National Assessment of First Nations Water and Wastewater Systems - British Columbia Regional Roll-Up Report
Prepared By: Neegan Burnside Ltd.
Prepared for: Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Date: January 2011
File No: FGY163080.4
PDF Version (3.3 Mb, 127 Pages)
Statement of Qualifications and Limitations for Regional Roll-Up Reports
This regional roll-up report has been prepared by Neegan Burnside Ltd. and a team of subconsultants (Consultant) for the benefit of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (Client). Regional summary reports have been prepared for the 8 regions, to facilitate planning and budgeting on both a regional and national level to address water and wastewater system deficiencies and needs.
The material contained in this Regional Roll-Up report is:
- preliminary in nature, to allow for high level budgetary and risk planning to be completed by the Client on a national level.
- based on a compilation of the data and findings from the individual community reports prepared and issued for a specific region.
- not proposing to identify the preferred solution to address deficiencies for each community. Rather this report will identify possible solution(s) and probable preliminary costs associated with solution(s) presented in greater detail in the community reports. Community specific studies including more detailed evaluation will be required to identify both preferred solutions and final costs.
- based on existing conditions observed by, or reported to the Consultant. This assessment does not wholly eliminate uncertainty regarding the potential for costs, hazards or losses in connection with a facility. Conditions existing but not recorded were not apparent given the level of study undertaken.
- to be read in the context of its entirety.
- not to be used for any purpose other than that agreed to with the Client. Any use which a third party makes of this report, or any reliance on or decisions to be made based on it, are the responsibility of such third parties. Any other user specifically denies any right to claims against the Consultant, Sub-Consultants, their Officers, Agents and Employees.
Risk as it pertains to health and safety issues and building code compliance is based upon hazards readily identifiable during a simple walk through of the water and wastewater facilities, and does not constitute a comprehensive assessment with regard to health and safety regulations and or building code regulations.
The Consultant accepts no responsibility for any decisions made or actions taken as a result of this report.
- 1.0 Introduction
- 2.0 Regional Overview
- 3.0 Preliminary Results and Trends
- 4.0 Cost Analysis
- 5.0 Regional Summary
The Government of Canada is committed to providing safe, clean drinking water in all First Nations communities, and to ensuring that wastewater services in all First Nations communities meet acceptable effluent quality standards. As part of this commitment, the Government announced the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan (FNWWAP). The plan funds the construction and renovation of water and wastewater facilities, operator training, and public health activities related to water and wastewater on reserves. It also provided for a national, independent assessment – The National Assessment of First Nations Water and Wastewater Systems – which will inform the Government's future, long-term investment strategy. This assessment was also recommended by the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples.
The purpose of the National Assessment is to define the current deficiencies and the operational needs of water and wastewater systems, identify the long-term water and wastewater needs of each community and recommend sustainable, long-term infrastructure development strategies.
The objectives of the National Assessment are to:
- Identify which upgrades will be required for existing public systems to meet INAC's Level of Service Standards; INAC's Protocol for Safe Drinking Water in First Nations Communities; INAC's Protocol for Wastewater Treatment and Disposal in First Nations Communities; and applicable provincial regulations, codes, and standards
- Complete the Annual Inspection, Risk Assessment and Asset Condition Reporting Systems (ACRS) assessment for water and wastewater assets
- Conduct an overall community serviceability assessment of private, on-site communal and/or central systems
- Prepare Class "D" cost estimates for each of the communities visited. Class "D" estimates are preliminary, and are based on available site information. They indicate the approximate magnitude of the cost of the recommended actions, and they may be used to develop long-term capital plans. In addition, these estimates may be used in preliminary discussions of proposed capital projects.
This assessment involved collecting background data and information about each community, undertaking a site visit, and preparing individual community reports for each participating First Nation. Neegan Burnside Ltd. and its sub-consultants conducted an assessment for each of the eight regions. This report summarizes the findings for the British Columbia region.
1.1 Site Visits
Site visits in the British Columbia Region were undertaken by personnel from sub-consultants, Urban Systems, Kerr Wood Leidal Associates and NovaTec. These site visits were undertaken during September, October and December of 2009 and during May, June, July and August of 2010. In addition to the consultant staff, additional participants including the Circuit Rider Trainer (CRT), INAC Representative, Environmental Health Officer (EHO) from Health Canada and Tribal Council Representative were invited to attend the site visits. The additional participants that were able to attend are identified in each community report.
After confirming the various components that the First Nation uses to provide water and wastewater services to the community (i.e. number and types of systems, piping, individual systems, etc.) along with population and future servicing needs (planned development and population growth), an assessment was carried out of the water and wastewater systems, as well as 5% of the individual systems. The assessments were carried out over one day at each community system.
Individual Community Reports have been prepared for each First Nation. In cases where the First Nation consisted of more than one community located in geographically distinct areas, a separate report was prepared for each community. In the British Columbia region, there was participation from 188 of the 198 First Nations, which resulted in the preparation of 223 individual community reports addressing the systems in 188 First Nations. A report was not submitted for seven of the First Nations, which did not have any members living on-site and had no assets, and three of the First Nations, who chose not to participate. Figure 1.1 indicates the location of each First Nation visited as a part of this study.
The reports include an assessment of existing communal systems and existing individual systems, identification of needs to meet departmental, federal and provincial protocols and guidelines, and an assessment of existing servicing of the community along with projections of population and flows for future servicing for the next 10 year period. Costing for the recommendations to meet departmental protocol, federal and provincial guidelines, and an evaluation of servicing alternatives along with life cycle costing for each feasible alternative are also included in each community report.
An annual water inspection, risk evaluation and Asset Condition Reporting System (ACRS) inspection was completed for each system and are included in the Appendices of each report.
Figure 1.1 - British Columbia First Nations Visited
2.0 Regional Overview
A total of 188 First Nations were visited in British Columbia Region. There are 290 water systems (218 First Nation and 72 MTA) and 153 wastewater systems (94 First Nations and 59 MTA). First Nation water and wastewater systems, describes the situation where the systems are INAC funded assets and serve five or more residences or community buildings. A MTA (Municipal Type Agreement or Arrangement) describes the situation where First Nations are supplied with treated water from or send their wastewater to a nearby municipality or neighbouring First Nation or corporate entity as outlined in a formal agreement between the two parties. There are five cases where the First Nation supplies the local municipality with domestic water or treats their wastewater.
The First Nation community populations ranged from 13 to 9,400 people and household sizes ranged from 1.1 to 7.5 people per unit (ppu). The total number of homes was 21,505 and the average household size in the British Columbia region was 3.3 ppu.
2.1 Water Servicing
There are a total of 290 water systems, including:
- 72 systems that receive their water supply through a Municipal Type Agreement (MTA)
- 155 groundwater systems
- 15 GUDI (groundwater under the direct influence of surface water) systems
- 48 surface water systems.
For water distribution, the 290 systems include:
- 25 distribution systems that are maintained through a Municipal Type Agreement (MTA)
- 265 distribution systems that are maintained by the First Nation.
The following is a summary of the level of service being provided to the homes within the British Columbia Region
- 96% of the homes (20,585) are piped
- <1% of the homes (14) are on truck delivery
- 4% of the homes (898) are serviced by individual wells
- <1% of the homes (8) are reported to have no water service.
The following table provides an overview of the water systems by system classification, source type, treatment type and storage type.
In general, the treatment system classification reflects the complexity of the treatment process and the distribution classification reflects the size (population) of the community being serviced. Treatment systems labeled as "Small System", typically represent systems with either disinfection only or no treatment. The label "None" indicates the system has not been classified. The classification used for the British Columbia region follows the regulations for British Columbia.
|System Classification||No.||% of Total|
|Source Type||No.||% of Total|
|Storage||No.||% of Total|
|Treatment Type||No.||% of Total|
|None - Direct Use||115||40%|
2.2 Wastewater Servicing
There are a total of 153 wastewater systems serving 117 First Nations. The remaining 71 First Nations are serviced by individual wastewater systems.
For wastewater treatment, the 153 systems include:
- 59 wastewater systems are provided treatment through a Municipal Type Agreement (MTA)
- 94 First Nation wastewater treatment systems consisting of 31 systems using facultative or aerated lagoons, 11 systems using a mechanical plant, 42 systems using communal septic systems, 8 systems with other treatment, and 2 systems with no treatment.
For wastewater collection, the 153 systems include:
- 20 wastewater collection systems that are maintained through a Municipal Type Agreement (MTA)
- 133 wastewater collection systems that are maintained by the First Nation.
The following is a summary of the level of service being provided to the homes within the British Columbia Region
- 68% of the homes (14,590) are piped
- <1% of the homes (96) are on truck haul
- 32% of the homes (6,809) are serviced by individual systems
- <1% of the homes (10) homes reported to have no service.
The homes without service (10) are distributed across four First Nations.
The following table provides an overview of the wastewater systems by system classification and treatment type.
Table 2.2 - Wastewater Overview
|System Classification||No.||% of Total|
|Treatment Type||No.||% of Total|
The systems identified as having none for a treatment type describe situations where there was no treatment prior to a marine discharge. Other refers to systems such as solids removal in septic tanks followed by direct discharge, rapid infiltration basin etc.
3.0 Preliminary Results and Trends
3.1 Per Capita Consumption and Plant Capacity
Historical flow records were available for approximately 175 First Nations. For systems with no available flow data, an average per capita demand of 325 L/c/d for piped and 90 L/c/d for trucked was used. The average daily per capita demand of the actual flow records was 460 L/c/d. The median per capita demand was 325 L/c/d. The minimum average daily per capita demand was 52 L/c/d and six communities reported in excess of 1,000 L/c/d.
