- The emphasis
will be on reviewing the current state of the art in engineering,
science, management etc., rather than performing original research.
Where the literature is ample, citing and summarizing it is
better than drafting anew. Readers will be intelligent non-specialists
will lie with the Crown in right of Ontario, but authors are
encouraged to publish elsewhere after final acceptance by
the Inquiry, if they wish, and will have a royalty-free license
to do so.
of social risks
backgrounder. Reprise theory of rational risk management,
enrich with attitudinal information regarding probability
and severity of bad outcomes. Sketch how applied in water
supply management; examples of best practices. Show implications
for budgetary allocations given equimarginality of risk reduction
as a criterion.
of drinking water management in Ontario
laws, regulations; key individuals; scientific, funding and
other resources. The whole story, including provincial and
(generic) municipal entities and all regulatory and accrediting
bodies, with the last 20 years in some detail. Funding, efficiency
and effectiveness evaluations where available, workload, personnel
turnover rates, oversight of localities and private sources,
labs, reassignments of duties. Should include "field
work" in key institutions, perhaps interviews with former
employees: MOE and predecessors, MOH, several public utility
commissions. Note timing on parts of this may be dictated
by progress of Part 1. Could be combined with 4.
of drinking water pollution outbreaks in Ontario
on threats to health. What, when, where, why; non-fatal and
chronic as well as acute; institutional responses at all levels
of government. Boil-water advisories. Particular attention
to pathogens. Costs, impacts and consequences where available.
General report, not specific to Walkerton.
machinery of government
laws and institutions of Ontario conduce to the primacy of
clean water among other public goods? Is water supply given
an appropriate priority in land use planning? Are there particular
regulations, practices or institutional arrangements that
stand in the way of high quality source waters? What changes
might be made without sacrificing other important objectives
(or what might be the price of change)? What has been the
effect of the recent downloadings/changes in responsibilities
– and what reinvestment and retraining may be required by
these changes? (Note timing of parts of this may be dictated
by events in Part 1.)
in Ontario/Canada; basis in risk assessment: descriptive background
paper, with comparisons with excellent standard-setting systems
elsewhere. Microbiological hazards, present and potential,
in Ontario drinking water sources – bacteria, viruses and
protozoa. Consequences (quantified risk measures where possible)
for population health, including especially vulnerable groups.
Could be combined with 6.
pollution; sources of contamination
review of quality of source waters, ground and surface; sources
and sinks of major pollutants, both man-made and natural,
point and non-point, as they affect the cost and quality of
drinking water. Remediation practices and possibilities. Particular
attention to pathogens and other contaminants capable of causing
acute public health problems, but including an overview of
other (chemical, physical) health threats. Governing regulations:
describe, assess – with attention to enforcement as well as
rules. Requirements (regulatory, personnel, other costs) to
bring Ontario up to, and maintain, its current standards.
of source and finished water quality
and assess current state of art in Ontario, comparing with
best practices elsewhere, noting time lags; conclude with
principles of good practice and options for implementation
in Ontario (NB not Walkerton-specific). Looking across all
contaminants and sizes of systems, how can measurement lead
to the most risk reduction per dollar spent?
protocols: sites, frequency, reporting and intervention responsibilities
species, risk projection models, new species; risk vs. uncertainty
timeliness, cost, consequences of error
in documentation and in operator training
economies of scale and scope
of drinking water
paper – integration of treatment (including disinfection)
and measurement. Big systems: best practices in bigger cities;
case examples of Toronto and at least one or two other North
American/European cities thought exemplary in the industry;
effects of source quality on cost and risk. Smaller systems.
Best practices, costs and risks, source quality effects on
costs. Private supplies: rural homes, cottages, farms; effects
of source quality on costs/outcomes. (Could be useful to have
a brief early paper on latter, focussing on government role
in providing information and assuring availability of timely
testing.) Role of ISO standards, if any. Implications of non-real-time
measurement. Establish costs in some detail as a function
of system scale and scope, water source, and customer density.
paper. Municipal sewage treatment plants – best practices
v. Ontario norms and actualities, Ontario compared with leading
jurisdictions in terms of standards, technologies, costs,
training, accreditation, testing, audit, public reporting.
