Drinking Water

Safe drinking water is important to our health and quality of life. In Waterloo Region we have access to high quality drinking water.

Residents of Waterloo Region may get their drinking water from:


Municipal Supply

Most people in Waterloo Region get their water from their municipality. These water supplies are tested regularly to ensure quality and safety and must meet the high levels of quality legislated by the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Region of Waterloo is responsible for water treatment and the operation and maintenance of the water main network that distributes treated water. Residents with municipal water live in cities or towns in Waterloo Region.


Private Wells  

Private wells are found throughout Waterloo Region, usually in rural and agricultural areas. Private wells are often the drinking water source for a household and sometimes supply multiple buildings (e.g. house, barn, workshop, etc.).

Well Water Fact Sheet

Why should I test my water? 
Owners of private drinking water wells are responsible for testing their own drinking water. Without testing there is no way to know if your private well water is safe to drink. 
What should I test for? 

Public Health recommends private well owners test for bacteria (i.e. E. coli and coliforms) as well as nitrates and fluoride.

Bacteria, nitrates, and fluoride can exist in well water at some level. Unsafe levels of bacteria, nitrates and fluoride can make your water unsafe to drink.

Testing for bacteria is free and is funded by Public Health Ontario.

Testing for nitrates or fluoride is $19.05 each.

How often should I test? 

Public Health recommends that private well water be tested for bacteria at least three times per year in:

  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Fall

Nitrates and fluoride should be tested once per year.

For more information on how to test your well water, read Take a Drinking Water Sample.

Need a reminder to test your private well water? You can sign up here for an email reminder

Where can I drop off water samples for testing

Note: All completed samples must be dropped off within 24 hours of taking the sample.

Rural Locations 

You can drop off well water samples for bacterial testing on Tuesdays at the township (rural) locations below.

Drop-off for nitrate/fluoride testing is only available on the last Tuesday of each month at all locations. 

Location

Address

Township of North Dumfries Municipal Office

2958 Greenfield Road, Ayr

Township of Wellesley Municipal Office

4639 Lobsinger Line, St. Clements

Township of Wilmot Municipal Office 

60 Snyder's Road West, Baden

Township of Woolwich Community Health Centre

10 Parkside Drive, St. Jacobs

Township of Woolwich Municipal Office

24 Church Street West, Elmira

Urban Locations

You can drop off well water samples for bacterial testing Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the urban locations below.

Drop-off for nitrate/fluoride testing is only available on the last Tuesday of each month at all locations. 

Location

Address

Public Health, Main Floor Reception

99 Regina Street South, Waterloo

Public Health, Main Floor Reception

150 Main Street, Cambridge

Where can I get water sample bottles? 

Bottles may be picked up any day during regular business hours from the following locations. 

Rural Locations 

Location

Address

Township of North Dumfries Municipal Office

2958 Greenfield Road, Ayr

Township of Wellesley Municipal Office

4639 Lobsinger Line, St. Clements

Township of Wilmot Municipal Office

60 Snyder's Road West, Baden

Township of Woolwich Municipal Office

24 Church Street West, Elmira

Sample bottles are also available for pick-up only from the Region of Waterloo Library.

 

Urban Locations

Location

Address

Public Health, Main Floor Reception

99 Regina Street South, Waterloo

Public Health, Main Floor Reception

150 Main Street, Cambridge

What do the test results mean? 

Test results are usually available two to four business days after you drop off your sample. Results for nitrate/fluoride tests may take up to four weeks. To learn about what your test results mean, visit Public Health Ontario's Get and Understand your Test Results webpage.

Call 519-575-4400 to speak with a public health inspector if you have questions about your test results. 

Well water after a flood 

After a flood, your well/cistern water may be contaminated with bacteria and chemicals that can make you sick. First steps you need to take:

  • Stop using your well water for drinking, cooking, and washing yourself.
  • Use bottled water. Boiling water for at least one minute is only safe if the well/cistern is not contaminated with chemicals or heavily polluted with sewage.

Remember, drinking water includes water used for drinking, making artificial milk (formula) for babies, juice, and ice cubes; washing fruit and vegetables; and brushing your teeth.

Stay away from your well pump when it is flooded—you could get an electric shock. Hire a certified well contractor to check your well and its wiring and to restart the well pump after a flood, if needed.

Do not drink the water or use it for food preparation until laboratory testing shows that it is safe for drinking. 


Small Drinking Water Systems

Small drinking water systems are private water systems, not provided by the municipal supply and available to the public. They can include but are not limited to:

  • Motels
  • Bed and breakfasts
  • Restaurants
  • Gas stations
  • Trailer parks or campgrounds
  • Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples or other places of worship

Owners of small drinking water systems are required to follow Small Drinking Water Regulations and test their water to ensure it is safe to drink.


Additional Resources

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