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Water Quality

Municipal drinking 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, and to continually provide safe drinking water to residents, businesses and visitors, the City of Kawartha Lakes drinking water is sampled, tested and monitored according to applicable legislation.


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 DWS



Bobcaygeon DWS



Canadiana Shores DWS



Fenelon Falls DWS



Janetville DWS



Kings Bay DWS



Kinmount DWS



Lindsay DWS



Manilla DWS



Manorview DWS



Mariposa Estates DWS



Norland DWS



Omemee DWS



Pinewood DWS



Pleasant Point DWS



Sonya DWS



Southview Estates DWS



Victoria Place DWS



Western Trent Palmina DWS



Woodfield DWS



Woodville DWS



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 taste and odour

Temperature fluctuations, warmer weather etc., can mean taste and odour changes for water.

During the winter/spring when the weather is fluctuating between warm and cold and during summer months when the temperature is warmer, 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 the 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, 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. Running your cold water tap for a few moments can also improve the taste of your drinking water. (Tip: Worried about running extra water? Collect it and use it to water your plants.)

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. See below for additional information.

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

Brown/Yellow or rusty colour/Pink film in shower or tub

Disturbance of settled deposits made up of naturally occurring minerals (primarily manganese and iron), in water can cause discolouration which can range in colour from a light, straw-yellow colour to a darker brown. Rust and scale particulates 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 such as watermain flushing. This does not result in microbiological contamination and our water treatment process ensures that the water is still safe to drink, but is not pleasant looking and may even stain your laundry. Run your cold water tap for 10 minutes or until water clears. (Tip: Collect the water and use it on your garden or plants.) If the problem continues you can contact Customer Service.

If you notice discolouration when you turn on your hot water taps, you might need to drain the sediment from the bottom of your hot water tank. Place a container under the faucet of your hot water tank and drain it until it clears.

If you notice a pink film on the walls of your shower or tub, or pink ring on bathroom fixtures, this could be caused by an airborne bacteria called Serratia marcescens. It is often found in damp conditions where it may find its nutrients such as shampoos and soaps containing phosphorus. To remove, scrub surfaces, disinfect with a bleach solution, then rinse.

Grey or cloudy water

Cloudy tap water is not a health concerns and is caused by dissolved air that is released as fine bubbles that cause the water to look grey or cloudy. Hot water that is cloudy can usually be cleared by lowering the setting on your hot water tank. Water will clear shortly after being poured into a glass as the bubbles settle. Grey or cloudy water is safe to drink.

Musty odour /Sulphur smell

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.

Water that smells of sulphur is usually caused by a build-up of debris in your sink or tub drains. Cleaning your drains and inspecting your p-traps will help.

Mix one cup (250 ml) of baking soda, 1 cup (250 ml) of salt, and 1/4 cup (50ml) of cream of tartar or equal portions of baking soda and vinegar and pour down the drain. Let stand 15 minutes and then follow with very hot water. NEVER mix baking soda and vinegar with a commercial drain cleaner because it can react and create dangerous fumes.

Chlorine - Why Chlorinate?

Chlorine is added to the water to kill any harmful germs. Chlorine levels in drinking water are kept well within the regulated limits and are closely monitored 24 hours a day. 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.

Chlorine smell in the water is usually caused by the dissipation of the gas into the water or changes in temperature. Keep a covered jug of water in the fridge to reduce the taste of chlorine as the chlorine dissipates over time.

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.



There are two drinking water systems within The City of Kawartha Lakes that use chloramination as a treatment method to provide further disinfection throughout our water distribution system. The Bobcaygeon Drinking water system has been using the chloramination process since 2008 and Fenelon Falls has recently transitioned as of Fall of 2020. 

What are the benefits to this disinfection method?

Although there are many treatment processes that are safe and comply with regulations set out by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the addition of chloramines is beneficial in many ways. Along with enabling our municipality to comply with more stringent regulatory standards, the treatment method reduces the amount of chlorine-related disinfection by-products – including trihalomethanes (THMs) – some of which are considered to have health effects in large quantities over a prolonged period of time. Chloramine has also proven to be more ‘stable’ than chlorine, lasting longer in the distribution system and providing continuous disinfection to protect consumers.

Does the water taste different?

It is unlikely that consumers will notice a difference in taste. Some consumers from other utilities actually noted an improvement in taste and odour upon the switch from chlorine to chloramine. 

Are there other municipalities using chloramination?

In Canada, it is estimated that more than a hundred municipalities are using chloramination, including larger cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, and Hamilton.

Is chloraminated water safe?

Yes. Current studies indicate that using or drinking water with regulated amounts of chloramine does not cause harmful health effects and provides protection against waterborne disease outbreaks. Chloraminated water is safe for people and animals to: drink, cook with, bathe in, and for all other general uses.

Are there any special precautions for specific members of the public?

As with chlorine, there are two groups of consumers who need to take special precautions with chloraminated water:

1) Dialysis patients. Chloramines are harmful when they go directly into the bloodstream. They must be removed from the water used in dialysis treatments, and;
2) Fish/amphibian owners. Chloramines can damage fish gill tissue and enter the red blood cells causing a sudden and severe blood disorder. They must be removed from the water prior to any contact with fish.

How will chloramine affect household plumbing, pipes, and water heaters?

Rubber parts on some household plumbing and water heaters may degrade faster than previously experienced. When replacing rubber plumbing parts, ask for chloramine-resistant parts, which are readily available. Plumbing and hardware supply stores and plumbers will be able to provide further information.

Where can I get more information?

For more information on chloramination, please visit:


For health related information please contact:
Health Canada at 1 (613) 957-2991 or the local Health Unit (HKPR) at 1 (866) 888-4577


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

2023 01 04


20 mg/L*


2023 01 20


20 mg/L*

Canadiana Shores

2023 01 03


20 mg/L*

Fenelon Falls

2023 01 04


20 mg/L*


2023 01 03


20 mg/L*

King’s Bay

2020 01 06


20 mg/L*


2020 01 06


20 mg/L*


2022 07 05


20 mg/L*


2020 01 06


20 mg/L*


2020 01 07


20 mg/L*

Mariposa Estates

2020 01 06


20 mg/L*


2020 01 13


20 mg/L*


2020 01 06


20 mg/L*


2023 01 03


20 mg/L*

Pleasant Point

2023 01 03


20 mg/L*


2023 12 11


20 mg/L*


2023 01 06


20 mg/L*

Victoria Place

2023 01 17


20 mg/L*

Western Trent/Palmina

2023 12 11


20 mg/L*


2020 01 07


20 mg/L*


2023 01 06


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. If you are on a sodium restricted diet, and your drinking water exceeds the Maximum Acceptable Concentration of 20 mg/L (results for each drinking water system above), you may want to consult with your healthcare provider.


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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