Published by the Ministry: July 2016

Changes to the eligibility requirements for the water taking EASR will be in effect on July 1, 2021.

To learn more about these changes, refer to the decision notice on the water taking EASR.

Introduction

Disclaimer

This guide was written to provide information on the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). Its requirements should not be taken as legal advice.

All requirements relating to registration of water taking activities on the EASR are contained in Part II.2 of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA or Act), Ontario Regulation (O. Reg.) 245/11 (Registrations Under II.2 of the Act – General) and O. Reg. 63/16 (Registrations under II.2 of the Act – Water Taking).

Note that references to sections of O. Reg. 245/11, O. Reg. 63/16, O. Reg. 387/04, the EPA, and the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) are made throughout this guide and can be found on Ontario’s e-Laws website.

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) will update this guide regularly to ensure that it provides accurate information and guidance for those intending to register.

While all efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of this guide, if there is any discrepancy between this guide and the Acts or regulations, the provisions of the Acts and regulations prevail.

Purpose

This guide has been developed to provide detailed information about the EASR regulation for the water taking sector and specific requirements for registering prescribed water taking activities.

The three types of water takings that require EASR registration and are discussed in this guide are:

  1. Highway and transit projects
  2. Water taking for construction site dewatering
  3. Water taking for pumping tests

Overview of the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR)

The EASR is an online self-registration system implemented by MECP. If you engage in activities prescribed in the EASR regulations, you must register those activities on the EASR.

Since March 29, 2016, water takings (road construction and construction site dewatering) that meet the criteria in the water taking EASR regulation (O. Reg. 63/16) must be registered in the EASR.

Modifications to the water taking EASR requirements came into effect on July 1, 2021. These updated requirements allow for the self-registration of additional water taking activities such as pumping tests.

As part of these changes, the eligibility criteria and activity requirements for road construction (now “highway projects and transit projects”) and construction site dewatering under the water taking EASR regulation have been updated. Activities that meet the updated eligibility requirements must self-register on the EASR.

Registering on the EASR

If you are engaging in the prescribed water taking activities set out in the water taking EASR regulation, you must register those activities on the EASR. Exceptions may apply if a Director’s order has been issued for your site or if you meet the exemption criteria in the regulation.

The registration process requires you to set up a business profile, provide contact information and confirm eligibility by answering questions about the proposed water taking. Questions are also asked for the purpose of collecting additional information about the activity that may assist the ministry in auditing registrations or conducting other compliance activities. The information also benefits the public who may locate information in the EASR through a search of the ministry’s Access Environment website.

Director’s order for not being required to register on the EASR

Under section 20.18 of the EPA, the Director may issue an order stating that Part II.2 of the Act (the EASR provisions) does not apply in respect of an activity at a site.

If an order is made by the Director, you would not need to register your water taking activities, but may be required to obtain a Permit to Take Water under the OWRA.

For more information, contact the Client Services and Permissions Branch.

Differences between registration in the EASR and a Permit to Take Water (PTTW)

Applying for a Permit to Take Water (permit) involves the submission to the ministry of an application and appropriate scientific evaluation/studies (for Category 3 applications hydrogeological and/or surface water studies are required), among other documents. It is only after the ministry reviews the application and supporting materials and issues a permit that a person may take water in accordance to the issued permit. The permit may contain various conditions that must be complied with.

For additional information about permits, you can review the Permit to Take Water website, or contact the Client Services and Permissions Branch for further assistance.

If the water takings are prescribed by regulation for the purposes of the EASR (highway and transit projects, construction site dewatering and pumping tests), a permit is not required. Instead, the activity must be registered in the EASR by filing information related to eligibility criteria described in the water taking EASR regulation. The registered water taking must continue to meet the criteria set out in the regulation and the water taker must comply with the activity requirements set out in the regulation, including obtaining the required technical assessment plans and reports where applicable.

For prescribed activities that are registered on the EASR, you do not need to obtain a permit for the water taking or an ECA for the discharge of the water that is taken.

Existing permits that are required to register under the EASR regulation

If you currently have a permit that is a prescribed activity under the water taking EASR regulation, you may continue to operate under the permit that was issued prior to July 1, 2021 until it expires.

However, if you make a change that would trigger a permit amendment, then you would be required to register the activity (if eligible) at that time. If you wish, you can also choose to register before the expiry of the permit.

Finding information on current activities registered under the EASR regulation

EASRs are searchable through the ministry’s Access Environment website.

Ensuring compliance with the EASR requirements

The ministry’s compliance approach for water takings prescribed for the EASR will be risk-based in accordance with the ministry’s Compliance Policy. This approach will utilize existing tools to assess and enforce compliance with the regulatory requirements, such as compliance assistance, audits, inspections, voluntary abatement, orders and/or referrals for investigation.

If the requirements of the water taking EASR regulation (or other applicable regulations) are not being met, the ministry will take steps to bring activities into compliance. Compliance tools currently used to enforce conditions in permits can be used by an environmental officer to enforce the regulatory requirements under EASR.

In cases where a business engaging in a prescribed activity has contravened the EPA, the OWRA or a regulation made under either of the Acts, or where the confirmation of registration was provided on the basis of mistaken, false or inaccurate information, the Director, by order, may suspend or remove a registration (Section 20.23 of the EPA).

