Media Releases

Health Unit

The following information has been provided to MOECC staff who may receive inquiries relating to Wells:


After flooding, well owners should take actions to:

  • make their water supplies safe for consumption; and
  • protect the groundwater resource used as a source of drinking water.

When a water supply well has been affected by flood waters, the water within a well may be contaminated with waterborne pathogens (germs) that can cause serious illness in humans and pets. The water in the well can also be contaminated by debris, fuel oil or other chemical products released during the flood.

During flooding, the ground around the well may also erode, possibly creating unsafe conditions or a pathway for surface water and contaminants to enter the well.  In other cases, the electrical wires attached to the pump in a well may be damaged risking electrocution.  Therefore, well owners should exercise extreme caution approaching their wells, especially older, large diameter dug wells after a flood.

If a well owner believes that the well has been contaminated by flood water, the well owner should discontinue using the water in the well for drinking and cooking purposes and use potable water from another source.

Under the Wells Regulation [R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 903 (Wells) as amended made under the Ontario Water Resources Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O. 40]:

  • the well owner must maintain the well to prevent the entry of surface water and other foreign materials. 
  • if laboratory analysis of water samples from the well show the well is producing water that is not potable, then the well owner must contact the local Medical Officer of Health (MOH) and follow his or her advice or immediately abandon the well.  As an alternative to contacting the MOH, the well owner could contact the Director appointed under the Wells Regulation at 1-888-396-9355 (WELL) for written consent not to abandon the well.

To bring a well back into service safely, a well owner should consider contacting:

  • a qualified registered professional (e.g. professional engineer or professional geoscientist) or a licensed well driller to evaluate and service a drilled well;
  • a qualified registered professional or a licensed well digger to evaluate and service a dug well;
  • a licensed pump installer and, if necessary a certified electrician, to evaluate and service the well pump. 

Note - A residential private well owner can work on and disinfect his or her own well.  However, there are some safety considerations when working on a well and many technical steps needed to properly clean and disinfect a well.  Therefore, the well owner should consider retaining the services of a qualified professional or qualified technician as noted above.

If the well structure, pump and surrounding ground surface have been repaired or are deemed sound, the water in the well should be pumped and disinfected by a licensed well technician as outlined in Chapter 8: Well Disinfection of the Water Supply Wells – Requirements and Best Management Practices manual published by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, revised 2015. 

The Well Disinfection chapter of the manual provides the following steps to properly disinfect a well:

  • Initial steps which include:
    • following sanitary practices
    • removing any debris from a well
  • Thorough flushing of the well
  • Treatment with a properly prepared chlorine solution, i.e. “shock” chlorination
  • Discharge of heavily chlorinated water from the well and the plumbing
  • Collection and analysis of water samples for indicator bacterial parameters

The Well Disinfection chapter of the manual is available at the following website:

A synopsis of the Well Disinfection chapter for interested well owners is provided in the Wells Regulation – Well Disinfection 2011 technical bulletin and is available at the following website:

Information on proper well maintenance, and other well related topics, is available on the website at:


Rideau Valley Conservation Authority

Rain Causing Higher Water Levels in Rideau River Watershed

July 14, 2017 – Above normal rain has received plenty of attention over recent weeks with close to a normal month worth of rain having fallen at several monitoring locations in the Rideau watershed in half the month of July. Most extreme is at the Ottawa Airport where 109 millimetres (mm) has fallen to date where 92 mm is the 30 year historical average. Normal precipitation on the watershed to mid-July is about 504 mm. This year, an average of 729 mm has been recorded.

After relatively high spring levels in April on Rideau watershed streams and lakes, rainfall has continued to keep levels above normal. The flow at the Rideau at Ottawa monitoring station reached about 160 cubic metres per second (cms) flow on July 3. The previous July highest recorded flow was 98 cms in 2008.

The Jock River has been unusually high compared to normal throughout the spring and early summer. The third peak of the year was also the highest on record for July, reaching 64 cms on July 3 as compared to 23 cms in July of 2009.

The snowmelt peak on Kemptville Creek of 56 cms on April 7 was below the highest recorded flow of 80 cms in 1972. The second peak on May 8, however, was about 45 cms, almost twice the previously recorded May high of 24 cms. Unlike what is ongoing on the Jock River, Kemptville Creek flows have not challenged previous records in July with relatively less rain falling in the headwater areas than in other locations in the watershed. Rainfall at the Brockville Airport climate station is at a surplus for the year to date of 52 mm with July rainfall

Similarly, recent July rains in the Tay River watershed have not been as heavy as in the Jock or Lower Rideau. The Rideau Canal reservoir lakes, Big Rideau, Upper Rideau, Wolfe and Bobs, are presently close to the respective targets. The outflow from Bobs Lake is still slightly above normal for the time of year. Fortunately, levels on Christie Lake are not being adversely affected unlike when close to 170 mm of rain was recorded at the monitoring station at Bobs Lake over the first week of May that did cause flooding issues on Christie Lake.

The impact of all the rain is obvious throughout the watershed with ponded water on many farm fields. Some golf courses and playing fields are unplayable. Residences and other buildings, some not close to a stream, are contending with saturated soils that are causing seepage through basement walls and floors.

Flows continue to be above normal throughout the watershed. July is typically a dry month, normal flow on the Jock River is about 1.7 cms but is well above that today at 30 cms. Rideau at Ottawa is about ten times normal for this date. Kemptville Creek is nine times normal. The Tay River flow in Perth is somewhat less at only twice normal. All flows will remain relatively high as long as the rain persists which is for the foreseeable future.

We are still encouraging the public to tag us or share photos of water conditions in their area at RVCA Facebook (RideauValleyConservationAuthority) and Twitter (@RideauValleyCA).

For water level and flow information in the Rideau system as well as the Ottawa River, visit the RVCA Streamflows and Water Levels webpage at .

For more information about conditions on the Ottawa River, check the webpage of the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board at


About the Small Business Advisory Centre Smiths Falls/Lanark County:

The SBAC offers free information and advisory services for anyone interested in starting their own small business and for existing small business operators. The office offers a walk-in resource centre with business literature and advisory materials. The Centre is an initiative of the Ontario Government and partners with the Town of Smiths Falls and the County of Lanark.  A counselor is available (free) by appointment for one-on-one sessions. The Centre provides a number of business seminars throughout the year, check out our website at For more info call 613-283-7002 ext.108/109 or email