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Water Quality

Municipal water is treated and tested in accordance with the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks requirements. The City meets and surpasses these requirements and provides safe, reliable drinking water. Please visit our Licensing and Regulations page for more information about the Drinking Water Quality Management Standard.

Our water is safe to drink and the City does not add fluoride to the water supply. Licensed Operators make sure all water goes through a purification process before it reaches your home. The steps in this process are:

  1. screening water to remove debris
  2. chemical treatment
  3. filtration
  4. disinfection
  5. secondary disinfection once water moves into the distribution system

Sampling, Testing and Monitoring - Drinking Water

Sampling, testing and monitoring are required by legislation. To ensure the provision of safe drinking water throughout Kawartha Lakes drinking water systems, operators collect water samples at various points (raw, treated and distribution water),for thorough microbiological and chemical analyses.

To ensure compliance with applicable Ontario Drinking Water Regulations, the City of Kawartha Lakes drinking water is tested as follows:

Raw Water (untreated)

  • Microbiological sampling and testing - Weekly

Treated Water

  • Microbiological sampling and testing - Weekly
  • Chemical sampling and testing:
    • Sodium - Every 60 months (unless there has been an exceedance in which case sodium will be tested for more frequently)
    • Fluoride - Every 60 months
    • Inorganics - Annually
    • Organics - Annually

 Distribution Water

  • Microbiological sampling and testing - 28 samples per month
  • Chemical sampling and testing:
    • Chlorine residual - Daily
    • Trihalmomethanes (THM) and Haloacetic Acids (HAA): Quarterly (Please see below for additional information)
    • Lead - Kawartha Lakes is currently under a plumbing exemption for lead sampling. The precursors for lead (Alkalinity and pH) are sampled for and tested 1 time in the summer and 1 time in the winter
    • Distribution Lead Sampling must occur at least 1 time every 3 years in both the winter and summer periods

Hard water

Water hardness refers to the amount of calcium and magnesium in water. Hardness is expressed as mg/L calcium carbonate or in grains per gallon. One grain per US gallon equals 17.1 mg/L calcium carbonate.

Water hardness of Kawartha Lakes drinking water systems

Drinking Water System

Hardness (mg/L as CaCo3)

Grains Per Gallon (US)

Birch Point WTP



Bobcaygeon WTP



Canadiana Shores WTP



Fenelon Falls WTP



Janetville WTP



Kings Bay WTP



Kinmount WTP



Lindsay WTP



Manilla WTP



Manorview WTP



Mariposa Estates



Norland WTP



Omemee WTP



Pinewood WTP



Pleasant Point WTP



Sonya WTP



Southview Estates WTP



Victoria Place WTP



Western Trent WTP



Woodfield WTP



Woodville WTP



Water pressure

There are many issues that can cause low water pressure. Common causes include:

  • using a water softener with an open bypass
  • there has been a watermain break or other construction and repairs in your neighbourhood
  • a valve near your house has not been fully closed
  • the City is flushing watermains

If you experience a sudden loss of water pressure check the Public Notice section of our website or contact Customer Service.

Water colour and odour

Hot weather can mean taste and odour problems for water.

During the summer months, residents may experience a noticeable smell and musty tasting water. Taste and odour episodes are natural. They are caused by seasonal biological changes in source water, which produce odour-causing chemical compounds that can be detected by humans at very low levels. Most municipalities in Ontario that get their water supply from surface water sources experience this problem periodically in the summer. Tap water from municipal water supply systems remains safe to drink during these episodes.

Seasonal taste and odour in drinking water is not a threat to public health. We make every effort to reduce the impact of taste and odour episodes. Our water treatment plants are equipped with filtration systems designed to reduce the effects of taste and odour but may not eliminate it entirely. Taste and odour episodes will vary from one year to another. If you should notice a taste and odour in your water during the summer months, simple home remedies, such as keeping a jug of water in the fridge or adding ice cubes or lemon juice to tap water should improve it.

Chlorine is essential for public safety. We do our best to make sure it does not affect the taste and odour of our water. A small amount of the chemical is required to remain in the water throughout the distribution system to ensure that re-contamination does not occur once the water leaves the treatment plant. If you notice a chlorine taste or smell putting a jug of water in the fridge over night will eliminate any traces of chlorine.

You can learn more about chlorine and drinking water on the Health Canada website.

Yellow or rusty colour

Rust and scale products that are normally stuck to the inside of watermains can break away because of open fire hydrants or during repairs, construction or other maintenance work. The water is still safe to drink but may appear dirty or stain your laundry. Run your cold water tap for 10 minutes or until water clears to get rid of the colour. If the problem continues you can contact Customer Service

Grey or cloudy water

Very fine air bubbles cause water to look grey or cloudy. Water will clear shortly after being poured into a glass as the bubbles settle. Grey or cloudy water is safe to drink.

