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Peterborough Public Health charges 3 businesses for failure to submit timely water samples

Peterborough Public Health has charged three businesses operating  small drinking water systems (SDWS) in Peterborough County for failing to submit water samples at the required frequency. AFP/Getty Images

Peterborough Public Health has charged three businesses operating small drinking water systems (SDWS) in Peterborough County for failing to submit water samples at the required frequency.

The names of the businesses have not been released pending a court conviction or if there is an immediate threat to public safety, the health unit stated Thursday.

The health unit says in Peterborough County there are 355 SDWS that are not part of a municipal drinking water system. An SDWS is considered a public facility where the water source is a private well. In the county that includes restaurants, motels, churches, resorts, seasonal trailer parks and other sites, the health unit notes.

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“Each of these SDWS is required to test their water to ensure that it is safe for the public,” the health unit stated. “Depending on the risk level of the SDWS, the operator is required to sample and test the water anywhere from once every two weeks to once every three months.”

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The health unit says if the operator exceeds the interval between samples, they are deemed non-compliant and may be charged. Water samples are submitted to accredited private labs for analysis.

“Charging operators is a last resort after all efforts to educate and support have been made,” the health unit said.

Chris Eaton, public health inspector, says regular testing of drinking water is a “critical step” in the safe operation of the system.

“By testing the water, it is confirmed that bacteria are not present in the well and/or that the treatment system did its job,” he said. “In addition to checking that water is sampled regularly, we check that the treatment system is appropriate for the water source, that it is properly maintained, records are kept, and operators are properly trained.”

The health unit says for more information about SDWS, visit its website and search for “small drinking water systems.”

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