Applying for Non-Potable Water Supply Designation

Please Note: at this time this is option is only a consideration for small outfitting operations, that do not have a Public Eating Establishment licence and are fly-in only.

Please fill out the following form titled: "Non-potable Water Questionnaire" and then contact your district Public Health Inspector to discuss further.

Here are some factors that are considered when making the decision of whether or not a water system can be designated as non-potable:

  • logistical challenges due to remote location. There is very limited access in and out of these facilities, typically only once a week by a bush plane;
  • extremely difficult to submit bacteriological samples to an accredited laboratory within 24-48 hours and logistical challenges are compounded when trying to submit two samples 24 hours apart to lift an advisory/order;
  • difficult to operate a water treatment plant with intermittent power typically provided by an onsite generator;
  • facilities can typically only access surface water supplies that require more extensive treatment requirements*;
  • a history of non-compliance despite extensive education and enforcement efforts;
  • facilities generally operate for six or less weeks (late-May to early-July) a year with limited clientele;
  • many fly-in outfitter camps provide limited or no food service to guests**; and,
  • a facility operator is generally not onsite to conduct daily testing, maintenance and required bacteriological sampling.

 *Apart from the typical challenges associated with treating surface water supplies, there may also be special treatment considerations in some areas of the north where heavy metal contamination is a concern.

**If food service is provided to the clientele and the facility is required to have a Public Eating Establisment licence as per The Food Safety Regulations, then the facility CANNOT be considered for non-potable designation. A licensed public eating establishment requires a potable water supply. However, if guests are expected to cook for themselves, then a public eating establishment licence would not be required; therefore, the public water supplies can be considered a candidate for non-potable designation.

Requirements of a Non-Potable Water Supply System

If your district Public Health Inspector accepts the application for non-potable designation, the owner/operator will be required to do the following:

  • formally declare the system as non-potable by submitting the non-potable declaration form obtained from your district Public Health Inspector;
  • post all taps at the facility as being non-potable and inform all guests the water is not suitable for drinking without boiling for one minute;
  • explain to the guests what the water can safely be put to use for; and,
  • provide guests with a safe, reliable, and convenient source of potable water.

Stickers for posting at taps can be obtained through your district Public Health Inspector or at the Northern Population Health Unit office.