If a registration is suspended or removed, the person to whom the confirmation of registration had been provided can no longer legally engage in the prescribed activity. A person can request that the suspension be ended, and the Director may do so if the Director is satisfied that the reasons for the suspension no longer exist.

In addition to the compliance actions taken by the ministry, the online EASR provides increased transparency, allowing members of the public to search geographically to find registered water takings that may be of relevance to them.

Ensuring the EASR registration is up-to-date

If any information submitted at the time of registration changes, you must update it within 30 days from the day you become aware that the information is no longer current or accurate.

For example, if the estimated start date and end date of the water taking has changed due to unexpected delays, you must update the estimated start date and end date for each water taking location in the registration.

Once you update your registration, you will receive an updated copy of the EASR confirmation document with the changes that you have provided.

No fee is required to update your EASR registration.

Removing the EASR registration once the water taking ceases

Water taking EASRs do not have expiry dates but are subject to any time limitations imposed by the regulation.

For example, pumping tests conducted under an EASR are limited to seven-day takings within a single 30-day period. The EASR registration can be completed in advanced of the pumping test, and the registration will not expire. However, once the pumping test starts, it must be completed within the time requirements in the regulation. When the pumping test is completed, the water taking that was conducted under the time requirements imposed by the regulation will stop but the EASR registration is still in effect until it is removed.

For all water taking EASR activities, if the activity is no longer being undertaken or is no longer required, then you must request a removal of your EASR from your ministry account.

The removal of your registration does not relieve you from reporting your daily water takings. You are still required to report your water takings for the previous calendar year by March 31 of each year up to the day when your registration is removed.

Summary of the water taking EASR regulation

Introduction

Certain water taking activities have been prescribed by the water taking EASR regulation (O. Reg. 63/16). These prescribed water taking activities require registration in the EASR instead of a permit.

The following water takings are prescribed activities under the water taking EASR regulation:

  • surface water takings that are more than 50,000 L/day for highway projects and transit projects that meet specified criteria about the purpose, rate or location of the water taking
  • construction site dewatering involving more than 50,000 L/day and less than or equal to 400,000 L/day of ground water, where the daily taking limits are applicable to:
    • each area of influence in the construction site if the area of influences do not overlap with each other
    • the combined area of influence in the construction site if the area of influences overlaps with each other
  • seven-day pumping tests conducted in a 30 day period that take more than 50,000 L/day and less than or equal to 5,000,000 L/day

If a water taking does not meet the eligibility criteria of the prescribed activity set out in the regulation the water taking cannot be registered on the EASR and may require a permit.

Structure of the water taking EASR regulation

The water taking EASR regulation is comprised of four parts:

  • Part 1 – Definitions: in some definitions, reference is made to other legislation, which can be found on Ontario’s e-Laws website
  • Part 2 – Water Taking for Highway Projects and Transit Projects: including definitions, eligibility criteria for the prescribed activities, registration requirements, activity requirements, and records related to the water taking EASR for highway projects and transit projects
  • Part 3 – Water Taking for Construction Site Dewatering: includes definitions, eligibility criteria for the prescribed activities, registration requirements, activity requirements, and records related to the water taking EASR for construction site dewatering
  • Part 4 – Water Taking for Pumping Tests: includes definitions; eligibility criteria for the prescribed activities; registration requirements; activity requirements; and records related to the water taking EASR for pumping tests

Highway projects and transit projects

Prescribed activities eligible to register on the EASR

Water takings for road construction purposes have been renamed to water takings for highway projects and transit projects as of July 1, 2021.

You can register the taking of water from a water body for use in the construction, repair and maintenance of highway and transit projects on the EASR, subject to eligibility criteria as stated in the water taking EASR regulation.

The EASR regulation provides the definition of highway projects and transit projects as:

highway project
The construction, maintenance or repair of a highway. Highway, as defined in the Highway Traffic Act, includes a common and public highway, street, avenue, parkway, driveway, square, place, bridge, viaduct or trestle, any part of which is intended for or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles and includes the area between the lateral property lines thereof.
transit project
The construction, maintenance or repair of infrastructure, not including terminals, related to transportation by a service that, aside from any incidental use for walking, bicycling or other means of transporting people by human power,
  1. is used exclusively for the transportation of passengers by bus or rail, and
  2. provides regular and continuing transportation to the public
Terminals do not include intermediate stops located along a highway such as bus stops or streetcar stops.

Each separate highway project or transit project that meets the eligible criteria must register for its own EASR. There is no limit on the duration of the project. There are no limits on the number of water taking locations that can be covered under a single registration as long as they are part of one highway or transit project.

Quantity of water

Registration is required if the taking of water is more than 50,000 litres of water on at least one day during the life of the project.

