February 19, 2009
Media Release

The Regional Municipality of York remains at forefront of protecting drinking water sources

York Regional Council activate provincial funding initiative
NEWMARKET – York Regional Council today continued its environmental leadership role by endorsing the Wellhead Protection Areas for York Region and Intake Protection Zones for Lake Simcoe intakes.  This endorsement allows homeowners and municipalities to pursue funding opportunities through the Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program.
This program is designed to protect our drinking water sources by providing funds for upgrading wells and septic systems to those residents living in areas designated as being close to municipal wells or water intakes.
The Regional Municipality of York receives its drinking water from three sources:  groundwater, surface water from Lake Simcoe or Lake Ontario or from a combination of lake and groundwater.  Currently, there are 37 active groundwater wells providing drinking water to more than 200,000 residents.  Groundwater is also the source of drinking water for thousands of our residents maintaining their own private wells.
“Protecting our drinking water sources is a fundamental obligation,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “By endorsing these key areas, Council continues our role as environmental stewards by helping our residents and municipalities receive funding for projects designed to keep our drinking water safe.” 
Eligible activities for funding include:
• Well upgrades and well decommissioning
• Septic system upgrades and repairs
• Runoff and erosion measures
• Pollution prevention review for small and medium-sized businesses
• Fuel storage management practices
• Agriculture activities including manure storage, handling and treatment
Funding through the Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program is currently limited to areas within the two-year time of travel of a wellhead protection area and the intake protection zone for surface water systems.   These areas are most at risk of contamination by pollution. 
“This initiative provides a cost-effective opportunity for our residents to become more environmentally aware by taking part in a larger project to benefit our communities,” said Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Wayne Emmerson, Chair of the Region’s Transportation and Works Committee.  “During this time of economic uncertainty, these funding dollars are more than welcome.”
York Region is committed to continue working with the province, Conservation Authorities and local municipalities to ensure the continued health and safety of our drinking water supplies.
For more information on this program is available at http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/water/cleanwater/index.php

For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
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Media Contact: Barbara Moss, Communications Specialist, Corporate Communications, York Region
                      Phone: 905 830-4444 / toll-free 1-877-464-9675, Ext. 1237
                      Cell: 905 505-5775 / Email: barbara.moss@york.ca

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