Flouride again: Legality and pump breakdowns

I was at Scott Witmer’s ward meeting and several constituents were worried about Carole Clinch’s claim that the Region of Waterloo is illegally adding flouride to the municipal water. I will give staff’s response in a moment.

First, the big article in the Chronicle about the flouride pumps breaking down and flouride not being added to the Waterloo Water for six months. Staff (Water and Public Health) was supposed to tell us about this when the problem passed 90 days.

This was all dealt with by council last November and hands were slapped. New communication protocols between Water Services and Public Health have been put in place to prevent this communication breakdown from happening again.

No secrets, no need for an access to information request for staff e-mails.

Once again, I point out that the Ministry of Enviroment closely checks Regional water and any problem with bacteria, etc. must be reported immediately to them. A fine for the only breach, a 48 hour pump of unchlorinated water into Cambridge water a few years ago.The problem has been fixed. The water itself was as pure as bottled water, but nevertheless. 

We actually had a report at Planning and Works this week about a survey and test of local private homeowner wells (people not getting muncipal water). About half had bacteria in them or nitrites.


Anyway, here is the staff response to the illegality of flouride and the federal Ministry of Health.

Hello Jane
Here is an extract from the health Canada website on their role with respect to water Quality.
“Water QualityClean water is essential to life. Our health and well-being depend on it.
In Canada, all levels of government play a role to make sure our water supplies are safe. While provincial and territorial governments are generally in charge of making sure our water supplies are safe, the federal government has a number of responsibilities in this area.
Health Canada’s Role
Health Canada is involved in many activities related to water quality, including:

Developing national drinking water guidelines with provincial and territorial drinking water authorities
Providing emergency advice in cases of drinking water contamination, when requested by another government department or agency
Developing guidelines for water used for recreational activities, such as lakes where people swim
Ensuring the safety of drinking water on cruise ships, airlines, passenger ferries, trains, and other common carriers
Working with other departments to make sure all federal government employees have access to safe drinking water in their workplaces
Working with First Nations communities south of 60 degrees parallel to ensure that drinking water quality monitoring programs are in place on their lands
Regulating the safety and quality of bottled water, prepackaged ice, and water used in food processing
Working in collaboration with partners and stakeholders on broader water quality issues, including the development of water policies and research priorities”

Use of hydrofluorosilicic is not illegal. The province sets standards for fluoride and the Region’s certificate of approval includes the use of hydrofluorosilicic acid. 

The Waterloo Article speaks about the food and drug act and the requirements under it.  Municipal drinking water is not regulated under the food and drug act. Another quote from Health Canada .

“While bottled water is regulated federally as a food the tap water distributed by municipalities is regulated by the appropriate province or territory. However, Health Canada is involved in the development of the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. These Guidelines are developed through the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water which includes members from the provinces, territories and Health Canada’s Healthy Environment and Consumer Safety Branch. They contain guidelines for microbiological, chemical, physical and radiological contaminants. For each contaminant, the Guidelines establish the maximum acceptable concentration of the substance that can be permitted in water used for drinking. They are used by the provinces and territories as the basis for their own drinking water standards.”

The provisions of the Food and drug act wouldn’t be applicable to municipal drinking water.

 Actually, the provisions of the Food and Drug act that cover bottled water are LESS stringent than the provincial regulations for municipal water.

Not saying how you should vote in the referendum, just trying to keep information correct.




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