Water use

To be eligible for self-registration, the taking of water from a water body must be for one or more of the following uses related to a highway project or transit project:

  • hydrodemolition
  • cleaning and flushing
  • seeding, mulching, sodding or landscaping
  • dust suppression
  • compaction of earth and granular materials
  • on-site preparation of materials to be used in the construction, maintenance or repair of the highway

Water body restrictions

To be eligible for self-registration, water must only be taken from water bodies that meet the following criteria:

  • the water body must be a lake, pond or permanent stream
  • if the water body is a lake, the surface area of the lake is greater than 10 hectares
  • if the water body is a pond, the pond is not connected to another water body that is a creek, stream or river
  • if the water body is a permanent stream, it is of a stream order of three or greater

Stream order is a method for classifying the relative location of that part of the stream within the larger river system and is defined in the regulation. Another way to describe stream order is that a first-order stream is the smallest stream that has permanent flow all year. The joining of two first-order streams forms a second-order stream which contains a greater permanent flow than the first-order stream. The joining of two-second-order streams forms a third-order stream. Each successive stream junction creates larger streams and a higher stream order.

The ponds that are eligible as water taking locations for the highway projects and transit projects EASR are water bodies that are not connected to another creek, stream or river, so they are recharged by ground water and/or surface water runoff. There are no restrictions in the size of the pond.

Restriction: the taking of water must not involve transferring water out of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin, the Nelson River Basin, or the Hudson Bay Basin, or transferring water from one Great Lake watershed to another.

For more details on rules pertaining to water transfers, see the OWRA and O. Reg. 387/04.

Requirements under the regulation

The water taking EASR regulation includes requirements that must be followed to ensure the activity is conducted in a manner that is protective of the environment and other water users.

There are two types of requirements for highway projects and transit projects:

  1. Registration requirements that must be met prior to registering the activity on the EASR.
  2. Activity requirements that must be met for all registered highway projects and transit projects.

Registration requirements for highway and transit projects

If you engage in the prescribed water taking activity, you must ensure that the registration requirements are met prior to registering the activity on the EASR. For highway projects and transit projects, there are two main registration requirements.

Environmental assessment requirements

Prior to registering the water taking activity on the EASR, you must ensure that the following requirements under the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) have been met, if applicable:

  • any necessary requirements under O. Reg. 231/08 (Transit Projects and Metrolinx Undertakings) under the EAA have been met
  • if applicable, an approval has been given under Part II> of that Act to proceed with the undertaking or a class environmental assessment approved under Part II>.1 of that Act applies to the undertaking and all of the requirements that are necessary to proceed with the undertaking under the class environmental assessment have been satisfied and no order has been issued under subsection 16 (1) of that Act
Technical assessment report: water body report

Prior to registering the water taking activity on the EASR, you are required to obtain a water body report prepared by a qualified person (QP) related to the water taking activity that is to be registered.

Obtaining the technical report prior to registering your activity ensures your proposed water taking meets the eligibility requirements listed in the regulation. If the QP determines that your proposed water taking does not meet the EASR eligibility criteria, the QP report may assist you when applying for a permit from the ministry.

You are not required to provide the water body report to the ministry as part of the registration process. However, a copy of the water body report must be made available to the ministry in paper or electronic format upon request.

For the purposes of highway projects and transit projects, the QP must, at a minimum, hold a bachelor’s degree with a specialization in hydrology, aquatic ecology, limnology, biology, physical geography or water resources management or engineering.

The water body report must include the following information and statements:

  • the name and location of each water body from which water will be taken
  • whether the water body is a lake, pond or permanent stream
  • confirmation that the water body meets the criteria related to surface area or stream order as applicable
    • if the water body is a permanent stream, the methodology that will be used by the water taker to calculate the flow rate of the stream on a daily basis
  • a statement that, in the opinion of the person who has prepared the report, that the water body meets the eligibility criteria set out the regulation in respect of the water body
  • a summary of the qualifications and experience of the person who prepared the report
  • the date the report is prepared
  • a description of the water taking activity, including the rate or volume at which the water will be taken
  • an analysis to determine whether a water monitoring plan should be included to monitor the potential impacts of the water taking
    • if the QP determines that a water monitoring plan is required, a description of the plan should be included along with the circumstances under which the plan would be needed

Activity requirements for highway and transit projects

All registered water taking activities are required to meet the activity requirements that are listed in the water taking EASR regulation.

Requirements related to the water body report

If the water is taken from a permanent stream, the instantaneous rate of water taking from the stream must not exceed 5% of the stream flow rate at the point of the water taking. Prior to taking water from the stream each day, the stream flow rate is required to be calculated using the method included in the water body report.

If the taking of water continues after 10 years from the date of registration, the water body report must be updated to reflect any changes that may have occurred. These updates must be completed within 30 days after reaching the 10-year timeline.

Daily water taking log

A daily water taking log must be maintained at the location of the water taking activity and should include:

  • the date(s) of the taking
  • the name of the water body
  • the location of each water taking
  • the average rate at which water was taken (litres per second)
  • the total volume of water taken (litres)
  • if the water body is a stream, the flow rate of the stream that was calculated each day using the calculation method included in the water body report
  • any additional information required to be logged by the water body report
Notifications

If the taking of water is intended or expected to continue for more than 365 days, written notice of the water taking activity must be provided to the local municipalities (upper-tier and lower-tier or single-tier, as applicable) and any conservation authority within whose jurisdiction the proposed water taking is located.