The same for rural, untreated industrial, and agricultural
wastes, including those from intensive livestock raising –
best practices abroad (e.g., Netherlands, Denmark, UK, France…Canadian/US
examples). Ontario regulatory system – standards, enforcement;
lacunae, costs to bring Ontario up to present and to world-class
standards. Quantify costs as a function of scale and scope
Ontario system of training and accreditation of operators,
regulators, and public health authorities; likewise approval,
inspection, re-inspection of all critical facilities (water
treatment plants, distribution systems, sewage treatment plants,
testing labs, regulatory oversight labs). Describe (including
costs), assess against exemplary practices elsewhere, note
gaps, suggest principles and concrete options for improvement.
and organizational behaviour
do good people do bad things?" What can be done about
it through organizational design, separation of functions,
leadership, transparency, independence. Are there machinery
of government or public-private implications? What lessons
can be drawn from well-performing organizations, concerned
with analogous areas of public safety? How does one design
for resilience in the face of inevitable error and ignorance?
Why do essentials get under-funded? Compare theory and best
practices elsewhere with the Ontario drinking water reality,
at all scales (but avoid Walkerton specifically).
water supply and treatment is privately provided and publicly
regulated, describe cases (e.g., France, UK, maybe Germany,
Scandinavia, Canada and US), results/outcomes, best practices
in terms of accountability, transparency, regulation, effective
enforcement, costs, public input. Note the elements of accountability
that need to be in place regardless of where the public-private
interface lies or whether it exists at all.
principles for structuring the production, regulation and
financing of potable water, plus concrete alternatives for
the Ontario reality.
action by the public may be called for ("Boil water!"),
what mechanism best balances Type 1 (warning when there is
no danger) and Type 2 (no warning when there is danger) risks?
What happens when one link in the chain balks? Empirically,
how do Ontarians react to warnings – and can public response
be improved through better communications? Distinguishing
between emergency and longer term situations and big city
v. small-town and rural situations, what mechanisms, including
media, messengers and maybe novel technologies, are most effective
in gaining immediate and continuing compliance in public health
crises? When a water crisis occurs, what should be the public
communications obligations of the various officials?
13 The costs of Walkerton
as best as possible the costs and economic losses suffered
by Walkerton-area households and businesses, the ultimate
incidence of those losses and their likely course over time.
Requires also a descriptive essay on personal, non-quantifiable
costs borne by area residents, drawing in part on testimony
at informal July community meetings. (Good answers may
require survey research.)
on 7-9, a paper
focussing on financing (capital and operating) of potable
water treatment and distribution, and sewage collection and
treatment facilities. Recognizing the basic responsibility
of the municipal level of government, examine borrowing and
financial management capacity and costs as a function of size;
suggest any institutional reforms that might improve matters,
especially for smaller systems. Describe the costs and risks
borne by each level of government, and comment on the incentives
created by grant and loan schemes of senior governments. Recognizing
that there is but one rate (or tax) payer, suggest principles
for an infrastructure financing scheme. Model the outcome
in terms of costs that would be borne by households, businesses,
and intensive water users.
The cost of clean water
the investments that need to be made (a) to bring Ontario’s
drinking water up to its own published standards, and (b)
to bring Ontario to the standards of best practices anywhere,
under present institutional arrangements. Suggest alternate
institutional arrangements that could reduce costs. Produce
reasonably detailed alternative plans for attaining (a) and
(b) in terms of capital and O&M costs and personnel as
well as regulatory and institutional reform. Provide detailed
policy options or programming alternatives, taking into account
quality management principles and distributional equity questions.
¹ Dr. George Connell, Prof. Steve E. Hrudey, Prof. William Leiss,
Dr. Doug Macdonald, Prof. Allison McGeer, Prof. Michèle Prévost, Dr. Harry Swain (chair)