June 13, 2002

York Region municipal water supplies not part of MDS probe


NEWMARKET - In response to the announcement that some Ontario communities may have been subject to incomplete water testing by a private lab, The Regional Municipality of York assures residents that municipal water supplies in York Region are not affected.

York Region municipal water is not tested for bacteriological analysis by MDS Laboratory Services, the private lab named in the investigation. York Region and its nine area municipalities use the accredited York-Durham Regional Environmental Laboratory in Pickering. Provincial legislation requires that water samples be analyzed by methods and laboratories accredited by the Standards Council of Canada or equivalent. All samples must be tested for total coliforms as well as Escherichia coli and/or fecal coliforms.

In an alert issued yesterday by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MOEE), an immediate review of test results from MDS Laboratory Services has been ordered looking for possible water testing irregularities on 67 municipalities that use the London MDS lab. A provincial inspection report filed on the London MDS lab states that laboratory operational practices were found not to be done in accordance with accredited methods.

"Residents can be assured that York Region municipal water is safe," said Dr. Helena Jaczek, York Region Medical Officer of Health and Commissioner of Health Services. "Our municipal water is tested by an accredited laboratory unrelated to MDS Laboratory Services."

"York Region's municipal water supply is of excellent quality and there is no cause for concern," commented Kees Schipper, Commissioner of York Region Transportation and Works. "Our municipal water is routinely tested in accordance with the Ontario Drinking Water Standards."

Owners of regulated, non-municipal waterworks known to be using the London MDS lab are being alerted by the MOEE of possible incomplete water testing. York Region Health Services has identified the local facilities that are affected by this alert. Public Health Inspectors are testing the water supplies at these locations today to verify safe drinking water quality. These water samples will be delivered to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care laboratory for analysis.

For information on this or any other health-related issue, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 (toll free) or 905-895-8004. For details on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.region.york.on.ca.


The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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