This notice shall include:

  • the name of the person proposing to take water
  • the dates on which the water will be taken
  • the name(s) of the water body and location from which water will be taken

If your water taking was initially expected to continue for less than or equal to 365 days, but the actual water taking continues for more than 365 days, you must:

  1. Update your registration to reflect any changes that were filed in the Registry (for example, changes to your estimated start date or end date). These updates must be done within 30 days of any changes to the information that you have previously provided.
  2. Provide written notice of the water taking activity to the municipalities and conservation authority as described above.
Reporting daily water taking volumes

The volume of water taken daily must be reported to the ministry on or before March 31 in each year, for each location from which water was taken in the previous calendar year.

If no water is taken, then a “no taking” report must be entered through your ministry account using the Regulatory Self Reporting System.

Complaints

If a complaint is received with respect to the taking of water and the complaint relates to the natural environment, the ministry shall be notified of the complaint immediately after the complaint is received.

Notification shall be to the local district office of the ministry during normal business hours and to the ministry’s Spills Action Centre after hours.

Spill cleanup and containment

Spill clean-up and containment equipment that is designed to contain or absorb oil, fuel and lubricant shall be available at the site of the water taking for the period during which the taking of water occurs.

Records

You are required to keep the following records for a period of five years from the day it was required to be created or the day it was last updated:

  • a copy of each water body report
  • a copy of any methodology used that was not set out in the report
  • water taking logs
  • record of any complaints that are received with respect to the water taking that relate to the natural environment, including:
    • the date and time the complaint was received
    • a copy of any written complaint or a summary of any non-written complaint
    • a summary of any measures that were taken to address the complaint

All documents, including the water body reports, must be made available to the ministry in paper or electronic format upon request.

Construction site dewatering

Prescribed activities eligible to register on the EASR

You can register the taking of ground water and storm water related to construction site dewatering on the EASR, subject to eligibility criteria included in the water taking EASR regulation. The prescribed activity also covers the treatment and discharge of the water that is taken. No PTTW or ECA is required for these activities.

The EASR regulation provides the definition of construction project and construction site:

construction project
Any work or undertaking that occurs at a construction site.
construction site
A site at which a construction project occurs, but does not include a site that is associated with mines, mine development, mine reclamation, pits or quarries.

For the purposes of the water taking EASRs only, a construction site may be a stationary location (for example, parking lot construction) or a location with linear alignments or non-standard locations (for example, installation or repair of a linear infrastructure such as services or a pipeline), as long as the work undertaken is part of one construction project. To be eligible for self-registration, the construction site should not be one at which any work or undertaking occurs that is associated with mines, mine development, mine reclamation, pits or quarries.

Quantity of water

Registration is required if the taking of water is more than 50,000 litres of ground water, storm water or a combination of ground water and storm water on at least one day during the life of the construction project.

Water taking limit

To be eligible for self-registration, the water taking from a given construction project at a given construction site must meet the following water taking limits:

  • a maximum of 400,000 L/day of ground water can be taken from each area of influence related to each dewatered work area
  • if the areas of influence overlap, a maximum combined volume of 400,000 L/day of ground water can be taken from the overlapping areas of influence.

There is no limit to the number of dewatered work areas that can be registered under one EASR registration if the activity meets the taking limits and all other eligibility criteria. This water taking limit is specific to the taking of ground water and does not include storm water contribution. You are required to record the occurrence of any precipitation events on the construction site.

The taking must not include water from a surface water source such as a water body. Water must only be from ground water and/or storm water.

When registering your activity, your identified site location should be:

  • the address of your site if the site is stationary
  • the location where a contact for the construction project can be reached if the site is linear or is non-standard

In either case, you will be required to identify the water taking locations separately as part of the registration process. If you have additional water taking locations after you register your activity, you must update your EASR registration to reflect these changes.

Storm water taking only: if the water taking activity meets the criteria set out in the water taking EASR regulation and includes ground water, the activity must be registered on the EASR.

If the water taking is 100 per cent storm water, you do not need to register your activity on the Registry. Storm water only takings are still prescribed activities under the EASR and you are required to meet certain activity requirements described in the regulations, such as:

  • the requirement to retain a QP to complete a discharge report
  • record keeping requirements

Restriction: the ground water that is taken must not be used for human consumption, agriculture, or in an industrial or manufacturing process.

Restriction: the taking of water must not involve transferring water out of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin, the Nelson River Basin, or the Hudson Bay Basin, or transferring water from one Great Lake watershed to another.

For more details on rules pertaining to water transfers, see the OWRA and O. Reg. 387/04.

Requirements under the regulation

The water taking EASR regulation includes requirements that must be followed.

There are two types of requirements for construction site dewatering.

  1. Registration requirements that must be met prior to registering the activity on the EASR.
  2. Activity requirements that must be met for all registered construction site dewatering projects.

Registration requirements for construction site dewatering

If you engage in the prescribed water taking activity, you must ensure that the registration requirements are met prior to registering the activity on the EASR. For construction site dewatering, there are two main registration requirements.

Water taking report

Prior to registering the water taking activity on the EASR, you are required to obtain a water taking report prepared by a QP related to the water taking activity that is to be registered.

Obtaining the technical report prior to registering your activity ensures your proposed water taking meets the eligibility requirements listed in the regulation. If the QP determines that your proposed water taking does not meet the EASR eligibility criteria, the QP report may assist you when applying for a permit from the ministry.

