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May 25, 2000
Toronto Tap Water is Safe to Drink
Works and Emergency Services - Residents of the City of Toronto and
York Region can have complete assurance in the safety of the drinking water.
The City of Toronto's four water treatment plants have highly effective water
treatment and quality assurance processes in place to ensure the absence of
E.coli and other disease-causing bacteria in tap water. Continuous
disinfection using a super-chlorination process kills any bacteria that are
present in the lake water.

Unlike the well-water supply to the Town of Walkerton, Toronto's drinking water
comes from Lake Ontario through intake pipes that are one to three kilometres
away from shore and at a depth of 15 metres. The city's Quality Assurance Unit
samples the treated drinking water every four hours to confirm the absence of
bacteria. The city conducts more than 13,000 bacteriological tests at the
filtration plants every year. Additionally, approximately 10,000
bacteriological tests are performed on water samples collected from the
distribution system to ensure that degradation does not occur following
treatment. Toronto's drinking water always meets or exceeds the Ministry of
the Environment's Ontario Drinking Water Objectives. The city has established
its own water-quality objectives for specific parameters that are more
stringent than the provincial objectives.

Any irregularities in a water sample are immediately referred to Toronto's
Medical Officer of Health for notification of the public if necessary.

"Toronto Public Health has total confidence in the quality of Toronto's
drinking water. Works and Emergency Services notifies us immediately if there
is a problem and corrective measures are taken," said Dr. Sheela Basrur,
Medical Officer of Health, City of Toronto. She added, "there have been no
unusual occurrences of E.coli in Toronto and no E.coli outbreaks this year. If
people experience bloody diarrhoea they should see a physician immediately.

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