For the 290 water systems, 286 were piped only and the remaining 4 systems had a combination of trucked and piped. The four systems that included trucked service had average daily per capita demands ranging from 285 to 325 L/c/d.
|No. of systems 2009|
|Less than 250 L/c/d||26|
|250 L/c/d to 375 L/c/d||213|
|Greater than 375 L/c/d||51|
Historical flow data for wastewater was not available for most of the sewage systems. Therefore, to evaluate the ability of the existing infrastructure to meet the current and projected needs, an average daily flow has been calculated based on the actual or assumed per capita water consumption plus an infiltration allowance of 90 L/c/d for piped flow.
The following figure provides a summary of the plant capacities in the 188 participating First Nations:
- over capacity – the existing system was unable to meet the current needs
- at capacity – the existing system was able to meet the current needs
- available capacity – the existing system had sufficient capacity to meet more than the current needs
- not enough data – insufficient data was available to determine the actual system capacity.
Figure 3.1 - Water and Wastewater Treatment Capacities
Based on the data collected, 14 water systems and 5 wastewater systems are operating at or beyond their estimated capacities. The per capita demand for four of the water systems at or over capacity was in excess of 450 L/c/d.
3.2 Distribution and Collection
The household size ranged from 1.1 to 7.5 people per unit (ppu) with an average of 3.3 ppu. The total number of piped connections in the region has been determined to be 20,585 for water and 14,591 for wastewater. The total average length of watermain per connection is 60 m. The average length of sewer main per connection is 33 m.
As shown in the table and figures below, there is no real correlation between the size of the community and the length of pipe per connection. The length of watermain per connection is greater than the length of sanitary main per connection. This is likely resulting from communities that provide piped water service only and as such the homes are further apart to allow for the installation of private sewage systems. The data provided for watermain, in some cases, includes dedicated transmission main lengths (no service connections) and non-distribution mains (i.e. intake pipes, raw water pipes), which results in an inflated average, particularly for smaller communities where this additional pipe length is spread over a smaller number of connections. The tables and figures below include only those communities where suitable data was available.
The table below indicates the number of water and wastewater systems that have pipe lengths above and below 30 m/connection. It should be noted that this information was not available for all of the systems.
|No. of systems with pipe lengths above 30 m/connection||215||72|
|No. of systems with pipe lengths below 30 m/connection||49||57|
Figure 3.2 - Water Distribution - Average Pipe Length per Connection
Figure 3.3 - Wastewater Collection - Average Pipe Length per Connection
3.3 Water Risk Evaluation
A risk assessment has been completed for each water system according to the INAC Risk Level Evaluation Guidelines. Each facility is ranked in risk according to the following categories: Water Source, Design, Operation (and Maintenance), Reporting and Operators. The overall risk score is a weighted average of the component risk scores.
Each of the five risk categories, as well as the overall risk level of the entire system is ranked numerically from 1 to 10. Low, medium and high risks are defined as follows:
- Low Risk (1.0 to 4.0): These are systems that operate with minor deficiencies. Low-risk systems usually meet the water quality parameters that are specified by the appropriate Canadian Guidelines for drinking water (in particular, the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ).
- Medium Risk (4.1 to 7.0): These are systems with deficiencies, which— individually or combined—pose a medium risk to water quality and to human health. These systems do not generally require immediate action, but the deficiencies should be corrected to avoid future problems.
- High Risk (7.1 to 10.0): These are systems with major deficiencies, which— individually or combined— pose a high risk to the quality of water. These deficiencies may lead to potential health and safety or environmental concerns. They could also result in water quality advisories against drinking the water (such as, but not limited to, boil water advisories), repetitive non-compliance with guidelines, and inadequate water supplies. Once systems are classified under this category, regions and First Nations must take immediate corrective action to minimize or eliminate deficiencies.
Regional Risk Summary:
Of the 290 water systems inspected:
- 154 are categorized as high overall risk
- 52 are categorized as medium overall risk
- 84 are categorized as low overall risk.
Appendix E.1 provides a table that summarizes the correlation between component risk and overall risk.
Figure 3.4 provides a geographical representation of the final risk for the water systems that were inspected.
Figure 3.4 - British Columbia Water System Risk
3.3.1 Overall System Risk by Source
The following table summarizes the overall system risk by water source. 78% of groundwater systems, 67% of the GUDI systems, 38% of surface water systems and 7% of the Municipal Type Agreement (MTA) systems are classified as high overall risk. Typically, it is assumed that MTA systems will have a low risk, as it is assumed the municipality is operating their system in accordance with provincial legislation. For the British Columbia region, however, some of MTA water supplies did not meet the GCDWQ, which resulted in a higher risk score.
|Overall Risk Level||Groundwater||GUDI||Surface Water||MTA||Total|
3.3.2 Overall System Risk by Treatment Classification
The following table summarizes the overall system risk by classification level of the treatment system. The simpler the plant classification the more likely it is that the system will have a high overall risk. This may be because sufficient resources have not been allocated to these systems.
|Overall Risk Level||None||Small System||Level I||Level II||Level III||Level IV||MTA||Total|
Figure 3.5 - Risk Profile Based on Water Treatment System Classification
3.3.3 Overall Risk by Number of Connections
For the British Columbia region, systems serving more than 100 connections are evenly split between low, medium and high overall risk. For systems serving less than 100 connections, over 50% of the systems are high risk and the remaining systems are fairly evenly split between low and medium overall risk.
3.3.4 Component Risks: Water
The overall risk is comprised of five component risks: water source, design, operation, reporting and operator. Each of these component risk factors is discussed below.
Figure 3.6 - Water: Risk Profile Based on Risk Components (with MTA's excluded)
3.3.5 Component Risk - Water: Source
Source Risk has a mean score of 5.6 or 6.8 if MTA's are excluded. The mean source risk score by type of source is:
- Groundwater at 6.0
- groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GUDI) at 8.5
- surface water at 8.9
- Municipal Type Agreement (MTA) at 1.9.
Based upon the data collected, systems which rely on GUDI or surface water typically have a higher component risk score than systems that rely on groundwater. The INAC risk formula automatically assigns a higher base risk to these types of systems.
The following figure identifies drivers contributing to source risk scores.
Figure 3.7 - Source Risk Drivers
3.3.6 Component Risk - Water: Design
Design Risk has a mean score of 5.5 overall, or 6.4 if MTA's are excluded. The mean design risk score by type of source is:
- groundwater at 6.9
- groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GUDI) at 6.9
- surface water at 4.4
- Municipal Type Agreement (MTA) at 2.8.
The higher design risk associated with groundwater and GUDI systems is generally attributed to a lack of adequate treatment to ensure that health limits, aesthetic limits and operational guidelines were being met. As part of the multi-barrier approach to water treatment, disinfection is now required for all water systems, and chemically assisted filtration and disinfection is required for GUDI and surface water sources.
Similarly, failure to meet Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality and exceeding the Maximum Acceptable Concentration of bacteria are also frequent drivers of elevated design risk scores.
The frequency that the following drivers are having a significant contribution to the design risk score for water systems in the region is presented in the figure below:
- failure to meet the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ)
- exceeding the GCDWQ Maximum Acceptable Concentration (MAC) for bacteria
- no disinfection system in place or a disinfection system that is not being used
- appropriate treatment not in place to meet Protocol requirements
- problems with system reliability
- systems approaching or exceeding design capacity
- systems not having appropriate waste management.
Figure 3.8 - Design Risk Drivers
It should be noted that the design risk drivers shown in red result in the entire water system being given a high risk score regardless of all of the other component risk scores.
3.3.7 Component Risk - Water: Operation
Operation Risk has a mean score of 6.4 or 6.7 if MTA's are excluded. The mean operation risk score by type of source is:
- groundwater at 7.2
- groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GUDI) at 6.7
- surface water at 5.2
- Municipal Type Agreement (MTA) at 5.4.
Areas that increased risk included not maintaining records, not having or not using approved Operations & Maintenance manuals, not having an Emergency Response Plan, and not scheduling and performing maintenance activities. Increased effort focused on these areas would result in lowering both the component and overall risk scores.
The following drivers are identified as significantly contributing to operation risk scores for water systems in the region:
- failure to meet the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ)
- exceeding the GCDWQ Maximum Acceptable Concentration (MAC) for bacteria
- maintenance logs being inadequately maintained
- lack of general system maintenance
- Emergency Response Plan not in place
- Operations & Maintenance manual not available or not in use.
Figure 3.9 - Operations Risk Drivers
In addition, a failure to meet the Maximum Acceptable Concentration of bacteria, attributed to operations is a significant driver of risk, as this parameter automatically results in a high overall risk score for the system.
Figure 3.10 - Summary of Findings - Water Systems Operational Practices
One or more major components are not working for approximately 20% of the systems. Although the operators for approximately 85% of systems practice line and hydrant flushing, most do not regularly swab watermains. Approximately 35% do not clean reservoirs and few test fire pumps. Records of system maintenance and repairs were available for only 63% of the systems.
3.3.8 Component Risk - Water: Reporting
Reporting Risk has a mean score of 6.4 overall or 6.7 if MTA's are excluded. The mean reporting risk score by type of source is:
- groundwater at 7.3
- groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GUDI) at 5.9
- surface water at 5.0
- Municipal Type Agreement (MTA) at 5.6.
Inconsistent record keeping and reporting is the main driver for reporting risk for all systems (65%), while poor records for key parameters affected 36% of the systems.
Figure 3.11 - Reporting Risk Drivers
3.3.9 Component Risk - Water: Operator
Operator Risk has a mean score of 2.6 overall or 2.8 if MTA's are excluded. Operator Risk had the lowest overall component risk score for all types of systems.