You are not required to provide the water taking report to the ministry as part of the registration process. A copy of the water taking report must be made available to the ministry in paper or electronic format upon request.

For the water taking report, at minimum, the QP must hold credentials that satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • hold a certificate of registration under the Professional Geoscientists Act, 2000, and is a practising member, temporary member or limited member of the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario
  • be a professional engineer who meets the requirements set out in paragraph 2 of subsection 3 (3) of the Professional Geoscientists Act, 2000

The water taking report must include the following information and statements:

  • an identification of the expected area of influence for each dewatered work areas within the construction site, having regard to the amount of ground water that will be taken
  • an analysis of the potential impact of the soil settlement that would occur as a result of the proposed water taking, including an assessment of the impact of the soil settlement on the integrity of infrastructure located in the expected area of influence for each dewatered work area
  • an analysis of the potential impact of the proposed water taking on other water users and on the natural functions of the ecosystem in the expected area(s) of influence
  • a contingency plan that includes measures to address the potential impact of the proposed water taking on other water users, a description of potential site-specific impacts and a description of a shutdown protocol if the QP assesses that such a protocol is required
  • a protocol for providing written notice to other water users who have the potential to be impacted and the applicable local ministry district office at least 48 hours prior to the initial commencement of the water taking activity
  • an analysis to determine whether a water monitoring plan would be needed and, if needed, a description of the plan and the circumstances in which it would be needed
  • a description of the water taking activity, including the rate or volume at which the water will be taken
  • a description of the construction site and construction project
  • a summary of the qualifications and experience of the person who prepared the water taking report
  • the date the water taking report is prepared

All calculations and assumptions used in the preparation of the water taking report must be included in the report.

Discharge report

Prior to registering the water taking activity on the EASR, you are required to obtain a discharge report prepared by a QP related to the water taking activity that is to be registered.

You are not required to provide the discharge report to the ministry as part of the registration process. A copy of the discharge report must be made available to the ministry in paper or electronic format upon request.

If you are taking 100 per cent storm water, registration on the Registry is not required but you must obtain a discharge report prepared by a QP related to the water taking activity.

For the discharge report, the QP must, at a minimum, hold a bachelor’s degree with a specialization in hydrology, aquatic ecology, limnology, biology, physical geography or water resources management or engineering.

The discharge report must include the following information and statements:

  • an assessment of the quality and quantity of the ground water and storm water that is expected to be discharged
  • the location of the discharge, if applicable
  • a recommendation of one or more of the methods of transfer or discharge
  • if the recommended method of discharge is to a surface land or to a storm sewer, a statement that the discharge will not cause an adverse effect to the environment
  • if the recommended method of discharge is to a surface land or to a storm sewer, identification of any treatment or control measures required to minimize erosion, flooding, scouring and sedimentation and a statement that addresses the quality of the discharge to ensure that it will not cause an adverse effect on the environment
  • an analysis to determine whether a monitoring plan would be needed to monitor the potential impacts of the discharge and, if needed, a description of the plan and the circumstances in which it would be needed
  • a summary of the qualifications and experience of the person who prepared the discharge report
  • the date the discharge report is prepared
  • a contingency plan that includes measures to address: potential impacts related to the quality and quantity of the discharge, any failures of recommended treatment or control measures and other site-specific impacts such as flooding. A description of a shutdown protocol should be included if the QP assesses that such a protocol is required

All calculations and assumptions used in the preparation of the discharge report must be included in the report.

As part of the assessment of the quantity of the water that is expected to be discharged, it is recommended that all ground water taking considerations, including initial storage dewatering and equilibrium flow, and all storm water taking considerations be considered during normal conditions. As part of the assessment of the quality of the water that is expected to be discharged, it is recommended that the Qualified Person consider factors such as the size of the construction site, the on-site activities, the duration of the water taking and the discharge location. In some instances, the QP may recommend that multiple water samples be taken for the initial characterization of the water to be taken and for on-going water taking as the construction dewatering expands. The discharge of water should not cause an adverse effect on the environment.

Activity requirements for construction site dewatering

All registered water taking activities are required to meet the activity requirements that are included in the water taking EASR regulation.

Requirements related to the water taking report and discharge report

The registered water taking activity is required to meet all applicable measures and requirements set out in the water taking report and discharge report, including any monitoring plans, methods of discharge and treatment measures that have been included in the reports.

Discharge requirements

For water taken under the construction site dewatering EASR, you do not need to obtain an ECA for the discharge of your water. The exemption from an ECA only applies to construction site dewatering activities that meet the eligibility requirements of the EASR regulation. All other water takings that do not meet the EASR eligibility requirements are not exempt from ECA requirements and an ECA may be required for the discharge of water.

The water that is taken must be discharged or transferred through one or more of the following methods:

  • transfer to a waste management system that has the appropriate ECA or is registered under the non-hazardous waste transportation systems EASR
  • discharge to a sewage works that has the appropriate ECA
  • discharge to a municipal sanitary sewer or municipal storm sewer
  • discharge to surface land not enclosed in a building or discharge to a storm sewer

The method of transfer or discharge should not include discharge to a land that is within an area that is part of a wellhead protection area and is identified as “WHPA-A” in a source protection plan approved by the Minister under the Clean Water Act, 2006.

