Experts say Ottawa's tap water the safest option
Published Monday, November 14, 2011 4:55PM EST
Experts said Ottawa's drinking water goes so far above safety standards that buying bottled water or a water filter is a waste.
The latest round of provincial testing gave Ottawa's municipal water perfect ratings in both quality and safety,
Dr. Roberto Narbaitz is an expert in water treatment at the University of Ottawa and said the amount of work that goes into purifying Ottawa's drinking water makes it a clear choice for consumers over bottled or filtered water.
"The quality is excellent, so it's not needed," he said. "They're preying on the fears of people."
He said the standards the municipality puts on its drinking water puts some bottled waters to shame.
"The level of quality control of bottled waters depends on the firm," he said. "Sometimes it is not as good as you would get from the City of Ottawa."
Ottawa distributes over 340 million litres of water a day – enough to fill 2.3 million bathtubs.
Dr. Narbaitz said their experience helps them refine their water treatment techniques.
"The City of Ottawa has been treating this water for many, many years," he said. "They know the quality of the water and they have been working at it and working to improve their treatment system, so it becomes better."
CTV Ottawa's John Hua visited one of the city's treatment plants to see how the process is done.
First, filters remove sediment from the water before chlorine is added to kill any bacteria.
"It's well above the average, and well above need," said water treatment senior operator Frank Ramsey of the chlorine treatment. "Our virus log inactivation at the plant is required at three and ours is at 15.3."
After chlorination, it's filtered one last time before being delivered to homes, the end of an eight-hour process.
After it leaves the plant, it's tested weekly at 55 sites across the city, so CTV Ottawa went for some of those inspections as well.
Water safety field operator Wade Crites said the water at a Barrhaven station was "extremely high quality," an Orleans school's water had "extremely low" turbidity and a Croydon Avenue fire hall had nothing to worry about.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua
Tomorrow: CTV Ottawa does a taste test with Ottawa's tap water.