Although more complicated systems, based on treatment classification, require an operator with a higher level of training, Operator Risk was highest for groundwater systems. This was likely due to the operators not being trained or certified to any level. The mean operator risk score by type of source is:
- groundwater at 3.2
- groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GUDI) at 2.9
- surface water at 2.1
- Municipal Type Agreement (MTA) at 2.0.
The extent to which existing systems have fully certified primary and backup operators is presented inTable 3.5. Of the 160 systems that require a certified operator for the water treatment system, 49% did not have a fully certified primary operator and 80% did not have a fully certified backup operator. Of the 261 systems that require a certified operator for the distribution system, 37% did not have a fully certified primary operator and 76% did not have a fully certified backup operator.
|Primary Operator||Backup Operator|
|No. of Systems Currently Without an Operator||4||12||45||81|
|No. of Systems with Operator with No Certification||50||70||67||102|
|No. of Systems with Operator Certified but not to the Required Level of the System||25||15||16||15|
|No. of Systems with Operator with Adequate Certification||81||164||32||63|
|No. of Systems Not Requiring Operators with Certification||130||29||130||29|
|Total No. of Systems||290||290||290||290|
Those factors which frequently contribute to increased operator risk are identified in Figure 3.12. A lack of certification, lack of training and the lack of primary or backup operator are common drivers that increase operator risk.
Figure 3.12 - Operator Risk Drivers
3.4 Wastewater Risk Evaluation
A risk assessment was completed for each wastewater system according to INAC's Risk Level Evaluation Guidelines. The risk of each wastewater facility is ranked according to the following categories: effluent receiver, design, operation and maintenance, reporting, and operators. The overall risk score is a weighted average of the component risk scores.
Each of the five risk categories, as well as the overall risk level of the entire system is ranked numerically from 1 to 10. A risk ranking of 1.0 to 4.0 represents low risk, a risk ranking of 4.1 to 7.0 represents a medium risk and a risk of 7.1 to 10.0 represents a high risk.
Of the 153 wastewater systems inspected:
- 8 are categorized as high overall risk
- 69 are categorized as medium overall risk
- 76 systems are categorized as low risk.
A table summarizing the correlation between component risk and overall risk is included in Appendix E.2.
Figure 3.13 provides a geographical representation of the final risk for the wastewater systems that were inspected.
Figure 3.13 - British Columbia Wastewater System Risk
3.4.1 Overall System Risk by Treatment Classification
The following table demonstrates the correlation between the overall system risk and the classification level of the treatment system. For Municipal Type Agreement systems, it was assumed that the municipality is operating their system in accordance with provincial legislation and therefore results in a low risk effluent receiver. For the British Columbia region, it appears that the MTA systems are the most likely to be low risk. Although treatment complexity increases from Small System to Level III, this did not appear to be a driver for overall system risk. Level II plants are the most likely to be high risk, although a significant portion of the simpler systems are more likely to be medium or high risk when compared to the Level II plants.
Figure 3.14 - Risk Profile based on Wastewater Treatment System Classification
3.4.2 Overall System Risk by Number of Connections
For the British Columbia region, all of the high risk wastewater systems serve less than 100 connections. The systems serving 100 or more connections are spread evenly between low and medium risk. The systems serving less than 100 connections are generally more likely to be low risk.
3.4.3 Component Risks: Wastewater
The overall risk is comprised of five component risks: effluent receiver, design, operation, reporting and operators. Each of these component risk factors is discussed below.
Figure 3.15 - Wastewater: Risk Profile Based on Risk Components (with MTA's excluded)
3.4.4 Component Risk - Wastewater: Effluent Receiver
The risk associated with the effluent receiver has a mean risk score of 4.2, or 4.9 if MTA's are excluded. The mean effluent receiver risk score by treatment type is:
- Septic Systems at 3.6
- Facultative Lagoon at 4.7
- Aerated Lagoons at 7.3
- Mechanical Treatment at 7.0
- Other at 3.8
- Municipal Type Agreement (MTA) at 3.1.
The data indicates that the aerated lagoon and mechanical treatment facilities possess higher effluent receiver risk. There are two key drivers to this risk score. They are the receiving environment and the extent to which the receiver is required to support other human uses such as fishing, recreational use or as a drinking water source.
Figure 3.16 - Effluent Risk Drivers
3.4.5 Component Risk - Wastewater: Design
Design Risk has a mean score of 3.1, or 3.8 if MTA's are excluded. Design risk has the lowest mean component risk score. The mean design risk score by treatment type is:
- Septic Systems at 4.2
- Facultative Lagoon at 2.6
- Aerated Lagoons at 2.7
- Mechanical Treatment at 4.6
- Other at 4.5
- Municipal Type Agreement (MTA) at 2.0.
There are several key drivers of the design risk component score in the region, including:
- problems with system reliability
- system lacks the flexibility to meet future growth
- system has exceeded the design capacity
- inappropriate treatment process
- inappropriate waste management
- design related failure to meet effluent guidelines.
Figure 3.17 - Design Risk Drivers
3.4.6 Component Risk - Wastewater: Operation
Operation Risk has a mean score of 5.4, or 5.6 if MTA's are excluded. Most of the wastewater systems have a medium or high risk score. This is identified as an area of opportunity for increased risk mitigation efforts. The mean operation risk score by treatment type is:
- Septic Systems at 5.8
- Facultative Lagoon at 5.0
- Aerated Lagoons at 5.0
- Mechanical Treatment at 5.3
- Other at 8.1
- Municipal Type Agreement (MTA) at 5.2.
The following drivers are identified as significantly contributing to operation risk scores for wastewater systems in the Region:
- failure to meet Federal Effluent Guidelines
- inadequate maintenance logs
- general maintenance not being performed adequately
- Emergency Response Plans not in place or not being used
- Operations & Maintenance manuals not available or not in use.
Figure 3.18 - Operation Risk Drivers
3.4.7 Component Risk - Wastewater: Reporting
Reporting Risk has a mean score of 5.3, or 5.8 if MTA's are excluded. Reporting risk is associated with the maintenance of records of effluent testing and system monitoring. Poor record keeping is a significant factor in raising the overall risk ranking for many systems in this region. The mean reporting risk score by treatment type is:
- Septic Systems at 5.8
- Facultative Lagoon at 4.2
- Aerated Lagoons at 5.3
- Mechanical Treatment at 6.1
- Other at 10.0
- Municipal Type Agreement (MTA) at 4.4.
74 systems have a low risk; 24 systems have a medium risk and 55 systems have a high reporting risk score.
There are two key drivers that contribute to reporting risk in the region:
- inconsistent record keeping
- inconsistent records for key parameters.
Figure 3.19 - Reporting Risk Drivers
3.4.8 Component Risk - Wastewater: Operator
Operator Risk has a mean score of 3.4, or 3.8 if MTA's are excluded. Operator risk is associated with the certification of operators. The mean operator risk score by treatment type is:
- Septic Systems at 4.0
- Facultative Lagoon at 3.6
- Aerated Lagoons at 3.6
- Mechanical Treatment at 3.1
- Other at 4.3
- Municipal Type Agreement (MTA) at 2.8.
90 systems have a low operator risk, 49 systems have a medium operator risk and 14 systems have a high operator risk. Of the eight systems in the region with high overall risk, half have a high operator risk, and all have a medium operator risk or higher.
The extent to which existing wastewater systems have fully certified primary and backup operators is presented in Table 3.6. Of the 85 systems which require a certified operator for the wastewater treatment system, 68% did not have a fully certified primary operator and 94% did not have a fully certified backup operator. Of the 131 systems which require a certified operator for the collection system, 66% did not have a fully certified primary operator and 88% did not have a fully certified backup operator.
|Primary Operator||Backup Operator|
|No. of Systems Currently Without an Operator||0||8||30||48|
|No. of Systems with Operator with No Certification||49||66||42||60|
|No. of Systems with Operator Certified but not to the Required Level of the System||9||12||8||7|
|No. of Systems with Operator with Adequate Certification||27||45||5||16|
|No. of Systems Not Requiring Operators with Certification||68||22||68||22|
|Total No. of Systems||153||153||153||153|
Those factors which frequently contribute to increased wastewater operator risk are identified in Figure 3.20. A lack of certification, lack of training and the lack of primary or backup operator are common drivers that increase operator risk.
Figure 3.20 - Operators Risk Drivers
Information was collected regarding the availability of various documents including Source Water Protection Plans (SWPP), Maintenance Management Plans (MMP), Operations and Maintenance manuals and Emergency Response Plans (ERP). The following tables provide a summary of the percentages of First Nations that have plans in place.
|Source||Percentage of Water Systems that have a (an)...|
|Source Water Protection Plan||Maintenance Management Plan||Emergency Response Plan|
|Percentage of Wastewater Systems that have a (an)…|
|Maintenance Management Plan||Emergency Response Plan|
3.5.1 Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP)
Source water protection planning is one component in a multi-barrier approach to providing safe drinking water. Source Water Protection Plans seek to identify threats to the water source, and put in place policies and practices that will prevent contamination of the water source and ensure the water service provider is equipped to take corrective action should a contamination event occur. Source water protection is appropriate for both groundwater and surface water sources.
For the British Columbia Region, 10% of the systems have a Source Water Protection Plan in place.
3.5.2 Maintenance Management Plans (MMP)
Maintenance Management Plans are intended to improve the effectiveness of maintenance activities and are focused on planning, scheduling and documenting preventative maintenance activities, as well as documenting unscheduled maintenance effort. The plans represent a change from reactive to proactive thinking, and when executed properly they optimize maintenance spending, minimize service disruption and extend asset life.
For the British Columbia Region, 26% of groundwater systems; 27% of GUDI systems and 48% of surface water systems had an MMP in place. For wastewater systems, 31% of the systems have a Maintenance Management Plan in place. The above does not include the MTA's.