WHPA-A is a wellhead protection area of a municipal water supply well with an outer boundary of a radius of 100 m from the municipal well. For more details see the Technical Rules: Assessment Report under the Clean Water Act.

In addition, the following criteria must be met when you discharge water taken during the construction project:

  • no visible petroleum hydrocarbon film or sheen present on any ground water or storm water that is intended to be discharged to land or a storm sewer
  • any ground water or storm water discharged to land or a storm sewer that is within 30 metres of a water body shall ensure that the turbidity of the discharge does not exceed 8 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) above the background level of the nearest water body

The background turbidity levels should be measured upstream and out of any influence of the discharge location.

Any erosion, sediment and total suspended solids control measures should be used, operated and maintained as per the recommendations of the manufacturer, or in the absence of manufacturer recommendations, as directed in the discharge report. All control measures and all materials collected and trapped by these measures should be recovered and disposed of appropriately.

Additional authorizations or approvals may be required prior to discharge. For example, when discharging to land or sewage works that is not owned by you, authorization from the owner of the land or sewage works may be required. When discharging to a municipal sewer, additional approvals from the local municipality may be required.

In order to determine the safe and appropriate location for the discharge, the quantity and quality of the water that is to be taken and ultimately discharged must be determined and characterized.

For additional information on managing the discharge of water, visit the ministry’s Stormwater Management Planning and Design Manual.

Notifications

The water taking report must include a notification protocol for other water users and the applicable local ministry district office. This notification protocol is required to be implemented at least 48 hours prior to the initial commencement of the water taking activity.

As part of the water taking report, it is up to the QP to identify which water users should be notified and the method of notification (such as written notices at the residence of the nearby water user who may be impacted by the water taking).

At minimum, the notice should include:

  • a description of where the taking is to occur
  • the dates on which the water is intended to be taken
  • the approximate time and duration that the water takings will occur
  • the EASR registration number
  • the name and telephone number of a person who can be contacted to report any concerns about interference with another water supply

If the taking of water is intended to continue for more than 365 days, written notice of the water taking activity must be provided to the local municipalities (upper-tier and lower-tier or single-tier, as applicable) and any conservation authority within whose jurisdiction the proposed water taking is located. At minimum, this notice should include:

  • the name of the person proposing to take water
  • the dates on which the water will be taken
  • an identification of the method of transfer or discharge that is to be implemented
  • the location of the discharge, if the discharge is to land

If your water taking was initially expected to continue for less than or equal to 365 days, but the actual water taking continues for more than 365 days, you must:

  1. Update your registration to reflect any changes that were filed in the Registry (for example, changes to your estimated start date or end date) within 30 days of any changes to the information previously provided.
  2. Provide written notice of the water taking activity to the municipalities and conservation authority as described above.
Reporting daily water taking volumes

The volume of water taken daily for each dewatered work area shall be reported to the ministry on or before March 31 in each year, for each location from which water was taken in the previous calendar year. If no water is taken, then a “no taking” report must be entered.

Water taking reporting is completed through your ministry account using the Regulatory Self Reporting System.

Complaints

If a complaint is received with respect to the taking of water and the complaint relates to the natural environment, the ministry shall be notified of the complaint immediately after the complaint is received.

Notification shall be to the local District Office of the ministry during normal business hours and to the ministry’s Spills Action Centre after hours.

Records

The person engaging in the registered water taking activity is required to keep the following records for a period of five years:

  • copies of the water taking report and discharge report
  • the dates on which ground water, storm water or both were taken
  • for each day on which ground water, storm water or both were taken, the average rate at which it was taken from each dewatered work area in litres per second
  • the volume of ground water, storm water or both taken from each dewatered work area each day in litres
  • a record of any precipitation on the construction site
  • a copy of any information or documents that demonstrate that the notification protocol included in the water taking report was implemented
  • a copy of records related to any monitoring plans, if applicable
  • record of any complaints that are received with respect to the water taking that relate to the natural environment, including:
    • the date and time the complaint was received
    • a copy of any written complaint or a summary of any non-written complaint
    • a summary of any measures that were taken to address the complaint

The record of precipitation is intended to identify and demonstrate periods of increased water taking due to storm water contribution. The method of record keeping can be qualitative or quantitative based on the QP’s discretion.

All documents, including the water taking report and the discharge report, must be made available to the ministry in paper or electronic format upon request.

Pumping tests

Prescribed activity: what is eligible to register on the EASR

You can register the taking of water for a pumping test on the EASR, subject to eligibility criteria included in the water taking EASR regulation. Pumping tests conducted at wells that take no more than 5 million litres of water per day for no more than seven days within a 30-day period may register on the EASR.

In the context of the EASR regulation only, the regulation provides the following definition of a pumping test:

pumping test
The taking of ground water from a well for the purpose of obtaining information about the aquifer from which the well takes its water.

Quantity of water

Registration is required if the taking of water is more than 50,000 litres of water on at least one day during the life of the pumping test.

Water taking limit

To be eligible for self-registration, the pumping test must:

  • be conducted at a well
  • only take water for up to seven days within a 30-day period
  • take less than or equal to 5,000,000 L/day of ground water on any given day

If the pumping test does not meet any of the criteria above, the pumping test is not eligible for the EASR and a permit to take water may be required.

