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Drinking Water & Wastewater Effluent Monitoring

Drinking Water

Drinking Water Monitoring

The District is fortunate to have clean lakes and rivers to supply drinking water to thousands of residents. Across Muskoka, residents get their drinking water from a range of sources including wells, seasonal lake-intake pipes or, for those in certain areas, through the District's municipal water treatment processes.

For municipal treated water, several processes occur before the water comes out of your tap, starting with monitoring.

In Muskoka,  water is drawn into water treatment plants from intake pipes from our local lakes or rivers. This ‘raw’ water is monitored daily for turbidity, pH, temperature, and dissolved oxygen levels to ensure that the treatment process is set appropriately. Also, water is tested for microcystins, the toxin produced by blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), at the intake site four to five times a month between May and October. To date, microcystins have not been detected near drinking water intake zones. In the event that microcystins are detected, water treatment processes will be adjusted to mitigate concerns. 

For more information on drinking water monitoring and the treatment process, check out the annual compliance reports.

Wastewater Effluent Monitoring

Muskoka is known for its clean lakes and rivers. Wastewater treatment operators are certainly doing their part in making sure Muskoka’s waters remain as clean as possible!

Some Muskoka residents are connected to the District’s sanitary sewer system. When toilets are flushed or sinks are drained, this water eventually enters local lakes and rivers. Before this happens, however, the wastewater undergoes a number of treatment processes, including the removal contaminants such as phosphorus and nitrogen. Without proper treatment, these contaminants could significantly impact water quality, and can make it unsuitable for swimming, fishing, and other recreational activities.

For that reason, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) sets phosphorus and nitrogen limits in wastewater effluent. The District  is proud to continuously be well under the permitted limits. For example, in Bracebridge, the allowable limit for phosphorus wastewater effluent is 0.40 milligrams per litre. However, in 2020, the yearly average phosphorus was only 0.06 milligrams per litre.

Similarly, the allowable limit for nitrogen in Bracebridge is 5.0 milligrams per litre in the summer and 10 milligrams per litre in the winter; the yearly average in 2020 was only 0.23 milligrams per liter.

This management of phosphorus and nitrogen in wastewater effluent means that lake water quality in Muskoka is protected, allowing everyone to swim freely, fish, and play in the water, and that wildlife, too, can enjoy a healthy watershed.

The District of Muskoka reports annually on phosphorus levels in lakes across the watershed and the Muskoka Watershed Council includes phosphorus as an environmental health indicator through the Muskoka Watershed Report Card. Click this link for more information on how much phosphorus is in your local lakes.

Check out the Water and Sewer page for more information.

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