3.5.3 Emergency Response Plans (ERP)
Emergency Response Plans are intended to be a quick reference to assist operators and other stakeholders in managing and responding to emergency situations. ERP's should be in place for both water and wastewater systems. ERP's include key contact information for those to be notified, and that may be of assistance (agencies, contractors, suppliers, etc.) as well as standard communication and response protocols. ERP's will identify recommended corrective actions for "foreseeable" emergencies, as well as methodologies for addressing unforeseen situations. ERP's are essentially the last potential "barrier" in a multi-barrier approach to protecting the drinking water supply or natural environment and provide the last opportunity to mitigate damages.
39% of the water systems and 31% of the wastewater systems have an Emergency Response Plan in place.
4.0 Cost Analysis
4.1 Upgrade to Meet Protocol – Water
In 2006, INAC began to develop a series of Protocol documents for centralised and decentralised water and wastewater systems in First Nations communities. The Protocols contain standards for the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and monitoring of these systems.
One of the objectives of this study was to review the existing water and wastewater infrastructure and identify the potential upgrade costs to meet the INAC Protocol, as well as federal guidelines and provincial standards. The total estimated construction cost for water system upgrades to meet the INAC Protocol is $209 million.
Table 4.1 provides a breakdown of the estimated total construction costs identified. A separate line item is included for engineering and contigency. Figure 4.1 provides a graphical comparison of each of the categories.
|Protocol - Estimated Cost||Federal - Estimated Cost||Provincial - Estimated Cost|
|Additional Fire Pumps||$396,000||$396,000||$396,000|
|Storage & Pumping||$32,730,000||$32,509,500||$32,520,500|
|Engineering & Contingencies||$41,828,600||$36,974,100||$37,076,900|
|Construction Total Estimate||$208,887,600||$184,744,600||$185,143,100|
There are 90 water systems that may potentially have groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GUDI) supplies. The upgrade costs for these systems have been estimated under the assumption that they will prove to be secure groundwater supplies, but further studies are recommended to confirm this assumption.
If the GUDI studies indicate that these supplies should be considered to be surface water rather than groundwater, then additional upgrade requirements will be necessary for these systems to meet INAC's Protocols. It is estimated that, depending on system capacity and site indices, an additional $1.0 to $2.5 million will be required for each system that needs to be upgraded to surface-water treatment.
Figure 4.1 - Breakdown of the Estimated Construction Costs to Meet Protocol (Water) ($ - M)
The following lists provide a summary of the Protocol items for the three categories with the highest cumulative Protocol costs that are listed above.
- Upgrade existing disinfection systems including contact facilities.
- Install disinfection systems (chlorination and UV).
- Provide redundant chemical feed and disinfection equipment.
- Constructing new buildings and water treatment facilities.
- Provide emergency eyewash and showers.
- Provide specific treatment equipment (i.e. arsenic, manganese, etc.).
- Provide contact piping.
- Upgrade capacity of existing water treatment plant.
- Provide standby power.
- Various studies (treatment plant performance).
Storage and Pumping
- Expand existing reservoir.
- Construct new reservoir.
- Install dechlorination chambers.
- Install new highlift and fire pumps.
- Provide fence for security.
- Provide screens and vents for security.
- Provide standby power.
- Various studies (reservoir leakage, pump capacity).
- Complete leakage/leak detection studies.
- Connection of water systems.
- Repair leaks.
- Install contact piping.
- Investigation and replacement of suspect watermain.
- Install isolation valves.
- Loop distribution system.
- Install additional fire hydrants.
- Replace small diameter watermain.
|Description||Protocol - Estimated Cost||Federal - Estimated Cost||Provincial - Estimated Cost|
|Non-Construction Total Estimate||$22,592,000||$21,160,000||$21,005,000|
Additional annual operations and maintenance costs, shown in Table 4.3, include costs that occur annually for items that are not currently being completed to meet protocols, such as calibrating monitoring equipment, additional sampling, cleaning the reservoir, and backup operator's salary.
|Water O&M Total Estimated Cost||$3,896,000|
The total estimated cost, including both constrution and non-construction cost, for water system upgrades to meet the INAC Protocol is $231 million. This excludes costs associated with additional upgrading of potentially GUDI systems which prove to be GUDI systems, as discussed previously.
4.2 Upgrade to Meet Protocol – Wastewater
The total construction cost estimate for wastewater system upgrades to meet INAC's Protocol is $86 million. Specific needs along with the total cost for each is provided below.
Upgrading treatment capacity, upgrading the collection system and providing standby power represents over 90% of the cost associated with upgrades needed to meet Protocol.
|Description||Protocol - Estimated Cost||Federal - Estimated Cost||Provincial - Estimated Cost|
|Engineering & Contingencies||$17,245,300||$16,992,500||$16,992,500|
|Construction Total Estimate||$86,014,650||$84,766,000||$84,766,000|
Figure 4.2 - Breakdown of the Estimated Construction Costs to Meet Protocol (Wastewater) ($ - M)
The following lists provide a summary of the Protocol items for the three categories with the highest cumulative Protocol costs that are listed above.
- Repair existing septics.
- Upgrades to existing facilities.
- Construct additional lagoon cell.
- Construct new mechanical treatment facility.
- Provide fence for security.
- Provide flow meter.
- Provide standby power.
- Provide disinfection facilities.
- Studies (sludge disposal, performance).
- Inflow and Infiltration studies.
- Extend collection system.
- Provide flow meters.
- Replace manholes and pipework.
|Description||Protocol - Estimated Cost||Federal - Estimated Cost||Provincial - Estimated Cost|
|Non-Construction Total Estimate||$7,298,000||$7,098,000||$7,183,000|
Additional annual operations and maintenance costs, as shown in Table 4.6, include costs that occur annually, for items that are not currently being completed to meet protocols, such as calibrating monitoring equipment, additional sampling, and backup operator's salary.
|Wastewater O&M Total Estimated Cost||$948,700|
A number of the coastal First Nations are discharging to the ocean without a permit. Upgrade costs include the cost of obtaining a permit to discharge.
The total estimated cost, including construction and non-construction costs, for wastewater system upgrades is $93.3 million.
4.3 Upgrade Cost Summary
Table 4.7 provides a summary of the upgrade costs for the Protocol, Federal and Provincial Guidelines.
|Total Estimated Cost|
|Upgrade to meet Protocol||$231,479,600||$93,312,650|
|Upgrade to meet Federal Guidelines||$205,904,600||$91,864,000|
|Upgrade to meet Provincial Guidelines||$206,148,100 $||$91,949,000|
The following tables present a breakdown of the Protocol upgrade costs by risk level.
|Risk Level||Short Term||Long Term||Total|
|Risk Level||Short Term||Long Term||Total|
4.4 Asset Condition Reporting System Needs
Asset Condition Reporting System (ACRS) inspections were completed for all water and wastewater related assets. The following table summarizes the ACRS needs identified. For the purposes of this assessment, ACRS needs were limited to required repairs of existing facilities, and did not include any upgrade costs, in order to avoid duplication with the Upgrade to Protocol needs identified. The following two tables (Tables 4.10 and 4.11) provide a summary of the repairs required broken down by asset for both water and wastewater, respectively.
|Asset Code||Description||Estimated Cost|
|B1I||Low Lift Pumping||$127,450|
|B1H||High Lift Pumping||$89,100|
|Water ACRS Total Estimated Cost||$7,467,095|
|Asset Code||Description||Estimated Cost|
|B2H/B2J||Lift Stations & Forcemains||$1,029,665|
|Wastewater ACRS Total Estimated Cost||$3,625,825|
4.5 Community Servicing
An analysis was completed to evaluate future servicing alternatives for a 10 year design period. Alternatives considered include expanding existing systems, developing new systems, establishing local Municipal Type Agreements (if applicable), and use of individual systems. A theoretical operations and maintenance cost has been developed for each alternative along with a 30 year life cycle cost. The cost for upgrades to meet protocol is included in the new servicing cost, if appropriate, i.e. for new servicing alternatives that included continued use of the existing system. A summary of the capital cost along with the estimated O&M cost for the recommended servicing alternatives are shown below.
|Total Estimated Cost||Cost Per Connection|
|Future Servicing Cost||$400,000,000||$310,000,000||$13,700||$10,500|
|Annual O&M to service future growth||$50,200,000||$31,600,000||$1,700||$1,100|
The evaluation of future servicing included continuing to service the existing population with the same level of service that was currently in place and then evaluating the options for providing service to the future 10 year growth for the community.
Predominantly, it was found that the life cycle costs for extending piped water and wastewater servicing for the future growth was the most cost effective solution. This assumes that future homes would be constructed in a compact setting adjacent to the existing serviced area. This assumption, however, will need to be confirmed through detailed studies for each community.
5.0 Regional Summary
In the British Columbia region 188 of 198 First Nations participated in the study and were visited during the completion of this project. The 188 First Nations were serviced by 290 water systems (including 72 Municipal Type Agreement systems) and 153 wastewater systems (including 59 Municipal Type Agreement systems).
In the British Columbia region, 96% of the homes are serviced by communal water (95% piped and 1% trucked) and the remaining 4% are serviced by individual wells or have no service.
The region is characterized by many small communities; one third of the communities have a population of less than 100 people, and two thirds of the communities have a population of less than 300 people.
The majority of the water systems are groundwater, with 40% of the systems relying on direct use of water without treatment or disinfection.
There are 72 First Nations serviced by Municipal Type Agreement systems. Four First Nations provide water to municipalities as well as the First Nation community.
Of the 153 wastewater systems, 42 are communal septic systems, 31 are either facultative or aerated lagoons, 11 are mechanical treatment, 59 are Municipal Type Agreement systems, 8 are "other" and 2 are "none". In addition, 32% of the homes are serviced by individual systems or have no service.
