plan policies, the city or town screens planning applications to determine if the proposed activities are subject to these provisions of the Clean Water Act.
Where is a Source Water Protection Permit Needed?
A Section 59 Notice may be required in the following vulnerable Wellhead Protection Areas (WHPA):
To determine if your application requires a Section 59 Notice, you will need to:
- Determine the need for a Section 59 Notice (Source Water Protection Permit)
- Contact the York Region Risk Management Office by calling 1-877-464-9675 ext.75139 or emailing [email protected]
When is a Source Water Protection Permit Needed?
Before submitting a planning or building permit application to your town or city, please consult with York Region source water protection staff. Obtaining a Section 59 Notice may be required with your application submission before the application can be deemed complete by the municipality. This permit applies to industrial, commercial, and institutional developments as well as multi-unit residential developments in Wellhead Protection Areas A, B and C.
What are the Possible Outcomes of the Application for a Permit?
If a prohibition or a risk management plan is not required, the permit will state that there are no concerns with the proposed development or expansion/alteration to an existing development. Should the proposal change, the permit will have to be reevaluated and amended as needed.
Prohibition of Activity:
The City or Town receiving proposals for a new development or expansion/alteration to an existing development will ensure that the proposed development is not prohibited use under the Source Protection Plan by requiring a permit (Section 59 Notice) as part of a complete application. If a proposed activity is prohibited by the Source Protection Plan, the proponent must not engage in that activity at any location within the wellhead protection area or intake protection zone.
Risk Management Plan Required and Agreed to:
Risk management plans are agreements to regulate how an activity that is a significant drinking water threat is managed on a specific property. The plan outlines the actions required to control how the activity will be carried out in order to reduce or remove the risk to the source of drinking water. The benefit of a risk management plan is that it allows certain activities that are significant drinking water threats to continue to occur on a specific area of land, provided that the relevant measures agreed upon in the risk management plan are followed.
What Are the Part IV Powers of the Clean Water Act?
The Clean Water Act introduced authority to municipalities to pass bylaws for water protection, treatment and storage. These are known as “Part IV Powers” and include the most restrictive tool available under the Act: prohibition of activities.
The tools also include risk management plans and restricted land use flags for activities that could be significant drinking water threats:
- Section 57: Prohibition. Prohibition is intended to ensure that certain activities never become established in areas where there would be significant drinking water threats. Prohibition is generally used for proposed activities that cannot be addressed through land use planning and is rarely used for existing threat activities.
- Section 58: Risk Management Plans. Risk management plans are intended to manage existing and future significant drinking water threats through measures such as best management practices. Risk management plans are intended to be negotiated between a Risk Management Official (RMO) and the person engaged in the activity, but can also be imposed by the RMO in the rare case where it may be necessary.
- Section 59: Restricted Land Use. This tool is used to flag specific land uses in a given area that may be associated with activities that are prohibited under section 57 of the Clean Water Act or that require a risk management plan under section 58 of the Clean Water Act. Prior to submitting a planning or building application in vulnerable areas (i.e. WHPA-A, B or C), contact the Risk Management Office or your area municipality to determine if you need a Section 59 Notice (Permit) as part of a complete application to your area municipality.
Examples of Activities Affected by Part IV Policies
Examples of activities that may be prohibited by policies in the Source Protection Plan, or require a Risk Management Plan if they are within WHPA-C:
- storage and handling of liquid fuel in amounts over 250 litres
- agriculture-related activities such as the storage/handling/application of fertilizers, pesticides and agricultural source material
- handling and storage of chemicals such as organic solvents and dense non-aqueous phase liquids (i.e.: dry cleaning and automotive degreasers)
- handling and storage of liquid waste from a business
- waste storage and disposal
For more information please call the Risk Management Office at York Region at 1-877-464-9675 or e-mail [email protected]