Markham ensures residents have safe drinking water

By Connor Simonds, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

No need to worry when quenching your thirst with Markham’s drinking water.

The City of Markham recently released its Annual Water Quality Report for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2022. This comprehensive report provides an overview of the city’s water sampling program, compliance with regulations, testing procedures, corrective actions, and the overall quality of drinking water distributed to residents.

Markham’s commitment to delivering safe and clean drinking water is highlighted, showcasing its rigorous testing and maintenance procedures.

Markham follows the Ontario Drinking Water System Regulation, conducting water sampling at 107 strategically selected locations within its distribution system.

These samples are tested for various parameters, including chlorine residual, bacteria, trihalomethanes (THM), haloacetic acids (HAA), nitrites and nitrates, lead, and organics and inorganics. The sampling process is carried out by licensed waterworks operators and analyzed by accredited laboratories to ensure compliance with Ontario Regulation 170/03.

In 2022, Markham collected and tested a total of 7,126 water samples. Of these, only 13 samples (0.18 per cent) showed adverse water quality incidents (AWQI).

The breakdown of adverse results reveals that 12 incidents were related to microbiological exceedances, while one incident was due to low chlorine residual.

Markham reported any adverse sampling results to the York Region Medical Officer of Health and the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and took immediate corrective action.

In many cases, the corrective action was to flush the pipes and re-sample until two consecutive samples met acceptable parameters. Eddy Wu, the acting commissioner of community services said, “When you flush the water main we want to flush the stagnant water and bring new fresh water into it and immediately we collect a sample …99 per cent of the time the resampling will pass.” He added that stagnant water can build up in new developments with commissioned water mains with little or no demand.

Markham’s water system, serving 356,060 residents, is an extension of the Toronto and York Region systems. Lake Ontario water undergoes rigorous disinfection and treatment before reaching Markham via feeder mains from Toronto and Peel Region. York Region system provides additional testing, storage, and pressure boosting.

In 2022, Markham invested in maintaining a reliable water distribution system through expenses such as water main rehabilitation, meter upgrades, and inspections. These investments demonstrate the city’s commitment to efficiency and reliability.

The city conducted extensive testing of inorganic and organic parameters to monitor the water quality during the reporting period. The results demonstrated compliance with regulatory standards, with no exceedances in parameters such as antimony, arsenic, barium, boron, cadmium, chromium, mercury, selenium, sodium, uranium, fluoride, nitrite, and nitrate. The report also highlighted the reduced lead testing granted for plumbing and distribution locations, ensuring the safety of drinking water in accordance with O. Reg. 170/03.

Markham’s 2022 Annual Water Quality Report highlights its dedication to delivering safe and clean drinking water. Through rigorous sampling, regulatory compliance, prompt corrective actions, and ongoing maintenance, the water distribution system consistently meets the highest quality standards.

With minimal incidents and swift resolutions, residents can trust in the safety and reliability of their drinking water. Markham remains committed to investing in enhancements and programs to meet evolving community needs and further improve water quality.

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