There are a number of coastal communities that discharge wastewater directly to the ocean without a permit or monitoring, which is an environmental and a health concern.
There are 154 high-risk water systems and eight high-risk wastewater systems in the British Columbia region. Although there are multiple factors that contribute to risk, design and operational concerns are given the most weight, particularly when the concern is related to the protection of public health or the environment. The high risk systems in the region typically require system upgrades or improved operational procedures to meet the guidelines for treated water quality or sewage effluent quality.
Another area to be addressed would be the lack of planning tools including Source Water Protection Plans, Operations & Maintenance Manuals, Maintenance Management Plans and Emergency Response Plans.
First Nations commented that current O&M budgets are often insufficient to retain operators, to provide ongoing component replacement, and to perform all of the monitoring and recording requirements.
Wastewater sampling prior to effluent discharge appears to be an area where a significant impact on the overall risk could be addressed. Sampling, testing and recording of effluent quality and volumes prior to and during discharge would result in reducing the reporting risk for these systems.
Appendix A Glossary of Terms and Acronyms
Aeration (see also lagoon): The process of bringing air into contact with a liquid (typically water), usually by bubbling air through the liquid, spraying the liquid into the air, allowing the liquid to cascade down a waterfall, or by mechanical agitation. Aeration serves to (1) strip dissolved gases from solution, and/or (2) oxygenate the liquid. (Gowen Environmental)
Aesthetic Objective (AO): Aesthetic objectives are set for drinking water quality parameters such as colour or odour, where exceeding the objective may make the water less pleasant, but not unsafe. (INAC Protocol for Decentralised Water and Wastewater)
Ammonia (See also: Potable water; Effluent quality requirements): A pungent colorless gaseous alkaline compound of nitrogen and hydrogen (NH3) that is very soluble in water and can easily be condensed to a liquid by cold and pressure (Merriam-Webster). Ammonia is used in several areas of water and wastewater treatment, such as pH control. It is also used in conjunction with chlorine to produce potable water. The existence of ammonia in wastewater is common in industrial sectors as a by-product of cleaning agents. This chemical impacts both human and environmental conditions. Treatment of ammonia can be completed in lagoon systems and mechanical plants. (R.M. Technologies)
Arsenic: A metallic element that forms a number of compounds. It is found in nature at low levels, mostly in compounds with oxygen, chlorine, and sulphur; these are called inorganic arsenic compounds. Organic arsenic in plants and animals combines with carbon and hydrogen. Inorganic arsenic is a human poison. Organic arsenic is less harmful. High levels of inorganic arsenic in food or water can be fatal. (Medicinenet.com)
Aquifer (confined): A layer of soil or rock below the land surface that is saturated with water. There are layers of impermeable material both above and below it, and it is under pressure so that when the aquifer is penetrated by a well, the water will rise above the top of the aquifer. (INAC Protocol for Decentralised Water and Wastewater Systems)
Aquifer (unconfined): An unconfined aquifer is one whose upper water surface (water table) is at atmospheric pressure, and thus is able to rise and fall. (INAC Protocol for Decentralised Water and Wastewater Systems)
As-built/record drawings: Revised set of drawing submitted by a contractor upon completion of a project or a particular job. They reflect all changes made in the specifications and working drawings during the construction process, and show the exact dimensions, geometry, and location of all elements of the work completed under the contract. Also called as-built drawings or just as-builts.
ACRS Inspection (Asset Condition Reporting System Inspection): For centralised water and wastewater systems, an ACRS (asset condition reporting system) inspection of the system is to be performed once every three (3) years by a qualified person (consulting engineer, Tribal Council engineer), who is not from the First Nation involved, to assess the condition of the asset, adequacy of maintenance efforts, and need for additional maintenance work. The ACRS inspection report will be discussed with, and submitted to, the First Nation council and the INAC regional office. Inspections will be conducted in accordance with the ACRS Manual, a copy of which can be obtained from the INAC regional office.
Bacteria (plural) bacterium (singular): Microscopic living organisms usually consisting of a single cell. Bacteria can aid in pollution control by consuming or breaking down organic matter in sewage and/or other water pollutants. Some bacteria may also cause human, animal, and plant health problems. Bacteria are predominantly found in the intestines and feces of humans and animals. The presence of coliform bacteria in water indicates the contamination of water by raw or partially treated sewage. (INAC Protocol for Decentralised Water and Wastewater Systems)
Baffle (concrete and/or curtain): Vertical/horizontal impermeable barriers in a pond or reservoir. Baffles direct the flow of water into the longest possible path through the reservoir in order to eliminate short-circuiting in the water treatment system. In potable water treatment, short-circuiting can reduce the effectiveness of disinfectants. In effluent treatment, short-circuiting may result in an increase of pollutants at the outlet. Shortcircuiting occurs when water flows directly from the inlet to the outlet across a pond or reservoir. (Layfield)
BOD5 (Biochemical Oxygen Demand): The most widely used parameter of organic pollution applied to both wastewater and surface water is the 5-day BOD (BOD5). This determination involves the measurement of the dissolved oxygen used by microorganisms in the biochemical oxidation of organic matter. BOD test results are used to: determine the approximate quantity of oxygen that will be required to biologically stabilize the organic matter present; to determine the size of waste treatment facilities; to measure the efficiency of some treatment processes; and to determine compliance with wastewater discharge permits. (Metcalf & Eddy)
Capacity (actual vs. design): Refers to the capacity of the treatment system, with the "design capacity" being the flow rate proposed by the designer or manufacturer. If the system is not operating to design levels, the "actual capacity" could be limited by failing pumps, clogged filters or not meeting the Protocol (i.e. Protocol requires two filter trains such that one could operate while another is being cleaned/repaired and this was previously not explicitly required; therefore, the actual capacity is half of the design capacity).
Chemical feed equipment: All equipment associated with introducing chemicals to the raw water as part of the treatment process including coagulants, coagulant aids, disinfectants, etc.
Chlorine: A disinfectant used in either gas or liquid from gas that is added to water to protect the consumer from bacteria and other micro-organisms. It is widely used because it is inexpensive and easily injected into water. Because of its concentration, a gallon can treat a large amount of water. However, chlorine use does have drawbacks: when chlorine is used as a disinfectant it combines with naturally occurring decaying organic matter to form Trihalomethanes (THMs). (Vital Life Systems)
Chlorination: The application of chlorine to water, sewage or industrial wastes for disinfection (reduction of pathogens) or to oxidize undesirable compounds. (City of Toronto)
Chlorine Residual: The chlorine level in potable water immediately after it has been treated. (Ontario Ministry of the Environment)
Circuit Rider (see also Circuit Rider Training Program): Under the department's Circuit Rider Trainer Program (CRTP) INAC provides funds to engage circuit riders (third party water and wastewater system experts who provide water and wastewater system operators with on-site, mentoring, training, and emergency assistance). The third-party service providers that provide circuit rider services also provide operators with a 24/7 emergency hotline. (INAC Protocol for Centralised Wastewater Systems in First Nations Communities)
Circuit Rider Training Program: The main vehicle by which most First Nations operators receive the required training to operate their systems. This program provides qualified experts who rotate through a circuit of communities, providing hands-on training for the operators on their own system. Circuit rider trainers also help the First Nations with minor troubles and issues of operation and maintenance of their systems. (INAC Plan of Action)
Cistern: A tank for storing potable water or other liquids, usually placed above the ground. (Bow River Basin Council, cited in Alberta Environment Glossary)
Class "D" Cost Estimates: A preliminary estimate, for each community visited, based on available site information, which indicates the approximate magnitude (+/- 40%) of the cost of the actions recommended in the report, and which may be used in developing long-term capital plans and for a preliminary discussion of proposed capital projects.
Collection piping: Sanitary sewer collecting wastewater from individual buildings and homes, for treatment and disposal at a public facility.
Component risk / component risk factors: The overall risk is determined by five component risks: water source/effluent, design, operation, reporting, and operator.
Community Health Representatives (CHRs): Health Canada's local health representatives. They undertake bacteriological and chlorine residual sampling of distributed water within most First Nation communities.
Contact piping: Dedicated watermain to provide chlorine contact time before potable water is distributed to the first user.
Containment liners (for on-site fuel storage): A form of secondary containment used for diesel driven generators or fire pumps.
Continuous discharge to a receiving body: The release of treated wastewater effluent to a lake, river, stream, etc. where the rate of release is continuous (i.e. not batch discharge).
Conventional Wastewater Treatment: Consists of preliminary processes, primary settling to remove heavy solids and floatable materials, secondary biological aeration to metabolize and flocculate colloidal and dissolved organics, and secondary settling to remove additional solids. Tertiary treatment such as disinfection or filtration to further treat the wastewater depending on the level of treatment required for discharge. Waste sludge drawn from these operations is thickened and processed for ultimate disposal, usually either land application or landfilling. Preliminary treatment processes include coarse screening, medium screening, shredding of solids, flow measuring, pumping, grit removal, and pre-aeration. Chlorination of raw wastewater sometimes is used for odor control and to improve settling characteristics of the solids.
Conventional Water Treatment: Consists of a combination of coagulation (adding chemicals called coagulants), flocculation (particles binding together with coagulants) and sedimentation (settling of particles) to remove a large amount of organic compounds and suspended particles, filtration (water passing through porous media) to remove bacteria protozoa and viruses (slow sand filtration) or suspended particles (rapid sand filtration), and disinfection to ensure all the bacteria protozoa and viruses are removed, and provide safe drinking water.