Location of the pumping test

To be eligible for self-registration, the pumping test must not be conducted at a site that is a mine or a site where mine exploration is occurring.

Restriction: the taking of water must not involve transferring water out of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin, the Nelson River Basin, or the Hudson Bay Basin, or transferring water from one Great Lake watershed to another.

For more details on rules pertaining to water transfers, see the OWRA and O. Reg. 387/04.

Requirements under the regulation

There are two types of requirements for pumping tests.

  1. Registration requirements that must be met prior to registering the activity on the EASR.
  2. Activity requirements that must be met for all registered pumping tests.

Registration requirements

If you engage in the prescribed water taking activity, you must ensure that the registration requirements are met prior to registering the activity on the EASR. For pumping tests, there is one registration requirement.

Pumping test design report

Prior to registering the water taking activity on the EASR, you are required to obtain a pumping test design report prepared by a QP related to the water taking activity that is to be registered.

Obtaining the technical report prior to registering your activity ensures your proposed water taking meets the eligibility requirements listed in the regulation. If the QP determines that your proposed water taking does not meet the EASR eligibility criteria, the QP report may assist you when applying for a permit from the ministry.

You are not required to provide the pumping test design report to the ministry as part of the registration process. A copy of the pumping test design report must be made available to the ministry in paper or electronic format upon request. For the water taking report, at minimum, the QP is required to either:

  • hold a certificate of registration under the Professional Geoscientists Act, 2000, and is a practising member, temporary member or limited member of the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario
  • be a professional engineer who meets the requirements set out in paragraph 2 of subsection 3 (3) of the Professional Geoscientists Act, 2000

The pumping test design report must include:

  • a description of the pumping test, including the duration and the flow rate of the test
  • a statement that, in the opinion of the QP, the discharge of the ground water or storm water, or both, will not cause an adverse effect to the environment and will not interfere with the pumping test or water monitoring results
  • a site-specific impact assessment of the surrounding ground water and surface water features, including other water users that could be impacted by the water taken during the pumping test or by the quantity or quality of the water discharged during the pumping test
  • a notification protocol for other water users who have the potential to be impacted at least 48 hours prior to the initial commencement of the pumping test
  • a monitoring plan to monitor the potential impacts of the water taking
  • a monitoring plan to monitor the potential impacts of the discharge, if the QP determines that such a plan is needed
  • a contingency plan that includes measures to address the potential impact of the proposed water taking and discharge on other water users, a description of potential site-specific impacts and a description of a shutdown protocol if the QP assesses that such a protocol is required
  • a discharge plan that includes an assessment of the quality and quantity of the water being discharged, the method and location of the discharge and any treatment or control measures for discharge to surface land not enclosed in a building or discharge to a storm sewer
  • a site map showing the location of features that were considered in the development of the report
  • a summary of the qualifications and experience of the person who prepared the pumping test design report
  • the date the water taking report is prepared

All calculations and assumptions used in the preparation of the water taking report must be included in the report.

In the event that the water supply is affected for water users in the area, you will need to make a supply of water available equivalent in quantity and quality to their normal takings (or reasonable compensation for their costs of doing so). You will also be required to undertake measures to alleviate the negative impact caused by the disruption of water supply.

Activity requirements for pumping tests

All registered water taking activities are required to meet the activity requirements that are included in the water taking EASR regulation.

Requirements related to the pumping test design report

Registered pumping tests are required to meet all applicable measures and requirements set out in the pumping test design report, including any monitoring plans, methods of discharge and treatment measures that have been included in the report.

Discharge requirements

For water taken during an EASR eligible pumping test, you do not need to obtain an ECA for the discharge of your water. The exemption from an ECA only applies to pumping tests that meet the eligibility requirements of the EASR regulation. All other pumping tests that do not meet the EASR eligibility requirements are not exempt from ECA requirements and an ECA may be required for the discharge of water.

As mentioned above, the Qualified Person should include a discharge plan as part of the pumping test design report that includes an assessment of the quality and quantity of the water being discharged, the method and location of the discharge and any treatment or control measures for discharge to surface land not enclosed in a building or discharge to a storm sewer.

The water that is taken must be discharged or transferred through one or more of the following methods:

  • transfer to a waste management system that has the appropriate ECA or is registered under the non-hazardous waste transportation systems EASR
  • discharge to a sewage works that has the appropriate ECA
  • discharge to a municipal sanitary sewer or municipal storm sewer
  • discharge to surface land not enclosed in a building or discharge to a storm sewer

In addition, there shall be no visible petroleum hydrocarbon film or sheen present on any water that is intended to be discharged to land or a storm sewer.

Any erosion, sediment and total suspended solids control measures should be used, operated and maintained as per the recommendations of the manufacturer, or as directed in the discharge plan in the absence of such manufacturer recommendations. All control measures and all materials collected and trapped by these measures should be recovered and disposed of appropriately.

Additional authorizations or approvals may be required prior to discharge. For example, when discharging to land or sewage works that is not owned by the proponent, authorization from the owner of the land or sewage works may be required. When discharging to a municipal sewer, additional approvals from the local municipality may be required.

