Drinking Water

​The Chatham-Kent Public Utilities Commission (CK PUC) maintains a modern, sophisticated drinking water system to ensure that all residents can rely on a water supply that is both plentiful and safe.


Chatham-Kent's water systems draw from both surface water and groundwater sources. The CK PUC treats the water before it is distributed. CK PUC employees conduct over 125,000 tests a year to ensure that the quality of water delivered to your home meets or exceeds all health-based federal guidelines and provincial/federal standards.

The CK PUC operates the following drinking-water systems:

Surface-water Facilities

  • Chatham, which includes Thamesville and Dresden
  • South Chatham-Kent
  • Wallaceburg
  • Wheatley

Ground-water Facilities

  • Ridgetown, which includes Highgate

Stand-alone Distribution System

  • Bothwell

Drinking Water Characteristics

In Ontario, rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs and wells provide drinking water.
As water travels through the ground or over the surface, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals and radioactive materials and can absorb substances resulting from the presence of animal or human activity.


Categories of substances that may be present in source waters include:

  • Microbiological substances
  • Inorganic substances
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Organic substances
  • Radioactive materials

Inorganic parameters – Physical/chemical

Physical/chemical parameters, for the most part, are naturally occurring in the source water. The water treatment process is designed to reduce the levels of these parameters.


Metals, for the most part, are naturally present in source water or are the result of industrial activity. Some, such as copper and lead, may enter the drinking water from the plumbing in the distribution system.

Taste and Odour

Taste and odour episodes in drinking water have become more prevalent in Ontario in the past five years. The cause is due to the decomposition of blue-green algae and generally occurs after the algae blooms in the late summer.

Special Health Concerns

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immunocompromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.

Hardness and Water Quality

Hardness is due to the presence of metal ions that come from minerals dissolved in the water. Hardness is based on the ability of these ions to react with soap, to form a precipitate or soap scum.

In freshwater, the primary ions are calcium and magnesium, however, iron and manganese may contribute to hardness.

Soft Water - 0 to 17.1mg/L (0 to 1 grain/gallon)
Slightly Hard Water - 17.1 to 51.3mg/L (1 to 3.5 grains/gallon)
Moderately Hard Water - 51.3 to 119.7mg/L (3.5 to 7 grains/gallon)
Hard Water - 119.7 to 179.55 mg/L (7 to 10.5 grains/gallon)
Very Hard Water - over 179.55 mg/L (over 10.5 grains/gallon)

CK PUC Operational Plan

The purpose of this Operational Plan is to describe the comprehensive Drinking Water Quality Management System (DWQMS) developed and implemented by the Public Utilities Commission for the CK PUC. For further information or a copy of the DWQMS Operational Plan, please contact us at 519-360-1998.

The DWQMS Operational Plan covers the activities and personnel associated with all operational aspects of the drinking water systems for the CK PUC. The drinking water systems are identified by the following waterworks numbers:

Chatham-Kent Surface Treatment and Distribution System

  • South Chatham-Kent Drinking Water System - WW # 260024999
  • Wheatley Drinking Water System - WW # 220003332 
  • Chatham Drinking Water System - WW # 220003378
  • Wallaceburg Drinking Water System - WW # 220003341

Bothwell Distribution System - WW # 260002551 

Ridgetown Well Supply and Distribution System - WW # 220003369