Cross connections: A cross connection is a link between a possible source of pollution and a potable water supply. A pollutant may enter the potable water system when a) the pressure of the pollution source exceeds the pressure of the potable water source or b) when a sudden loss of pressure occurs in the water system and "backflow" occurs. The flow through a water treatment plant should have no instances of treated water coming into contact with raw or wastewater. Backflow preventers should be tested regularly and any actual physical links should be removed.
Decentralized System: A group or groups of communal (as opposed to private) on-site water or wastewater systems. (INAC Protocol for Decentralised Water and Wastewater Systems)
Dedicated transmission main: A length of watermain which has no service connections or hydrants; can refer to the length of raw watermain from a raw water source to the water treatment plant or in the distribution system where there are larger distances between homes.
Discharge Frequency: The frequency in which treated wastewater is discharged; could be continuous, seasonal, annual, etc.
Discharge quality data: Data acquired through the completion of a laboratory analysis of treated wastewater effluent prior to obtaining permission to discharge. Relevant parameters for testing include: 5 day Biochemical Oxygen Demand, Suspended Solids, Fecal Coliforms, pH, Phenols, Oils & Greases, Phosphorus and Temperature.
Disinfectant: A disinfectant is a chemical (commonly chlorine, chloramines, or ozone) or physical process (e.g., ultraviolet light) that inactivates or kills microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. (INAC Protocol for Decentralised Water and Wastewater Systems)
Disinfection: A process that has as its objective destroying or inactivating pathogenic micro-organisms in water. (Government of Alberta, Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, cited in Alberta Environment Glossary)
Disinfection By-products: Disinfection by-products are chemical, organic and inorganic substances that can form during a reaction of a disinfectant with naturally present organic or anthropogenic matter in the water. (Lenntech)
Distribution Classification > piped / trucked: Refers to the classification of the delivery of potable water leaving the water treatment plant. This can be either piped (via watermain) or trucked (via truck delivery to individual homes/cisterns). The level of classification involves the number of house connections (population served).
Domestic flows: All demands in the water system excluding fire flows.
Drinking Water: Water of sufficiently high quality that can be consumed or used without risk of immediate or long term harm.
Drinking Water Advisory (DWA): Drinking Water Advisories (DWAs) are preventive measures that are regularly issued in municipalities and communities across Canada; they protect public health from waterborne contaminants that can be present in drinking water. A DWA can be issued in any community and may include boil water advisories, do not consume advisories and do not use advisories. (INAC "Fact Sheet")
Effluent: 1. The liquid waste of municipalities/communities, industries, or agricultural operations. Usually the term refers to a treated liquid released from a wastewater treatment process. (Bow River) 2. The discharge from any on-site sewage treatment component. (Alberta Municipal Affairs; cited in Alberta Environment Glossary)
Effluent quality data: Any test results or monitoring data that describes the condition of treated wastewater effluent.
Effluent Quality Requirements: All effluents from wastewater systems in Canada must comply with all applicable federal legislation including the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the Fisheries Act, as well as any other applicable legislation, including provincial, depending on the geographical location of the system. In addition, all discharges from First Nations wastewater systems shall meet the quality requirements found in the Guidelines for Effluent Quality and Wastewater Treatment at Federal Establishments - EPS 1-EC-76-1 (1976 Guidelines).
For the purposes of determining effluent quality related to ammonia and chlorine, the Notice Requiring the Preparation and Implementation of Pollution Prevention Plans for Inorganic Chloramines and Chlorinated Wastewater Effluents and the Guideline for the Release of Ammonia Dissolved in Water Found in Wastewater Effluents contain additional and/or updated information to the requirements provided in the 1976 Guidelines.
A copy of the Guideline for the Release of Ammonia Dissolved in Water Found in Wastewater Effluents can be found at Environment Canada's website. (INAC Protocol for Centralised Wastewater Systems in First Nations Communities)
Effluent Receiver (also referred to as the receiving body; the receiving environment; the receiver) (see also Effluent and Component risks): The environment that receives treated wastewater, including lakes, rivers, wetlands, sub-surfaces, title fields, open marines, and enclosed bays. It may also refer to a community's method for dealing with wastewater (e.g. Municipal Type Agreements or evaporation).
Elevated Storage: A water tower, which is a reservoir or storage tank mounted on a tower-like structure at the summit of an area of high ground in a place where the water pressure would otherwise be inadequate for distribution at a uniform pressure. (Collins)
Emergency Response Plan (ERP): Emergency response plans for water and wastewater systems are intended to be a quick reference to assist operators and other stakeholders in managing and responding to emergency situations. They include key contact information for persons to be notified and for persons who may be of assistance (e.g. agencies, contractors, suppliers, etc.), as well as standard communication and response protocols. Emergency response plans identify recommended action for "foreseeable" emergencies, and provide methodologies for unforeseen situations.
Facultative Lagoon: The most common type of wastewater treatment lagoon used by small communities and individual households. Facultative lagoons rely on both aerobic and anaerobic decomposition of waste, can be adapted for use in most climates and require no machinery to treat wastewater.
Filter: A device used to remove solids from a mixture or to separate materials. Materials are frequently separated from water using filters. (Edwards Aquifier)
Filter train equipment: Includes all components that form part of the water filtration process from where the raw water enters the filter process to where the filtered water leaves the treatment unit. This does not refer to the disinfection equipment.
Filtration: The mechanical process which removes particulate matter by separating water from solid material, usually by passing it through sand. (Edwards Aquifier)
Fire pump tests: A monthly test for the basic operation and functionality of the fire pump.
Grade Level Storage: A treated water storage reservoir that is constructed at grade, typically with earth mounded on top to provide some frost protection.
GPS: Global Positioning System (GPS) -A navigational system involving satellites and computers that can determine the latitude and longitude of a receiver on Earth by computing the time difference for signals from different satellites to reach the receiver.
Groundwater: Groundwater is any water that is obtained from a subsurface water-bearing soil unit (called an aquifer). 1) Water that flows or seeps downward and saturates soil or rock, supplying springs and wells. The upper surface of the saturate zone is called the water table. 2) Water stored underground in rock crevices and in the pores of geologic materials that make up the Earth's crust. (INAC, Protocol for Decentralised Water and Wastewater Systems)
Groundwater, confined: Groundwater that is under pressure significantly greater than atmospheric, with its upper limit the bottom of a bed with hydraulic conductivity distinctly lower than that of the material in which the confined water occurs. (INAC, Protocol for Decentralised Water and Wastewater Systems)
Groundwater, unconfined: Water in an aquifer that has a water table that is exposed to the atmosphere. (INAC Protocol for Decentralised Water and Wastewater Systems)
Groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GUDI): This term refers to groundwater sources (e.g., wells, springs, infiltration galleries, etc.) where microbial pathogens are able to travel from nearby surface water to the groundwater source. (Government of Nova Scotia)
Guidelines: Guidelines as referred to in this Assessment include all federal and provincial water and wastewater guidelines for domestic potable water and household sanitary waste. These guidelines include the "Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality" and all its recommended health and aesthetic guidelines for water quality.
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ): Water quality guidelines developed by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water and have been published by Health Canada since 1968.
Canadian drinking water supplies are generally of excellent quality. However, water in nature is never "pure." It picks up traces of everything it comes into contact with, including minerals, silt, vegetation, fertilizers, and agricultural run-off. While most of these substances are harmless, some may pose a health risk. To address this risk, Health Canada works with the provincial and territorial governments to develop guidelines that set out the maximum acceptable concentrations of these substances in drinking water. These drinking water guidelines are designed to protect the health of the most vulnerable members of society, such as children and the elderly. The guidelines set out the basic parameters that every water system should strive to achieve in order to provide the cleanest, safest and most reliable drinking water possible.
The Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality deal with microbiological, chemical and radiological contaminants. They also address concerns with physical and aesthetic characteristics of water, such as taste and odour. (Health Canada)
Guidelines for Effluent Quality and Wastewater Treatment at Federal Establishments, April 1976: The purpose of these guidelines is to indicate the degree of treatment and effluent quality that will be applicable to all wastewater discharged from existing and proposed Federal installations. Use of these guidelines is intended to promote a consistent wastewater approach towards the cleanup and prevention of water pollution and ensure that the best practicable control technologies used. (Government of Canada)
Highlift Pumping: Refers to pumps installed that provide treated water into the water distribution system at pressure; either directly or via water tower.
Hydrant Flushing (see line flushing and swabbing)
Influent: Water, wastewater, or other liquid flowing into a reservoir, basin or treatment plant. (Gowen)
Lagoon: A shallow pond where sunlight, bacterial action, and oxygen work to purify wastewater. Lagoons are typically used for the storage of wastewaters, sludges, liquid wastes, or spent nuclear fuel. (Edwards Aquifier)
Lagoon, aerated: See Aeration
Lagoon, facultative: See Facultative Lagoon.
L/c/d: Measurement of daily water usage as Litres per capita, per day.
Level of Service Standards (INAC): The Level of Service Standards (LOSS), determined on a national basis, are the levels of service that the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) is prepared to financially support to assist First Nations in providing community services comparable to the levels of service that would generally be available in non-native communities of similar size and circumstances.
The Level of Service Standards provide a description of criteria which will be used to establish the level of funding for safe, cost-effective, domestic water supply and wastewater disposal systems for on-reserve housing units and administrative, operative, institutional and recreational buildings. (INAC "Water and Sewage Systems")
Lift Station (also Pumping Station): A point in the sewer system where the wastewater needs to be pumped (lifted) to a higher elevation so that gravity can be used to bring the wastewater to the treatment plant. (Hailey City Hall Public Works)
Line flushing and swabbing (also referred to as watermain swabbing and flushing): Watermain swabbing entails inserting a soft material shaped like a bullet into the watermain through a fire hydrant. The diameter is slightly larger than the watermain and the bullet (swab) is pushed along the watermain by water pressure. As it passes through the watermain, the swab executes a scouring action on the sediment inside the watermain.