For additional information on managing the discharge of water, visit the ministry’s Stormwater Management Planning and Design Manual.

Notifications

The pumping test design report must include a notification protocol for other water users in the area. This notification protocol is required to be implemented at least 48 hours prior to the initial start of the water taking activity. As part of the pumping test design report, it is up to the QP to identify which water users should be notified and the method of notification, such as leaving written notices.

At minimum, the notice should include:

  • a description of where the taking is to occur
  • the dates on which the water is intended to be taken
  • the approximate time and duration that the water takings will occur
  • the EASR registration number
  • the name and telephone number of a person who can be contacted to report any concerns about interference with another water supply
Reporting daily water taking volumes

The volume of water taken daily must be reported to the ministry on or before March 31 in each year, for each location from which water was taken in the previous calendar year. If no water is taken, then a “no taking” report must be entered.

Water taking reporting is completed through your ministry account using the Regulatory Self Reporting System.

Complaints

If a complaint is received about the taking of water and relates to the natural environment, the ministry must be notified immediately.

Notification shall be to the local ministry district office during business hours and to the ministry’s Spills Action Centre after hours.

Records

You are required to keep a record of the following for a period of one year from the day it is created:

  • a copy of the pumping test design report
  • any wells from which water is being taken, including well tag numbers
  • the date and duration of each water taking
  • the rate of each water taking
  • the total volume of ground water taken per day for each water taking
  • a copy of any information or documents that demonstrate that the notification protocol included in the water taking report was implemented
  • a copy of records related to any monitoring plans, if applicable
  • record of any complaints that are received with respect to the water taking that relate to the natural environment, including:
    • the date and time the complaint was received
    • a copy of any written complaint or a summary of any non-written complaints summary of any measures that were taken to address the complaint

All documents, including the pumping test design report, must be made available to the ministry in paper or electronic format upon request.

How to report your daily water takings

Sign in

  1. Sign into your ministry account through Public Secure
  2. Select the Services section to access your EASR registrations

Select your water taking EASR to enter takings

Once you have navigated to the Services section of your ministry account, you will see three headings: Services, Service Applications, and Post Approval Submission (PAS).

Under the PAS section is a list of all registered Water Taking EASRs and PTTWs. A Regulatory Self-Reporting System (RSRS) submission will be automatically generated for each water taking EASR that is registered or PTTW that is issued. In cases where you have more than one registered water taking EASR, ensure that the Service ID # of the RSRS submission matches the correct Service ID # of the registered water taking EASR.

To begin recording your water takings, select ‘Reporting water taking’ option from the dropdown menu under the ‘Action’ column under the PAS table. This will take you to the RSRS homepage for that Water Taking EASR. This page will list general information about that EASR and a table that lists each water taking source for that EASR. Some Water Taking EASRs have just one source, such as construction dewatering EASRs, while others may have multiple taking locations/sources. To enter your water takings for a given source, click the ‘Enter Data’ button under the ‘Action’ column.

Enter your daily water taking data

Upon clicking ‘Enter Data’ on the RSRS homepage, the Input Water Taking Data screen will be displayed with an excel-like table where you can enter data related to your daily water takings. Numbers can be inputted manually, or copy/pasted from a source document. At any time, you can make edits to your information. Simply click on the cell you wish to make changes to, update the information, and click onto any other cell in the table. The table will auto save after each user input. Corrections can always be made.

The spreadsheet supports various units of measure, and provides a unit converter for convenience. The final submission must be entered or converted into Litres.

Data entry rules include:

  • Do not record the number zero (0) on days when no water was taken. Leave it blank. All cells left blank will automatically be recorded as days when no water was taken.
  • Cells can hold up to 12 digits and up to 6 decimal places.
  • Decimal values must be recorded beginning with 0, such as 0.15.
  • Do not record negative values or values with a letter.
  • You can cut and paste from an existing spreadsheet, if preferred.

At the bottom of the Input Water Taking Data screen you may export your entered data as either a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet or PDF format.

Once you have entered in values for all days on which water was taken, you can click the ‘Save’ button, and then click ‘Go To Previous Page’. The system will return you to the main page of the RSRS submission. On the RSRS homepage, you will now see that the table listing each source has been updated as a result of the data you have entered.

Take an opportunity to review and confirm the information is correct. If you need to make any updates, simply click the ‘Enter Data’ button next to your water taking source and edit the Water Taking Information table accordingly.

Certify and submit your water takings

To begin submitting your water taking data, click the ‘Ready to Submit’ button in the bottom right corner of the RSRS homepage. A Certify Submission pop up will appear. In this window you must agree that on all days left blank in the Water Taking Information table, no water was taken.

Next, you will need to attest that the information provided in the submissions is complete and accurate. If the information is correct, you can click the checkbox and the ‘Submit’ button will become available. To proceed, click ‘Submit’.

Once your submission has been successfully completed, click the ‘Close Window’ button to exit the pop up screen. A confirmation e-mail will be sent to the associated account.

You can always make updates to RSRS submissions, even post-submission by going to the RSRS homepage and updating your records.

For more information

If you have further questions about EASRs, contact the Client Services and Permissions Branch:

Appendix A: legislation and regulations

Ontario Water Resources Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.40

Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.19