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Surface Water Treatment Plant

The New Surface Water Treatment Plan

Barrie recognizes it must be capable of providing an adequate supply of safe drinking water for the growth envisioned by its approved Official Plan.

The most appropriate approach to meeting the drinking water supply requirements of approved City growth is a combination of water conservation initiatives, continued wise use of the existing groundwater supply system, and the initiation of a new surface water source to augment supply requirements. This surface water treatment plant project is a key element in ensuring the long-term availability of safe drinking water.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Surface Water Treatment Plant?
The Surface Water Treatment Plant (SWTP) is a facility that has been built to treat water from Kempenfelt Bay. The SWTP will treat surface water drawn from Kempenfelt Bay using state-of-the-art membrane filtration system and pump to the distribution system for residential and commercial use.
What is Surface Water?
Surface Water refers to water found on the surface of the earth. Lakes, rivers and streams are all examples of surface water. The SWTP will be drawing all of its water from Kempenfelt Bay.
What areas will be affected by the change in water supplies?
As illustrated on the map, residents and businesses in the South end of Barrie as shown on the map will be affected by the change. Please click here to see the areas affected.
When will the City of Barrie be making these changes to my water supply?
The Surface Water Treatment Plant, as of August 23, 2011 began supplying water to the south end of Barrie.
Why are these changes being made?
These changes are being made to:
  • Gradually increase available water supplies to the City of Barrie
  • Protect groundwater resources by reducing demands on the underground aquifer (currently the only source to the City of Barrie)
  • Provide additional security by having an additional potable water source
  • To improve the reliability of Barrie Drinking Water System
  • Provide additional source of water flow in the event of a fire or watermain break
Will the introduction of surface water reduce the need for water restrictions in the City of Barrie?
No. While additional water will be available, municipal outdoor water use bylaws will still apply throughout the City of Barrie. If you would like more information on outdoor water use restrictions or water conservation please visit us at or alternatively you can phone 705-739-4254.
Don’t we already draw our water from Kempenfelt Bay?
The City of Barrie currently does not draw any water from Kempenfelt Bay. The sole source of drinking water in the City of Barrie consists of ground water. Currently the City of Barrie draws water from 14 wells geographically placed around the city to meet the current water demands.
I live in the northern part of the city; will I see a change in my water?
Under normal usage the central / northern parts of the city will continue to be supplied by the ground water system. In the event of an extreme circumstance, the new SWTP does have the ability to feed the whole city during an emergency or failure to our well system.
Can I choose which water I want my house to receive?
The system as is exists today is divided into 5 different pressure zones. The SWTP will supply water to the southern areas of the city while the existing ground water system will continue to supply the central / northern 3 pressure zones in the city.
Why are we keeping the ground water system after building a SWTP?
It has always been the city’s intention to keep its current Ground Water Supply System. This allows the Water Operations Branch the opportunity to continue to supply ground water and surface water. If something happened to either source for an extended period or something catastrophic happened to either source, we would still have the infrastructure and ability to supply drinking water.
Surface Water is generally softer; will I still need my water softener?
Installing a water softener in your residence is personal preference. The water coming from the SWTP is expected to be softer. Depending on how soft you want your water to be, a setting change on your softener may be needed. During the transition phase, please contact your sales / service provider to obtain information on changing settings on your water softener. Its anticipated that the surface water hardness will range from 5-7 grains per gallon(gpg). 
When the change in water supply happens, what can I expect?
During the initial change over in water supplies, you may see an increase in water main flushing activities in your area. It is expected that some slight discoloration of the water in the water main may occur. If you notice a slight discoloration in the water, it is recommended that you flush your cold water tap in your bathtub for 5 minutes. If the problem persists it is recommended you phone the Water Operations Branch at 705-739-4220 ext. 4805
I own a business that is dependent on knowing certain Water Quality Characteristics. Where would I obtain these characteristics?
To find out information on water quality characteristics, you can e-mail the Water Operations Branch at or alternatively you may phone us at 705-739-4220 ext. 4805
If I have questions or concerns, who do I contact?
If you have any questions or concerns, you can e-mail the Water Operations Branch at or alternatively you may phone us at 705-739-4220 ext. 4805

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