During watermain flushing, high velocity water flowing from hydrants is used to remove loose sediment from watermains. (City of Guelph)
L/p/d: Measurement of daily water usage as Litres per person, per day.
MAC (Maximum acceptable concentration): In the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ), Maximum Acceptable Concentrations (MACs) have been established for certain physical, chemical, radiological and microbiological parameters or substances that are known or suspected to cause adverse effects on health. For some parameters, Interim Maximum Acceptable Concentrations (IMACs) are also recommended in the guidelines.
Drinking water that continually has a substance at a greater concentration than the specified MACs will contribute significantly to consumer exposure to the substance and may, in some instances, produce harmful health effects. However, the short-term presence of substances above the MAC levels does not necessarily mean the water constitutes a risk to health. (INAC, National Assessment Summary Report)
Maintenance Management Plan (MMP): Maintenance management plans apply to both water and wastewater systems. They are intended to improve the effectiveness of maintenance activities and are focused on planning, scheduling, and documenting preventative maintenance activities and on documenting unscheduled maintenance.
Manganese: Manganese is a mineral that naturally occurs in rocks and soil and is a normal constituent of the human diet. In some places, it exists in well water as a naturally occurring groundwater mineral, but may also be present due to underground pollution sources. Manganese may become noticeable in tap water at concentrations greater than 0.05 milligrams per liter (mg/L) of water by imparting a colour, odour, or taste to the water. However, health effects from manganese are not a concern until concentrations are approximately 10 times higher. (Conneticut Dept. of Health)
Mechanical Plant/ Mechanical Treatment: Refers to any type of wastewater treatment plant including treatments systems consisting of rotating biological contactors (RBC), sequencing batch reactors (SBR), extended aeration (EA), etc. It does not include natural forms of wastewater treatment like lagoons or septic systems.
Metals Scan (Full): A full metal scan refers to what laboratories call Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) analysis for the evaluation of trace metals in water samples. This test covers a complete scan of over 20 trace metals in a single analysis.
Municipal Type Agreement (MTA): The situation where First Nations are supplied with treated water from or send their wastewater to a nearby municipality, as outlined in a formal agreement between the two parties. The term is also used in this report to describe a system where the First Nation is supplied with treated water or wastewater treatment services by another First Nation or other independent body such as a corporate entity such as a Casino etc.
Multi-Barrier Approach: Approach used to ensure that drinking water is safe. In the past, the term 'multi-barrier' referred only to the barriers involved in the actual treatment of raw water to provide quality drinking water. This approach has now been expanded to include a number of key elements that are an integral part of a drinking water program to ensure delivery of safe, secure supplies of drinking water. Barriers may be physical (eg: filter) or administrative (eg: planning) in nature. (Alberta Environment, Glossary & Alberta's Drinking Water Program)
None: Indicates that the treatment and/or distribution/collection system has not been classified.
O & M: Operation and Maintenance.
Operational Plan (OP): An Operational Plan is the primary instrument for communicating the Community's quality management system (QMS) from the public works departments (water and wastewater) to Chief and Council, and from Council to INAC, Health Canada and the community members.
Phosphorus: A non-metallic element of the nitrogen family that occurs widely especially as phosphates (Merriam-Webster). Phosphorus occurs naturally in rocks, soil, animal waste, plant material, and even the atmosphere. In addition to these natural sources, phosphorus comes from human activities such as agriculture, discharge of industrial and municipal waste, and surface water runoff from residential and urban areas. Nutrients held in soil can be dissolved in water and carried off by leaching, tile drainage or surface runoff.
Phosphorus does not pose a direct threat to human health; it is an essential component of all cells and is present in bones and teeth. It does, however, pose an indirect threat to both aesthetics and to human health by affecting source waters used for drinking and recreation. For example, excessive nutrients can promote the growth of algal blooms, which can contribute to a wide range of water quality problems by affecting the potability, taste, odour, and colour of the water. (Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment)
Piped Distribution System: A water distribution system which relies on pipes to convey water through pumping or elevated storage to the end user. Different from trucked distribution in that a trucked distribution system delivers water to end users in batch quantities to individual holding tanks (cisterns).
Potable water: Potable water is water that is destined for human consumption. For the purposes of the Protocol for Centralised Drinking Water Systems in First Nations Communities, water destined for human consumption is water that is consumed directly as drinking water, water that is used in cooking, water that is used to wash food, and water that is used for bathing infants (individuals under 1 year in age). (INAC, Protocol for Centralised Drinking Water Systems in First Nations Communities)
PPU: People per unit. Measurement to describe housing density.
Primary Operator: The main operator of a water or wastewater system. The primary operator must be certified to the level of the treatment and distribution/collection system.
Primary Wastewater Treatment: Removal of particulate materials from domestic wastewater, usually done by allowing the solid materials to settle as a result of gravity. Typically, the first major stage of treatment encountered by domestic wastewater as it enters a treatment facility. Primary treatment plants generally remove 25 to 35 percent of the Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and 45 to 65 percent of the total suspended matter. Also, any process used for the decomposition, stabilization, or disposal of sludges produced by settling. (North American Lake Management Society; cited in Alberta Environment Glossary)
Protocol for Safe Drinking Water in First Nations Communities: Standards for design, construction, operation, maintenance, and monitoring of drinking water systems and is intended for use by First Nations staff responsible for water systems. It is also intended for use by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) staff, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) for INAC staff, and all others involved in providing advice or assistance to First Nations in the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and monitoring of their drinking water systems in their communities, in accordance with established federal or provincial standards, whichever are the most stringent.
Any water system that produces drinking water destined for human consumption, that is funded in whole or in part by INAC, and that serves five or more households or a public facility, must comply with the requirements of this protocol. (INACProtocol)
Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC): A quality management system that focuses on fulfilling quality requirements and providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled.
Reporting Risk: The Reporting risk level is the risk inherent with the operational method of recording data and providing the required reports. This would include both manual and automatic methods of record keeping. The reporting risk ranking is based on the adequacy of the operational records and the number of reports submitted during the year compared to the total number of records and reports required according to the appropriate legislation, standards, and operation procedures of the system in question.
Reservoir: A man-made lake that collects and stores water for future use. During periods of low river flow, reservoirs can release additional flow if water is available. (Government of Alberta, Water for Life, cited in Alberta Glossary)
Reservoir Cleaning: This involves the pump-down, clean-out, removal of settled material, disinfection and refill of a water storage reservoir. This activity requires confined space entry equipment and training.
Retrofit: 1. To furnish with new or modified parts or equipment not available or considered necessary at the time of manufacture; 2. To install (new or modified parts or equipment) in something previously manufactured or constructed; 3. To adapt to a new purpose or need: modify. (Merriam-Webster)
Rotating Biological Contactor (RBC): A technology used to treat wastewater classified as mechanical treatment.
Risk (Management Risk Level/Management Risk Score): Risk is defined in INAC's Management Risk Level Evaluation Guidelines for Water and Wastewater Systems in First Nations Communities (Revised 2010). These guidelines follow the Multi-Barrier Approach for water management. This approach, developed by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Water Quality Task Group, is intended to prevent the presence of water-borne contaminants in drinking water by ensuring effective safeguards are in place at each stage of a drinking water system.
Following that approach, INAC assesses five main components of a system to determine an overall system management risk score:
- Source Water (drinking water systems) or Effluent Receiver (wastewater systems)
- System Design
- Operation and Maintenance
- Records and Reporting
- Operator Training and Experience
Each of these components is assigned a risk score, which are then weighed to determine the overall management risk score of a system. The resulting score will then result in the management of the system as being classified as either high risk, medium risk, or low risk.
-High Risk: Major deficiencies in most of the components. Should a problem arise, the system and management as a whole is unlikely to be able to compensate, thus there is a high probability that any problem could result in unsafe water. Issues should be addressed as soon as possible.
-Medium Risk: Minor deficiencies in several components, or major deficiencies in one or two components. Should a problem arise, the system and management can probably compensate for the problem, but the noted deficiencies makes this uncertain, thus there is a medium probability that any problem could result in unsafe water. Issues need to be addressed.
-Low Risk: Minor or no deficiencies with the system or management. Should a problem occur, it is likely that the system and management as a whole will be able to compensate and continue to provide safe water while the issue is being resolved.
It is important to distinguish between INAC's system management risk level and drinking water quality. The actual quality of the water produced by a system is but one part of determining the overall system management risk level.
Unsafe drinking water is noted through the implementation of Drinking Water Advisories (DWA), not by the management risk level of the system. DWA come in multiple forms, the most common being the boil water advisory.
A system with a high-risk ranking under INAC's management evaluation is, because of its multiple deficiencies, likely to be unable to cope with problems that may occur in the system that result in a DWA. This means that DWA are likely to occur more frequently and to have a longer-term duration on a high-risk system. On the other hand, while problems can and do occur in low-risk systems, because of better overall risk management, these systems are more likely to address the problem in the short term, resulting in the rapid removal of problems and DWA.
This means that a high-risk drinking system can still produce perfectly safe and potable water. Deficiencies should be addressed as quickly as possible, however, before any issues arise with the water quality. (INAC, Management Risk Level Evaluation Guidelines)
SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system: Refers to a control and/or computer system that can monitor, record and control infrastructure, or facility-based processes.
Screened reservoir vents: Reservoir vents should be screened to allow air movement and to prevent vermin from entering.
Seasonal discharge: Discharge of wastewater at times of maximum or substantial stream flow. This may vary from location to location.