Musty odour

Naturally occurring algae and higher water temperatures can give water a musty taste and odour during the summer. This can be unpleasant but the water is still safe to drink.

Chlorine - Why Chlorinate?

Chlorine is an effective way to reduce bacteria, viruses and parasites from drinking water. Chlorine also helps to reduce bacterial regrowth, biofilm and re-contamination of water as it travels from the water treatment plant and through the distribution system to your home. The majority of drinking water treatment plants in Canada use some form of chlorine to disinfect drinking water and when used properly, chlorine is a safe, effective way to disinfect drinking water. When used with modern water filtration methods, chlorine is effective against virtually all microorganisms. Chlorine is easy to apply and only small amounts of the chemical (residual) remain in the water as it travels in the distribution system (watermains and pipes) to the consumer's tap; this residual ensures that microorganisms cannot re-contaminate the water after it leaves the treatment plant. Chlorine has been used for over a century to safely disinfect water and the success of chlorine use in Canada today can be measured by the dramatic reduction and virtual elimination of waterborne diseases such as: Typhoid fever, Cholera and dysentery. The benefits of the use of chlorine far outweigh the perceived health risks and chlorine remains the disinfection choice of water treatment experts today.

DBPs - Disinfection By-Products

Disinfection by-products are chemicals that can be formed when chlorine is used for disinfecting drinking water to prevent disease. One of the most common types of DBP found in chlorinated water is Trihalomethane (THMs). THMs are formed when chlorine or other disinfectants used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water react with naturally occurring organic matter (vegetation, animal waste, leaves etc.) in source water. For this reason, surface water (water from lakes, rivers, streams etc.), has higher THM levels than ground water. THM levels are also higher in warmer weather when plants and animals are active. While Trihalomethanes can be harmful to human health in large amounts over extended periods of time, the MAC (Maximum Acceptable Concentration) is set far below the aesthetic limit and sample results are carefully monitored to address THM levels.

According to the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines and the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards, the maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) for THMs is a running annual average (of a minimum of four samples), of 100 ug/L (micrograms per litre) or milligrams per litre. The health risk at this level over a lifetime is considered extremely low. Water that meets the total THMs guideline is considered safe for all domestic uses, including drinking, bathing, showering and food preparation.

Drinking water in Kawartha Lakes is diligently treated, sampled and monitored by the operators, the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks as well as the local Health Unit to ensure it meets water quality standards.

THM levels for all twenty-one drinking water systems in Kawartha Lakes are documented in the annual reports available on our Water and Wastewater Services page.

Sodium in Drinking Water


Legislation dictates that owners of residential drinking water systems sample treated water for Sodium once every 60 months (5 years) unless there is an exceedance. In the event of an increase in sodium, sampling requirements may change based on instruction from the local Health Unit. The below table lists the most current sodium sampling results for Kawartha Lakes drinking water systems.


21 Drinking Water Systems

Sample Date


Sample Result

(mg/L Treated Water)

*MAC (Maximum Acceptable Concentration)

Birch Point Estates

2019 01 15


20 mg/L*


2018 01 08


20 mg/L*

Canadiana Shores

2018 01 08


20 mg/L*

Fenelon Falls

2018 01 15


20 mg/L*


2018 01 02


20 mg/L*

King’s Bay

2020 01 06


20 mg/L*


2015 01 15


20 mg/L*


2016 07 11


20 mg/L*


2015 02 10


20 mg/L*


2020 01 07


20 mg/L*

Mariposa Estates

2020 01 13


20 mg/L*


2015 01 14


20 mg/L*


2020 01 07


20 mg/L*


2018 01 02


20 mg/L*

Pleasant Point

2018 01 02


20 mg/L*


2018 12 07


20 mg/L*


2018 01 15


20 mg/L*

Victoria Place

2019 01 07


20 mg/L*

Western Trent/Palmina

2018 12 07


20 mg/L*


2020 01 07


20 mg/L*


2018 01 15


20 mg/L*

* The aesthetic objective (when sodium can be tasted in the water) is 200 mg/L. The MAC (Maximum Acceptable Concentration) is set far lower at 20 mg/L to ensure that any increase in Sodium is monitored while amounts are low. The local Medical Officer of Health should be notified when the Sodium concentration exceeds 20 mg/L so that this information may be communicated to local physicians who may have patients on sodium-restricted diets.


We are mandated by the Safe Drinking Water Act (O.Reg.170/03) to conduct lead sampling on our water systems. pH and Alkalinity samples are collected twice per year, once in the summer and once in the winter. We complete distribution system lead sampling once every three years. All samples are analyzed by an accredited laboratory and results are sent to the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks.

Water Conservation

Reducing the amount of water you use saves money and energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The City practices water conservation so we can:

  • use less water and energy
  • lower long-term infrastructure costs
  • improve water sustainability
  • protect the environment

Improved water management could become one of the most cost-effective energy reduction strategies for Ontario municipalities.

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