Secondary containment for treatment chemicals: Secondary containment is required for the storage of all regulated hazardous materials. Secondary containment must be constructed using materials capable of containing a spill or leak for at least as long as the period between monitoring inspections. A means of providing overfill protection for any primary container may be required. This may be an overfill prevention device and/or an attention getting high level alarm. Materials that in combination may cause a fire or explosion, the production of a flammable, toxic, poisonous gas, or the deterioration of a primary or secondary container will be separated in both the primary and secondary treatment containment so as to avoid intermixing.
Secondary Treatment: involving the biological process of reducing suspended, colloidal, and dissolved organic/inorganic matter in effluent from primary treatment systems and which generally removes 80 to 95 percent of the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and suspended matter. Secondary wastewater treatment may be accomplished by biological or chemical-physical methods. Activated sludge and trickling filters are two of the most common means of secondary treatment. (North American Lake Management Society, cited in Alberta Glossary)
Septic tank: A tank used to detain domestic wastes to allow the settling of solids prior to distribution to a leach field for soil absorption. Septic tanks are used when a piped wastewater collection system is not available to carry them to a treatment plant. A settling tank in which settled sludge is in immediate contact with sewage flowing through the tank, and wherein solids are decomposed by anaerobic bacterial action. (INAC Protocol for Centralised Wastewater)
Septic system: A combination of underground pipe(s) and holding tank(s) which are used to hold, decompose, and clean wastewater for subsurface disposal. (Bow River, cited in Alberta Glossary)
Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR): A treatment technology used to treat wastewater classified as mechanical treatment.
Sewage treatment plant (STP) (also known as Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) or Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP)): Facility designed to treat wastewater (sewage) by removing materials that may damage water quality and threaten public health. (Ontario Ministry of Environment)
Sewage treatment systems: Facility or system designed to treat wastewater (sewage) by removing materials that may damage water quality and threaten public health. (Ontario Ministry of Environment)
Shoot-out: A septic system consisting of a septic tank with untreated wastewater effluent being discharged to the surface; this poses a health risk.
Sludge: The accumulated wet or dry solids that are separated from wastewater during treatment. This includes precipitates resulting from the chemical or biological treatment of wastewater. (Government of Alberta, Activities, cited in Alberta Glossary)
Source Classification: The determination of the water source classification in this assessment includes the options of: surface water, groundwater, GUDI or MTA. Surface water includes water from lakes or rivers; groundwater includes any well water that is not influenced by surface water infiltration; GUDI is any groundwater source under the direct influence of surface water; MTA as a source refers to the community acquiring the treated water from a municipality.
Source risk: The risk inherent in the quality and quantity of the raw source water prior to treatment.
Source Water Protection: 1. The prevention of pollution of the lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams, and groundwater that serve as sources of drinking water. Wellhead protection would be an example of a source water protection approach that protects groundwater sources, whereas management of land around a lake or reservoir used for drinking water would be an example for surface water supplies. Source water protection programs typically include: delineating source water protection areas; identifying sources of contamination; implementing measures to manage these changes; and planning for the future. (North American Lake Management Society, cited in Alberta Glossary)
2. Action taken to control or minimize the potential for introduction of chemicals or contaminants in source waters, including water used as a source of drinking water (Alberta Environment, Standards and Guidelines, cited in Alberta Glossary).
SPS: An abbreviation of the term sewage pumping station.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): An SOP is a written document or instruction detailing all steps and activities of a process or procedure. This would include all procedures used in water/wastewater treatment processes that could affect the quality.
Standpipe Storage: An above-grade storage facility where the storage volume is contained within the entirety of the structure. This type of storage is most feasible for use where there is sufficient change in the topography to allow for maximum usable volume in the standpipe.
Storage Type: Refers to whether the community water storage is via grade-level, below-grade or elevated storage (including standpipes and towers). In some cases there is no storage thus the storage type would be considered "direct pump."
Surface water: Surface water is any water that is obtained from sources, such as lakes, rivers, and reservoirs that are open to the atmosphere. (INAC, Protocol for Centralised Drinking Water)
System Designer: A system designer is a person, such as a professional engineer, who is qualified to design a water or wastewater systems. (INAC, Protocol for Centralised Drinking Water)
System Operator: A system operator is a First Nation employee or third party under contract to a First Nation who is tasked with managing a water or wastewater system. (INAC, Protocol for Centralised Drinking Water)
System Manager: A system manager is a First Nation employee or third party under contract to a First Nation who is tasked with managing a water or wastewater system. (INAC, Protocol for Centralised Drinking Water)
Tertiary Treatment: Selected biological, physical, and chemical separation processes to remove organic and inorganic substances that resist conventional treatment practices. Tertiary Treatment processes may consist of flocculation basins, clarifiers, filters, and chlorine basins or ozone or ultraviolet radiation processes. Tertiary techniques may also involve the application of wastewater to land to allow the growth of plants to remove plant nutrients. Can include advanced nutrient removal processes. (North American Lake Management Society, cited in Alberta Glossary)
Trihalomethanes (THMs): Chemical compounds that can be formed when water is disinfected using chlorine or bromine as the chemical disinfection agent. These chemical compounds are formed when organic material present in the raw source water reacts with chlorine or bromine. Therefore, THMs are classified as disinfection by-products (DBPs). The primary source of organic material comes from decaying vegetation found in lakes, rivers and streams and for this reason, THMs are more commonly observed in water systems that use a surface water source. The four chemical compounds that are measured and used to calculate total THMs are: chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane (BDCM) and chlorodibromomethane (CDBM). THMs are a concern in potable water because there is scientific evidence that they may pose a risk in the development of cancer.
Treatment Certification: The treatment level to which an operator is certified for water treatment and distribution and wastewater treatment and collection systems (see Treatment Classification).
Treatment Classification: The size (flow) and complexity of a water or wastewater system is used to determine the Class of a system using a point template. The knowledge and experience it takes to operate a system is closely related to its classification and is reflected in the level of certification of the operator. Systems that are small and relatively simple, are classified as Small Water or Wastewater Systems. Larger or more complex systems are ranked as Class I, II, III, and IV with the highest being Class IV. Systems should be operated under the supervision of an operator certified to at least the same level of the facility.
TSS (Total Suspended Solids): Measure of the amount of non-dissolved solid material present in water or wastewater. Total suspended solids (TSS) can cause: a) interference with light penetration (in UV applications), b) build-up of sediment and c) can carry nutrients and other toxic pollutants that cause algal blooms and potential reduction in aquatic habitat (wastewater).
Underground Storage: A water storage facility (reservoir/clearwell) which is located 100% below-grade. Often located below the water treatment plant.
Waste: Any solid or liquid material, product, or combination of them that is intended to be treated or disposed of or that is intended to be stored and then treated or disposed. This does not include recyclables. (Government of Alberta, Activities Designation Regulation, cited in Alberta Glossary)
Waste management plan: A Waste Management Plan identifies and describes types of waste generated during operations and how they are managed and disposed of.
Wastewater (Industrial Wastewater, Domestic Wastewater): A combination of liquid and water-carried pollutants from homes, businesses, industries, or farms; a mixture of water and dissolved or suspended solids. (North American Lake Management Society, cited in Alberta Glossary)
Wastewater System: an organized process and associated structures for collecting, treating, and disposing of wastewater. For the purposes of this report, it is a system serving five or more houses. It includes any or all of the following:
- Sewers and pumping stations that make up a wastewater collection system.
- Sewers and pumping stations that transport untreated wastewater from a wastewater collection system to a wastewater treatment plant.
- Wastewater treatment plants.
- Facilities that provide storage for treated wastewater.
- Wastewater sludge treatment and disposal facilities.
- Sewers that transport treated wastewater from a wastewater treatment plant to the place where it is disposed of.
- Treated wastewater outfall facilities, including the outfall structures to a watercourse or any structures for disposal of treated wastewater to land or to wetlands. (Government of Alberta, Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, cited in Alberta Glossary)
Wastewater Treatment: Any of the mechanical, chemical or biological processes used to modify the quality of wastewater (sewage) in order to make it more compatible or acceptable to man and his/her environment. (North American Lake Management System, cited in Alberta Glossary)
Wastewater Treatment Plant: Any structure, thing, or process used for the physical, chemical, biological, or radiological treatment of wastewater before it is returned to the environment. The term also includes any structure, thing, or process used for wastewater storage or disposal, or sludge treatment, storage, or disposal. (Government of Alberta, Activities, cited in Alberta Glossary)
Watermain: A principal pipe in a system of pipes for conveying water, especially one installed underground. (American Heritage Dictionary)
Water quality: The term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually with respect to its suitability for a particular purpose. (INAC, Protocol for Centralised Drinking Water)
Water use: The term water use refers to water that is used for a specific purpose, such as for domestic use, irrigation, or industrial processing. Water use pertains to human interaction with and influence on the hydrolic cycle, and includes elements, such as water withdrawal from surface- and ground-water sources, water delivery to homes and businesses, consumptive use of water, water released from wastewater-treatment plans, water returned to the environment, and in-stream uses, such as using water to produce hydroelectric power. (INAC, Protocol for Centralised Drinking Water)
Water Well: An opening in the ground, whether drilled or altered from its natural state, that is used for the production of groundwater, obtaining data on groundwater, or recharging an underground formation from which groundwater can be recovered. By definition in the provincial Water Act, a water well also includes any related equipment, buildings, and structures. (Government of Alberta, Water for Life, cited in Alberta, Glossary)
Wellhead Protection Area: A protected surface and subsurface zone surrounding a well or well field supplying a public water system to keep contaminants from reaching the well water. (Edwards Aquifier)
Wellhead Protection Plan: A wellhead protection plan defines the wellhead protection area, identifies potential sources of contamination, manages the potential contaminant sources including properly decommissioning abandoned wells, identifies emergency and contingency plans (i.e. what to do if the well becomes contaminated or requires additional capacity) and provides overall public awareness.
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