Constructing or Altering a Drinking Water System (Permits)

Regulatory requirements for obtaining permits for drinking water system projects are outlined in the Drinking Water Safety Regulation MR 40/2007. The Office of Drinking Water has prepared a Permit Process Guideline (pdf) that explains the permit process including the types of water system changes that are considered major alterations and require a Permit.

Private water systems

If you are installing a water supply (ex: well, cistern, water intake) for a single home or cottage, the water supply is considered a private water system under The Drinking Water Safety Act and approval from the Office of Drinking Water (i.e., a permit to construct or alter) is not required. You may have to obtain other approvals or permits and should check with the local municipality or planning district.

Public or semi-public water systems

Approval is required to construct or alter a public water system or a semi-public water system as defined in Section 1 of The Drinking Water Safety Act. A public water system is a piped water supply system that has 15 or more service connections (i.e., building or RV connections, or campground standpipes). Semi-public water systems are piped water supplies that serve more than one residence, or water supplies for public facilities such as restaurants, schools and community centres. Section 7 of The Drinking Water Safety Act requires that a water system owner or project proponent obtain a permit before starting construction of a new public or semi-public water system, or making major alterations (changes) to an existing public or semi-public water system such as installing water treatment equipment or extending watermains for a subdivision or campground expansion. A permit application including project design information must be submitted. After completing a review of the submission to ensure acceptable design and construction standards are being followed, approval, typically in the form of a permit, is issued specifying terms and conditions for project implementation.

Other approval requirements

Depending on the type of project, a number of other regulatory processes may be triggered by a drinking water project. Project proponents should consult with their engineer, and local municipality or planning district.

Permit application forms

Permit application forms for public water system and semi-public water system projects are available below. The application forms include a checklist of supporting documents and information that must accompany an application.

Once a permit is issued, an amendment to its terms or conditions may be requested due to a change in project scope, design, implementation or schedule. Where changes are deemed to be significant, the proponent may be required to re-apply for a permit.

Links to other related regulatory information

  • Constructing or altering a wastewater collection or wastewater management system may require approval or registration. Operator certification requirements for water treatment facilities and water distribution systems also fall under The Environment Act. Environmental Approvals
  • Installation of a groundwater well or a surface water intake for a water supply may require a Water Rights License pursuant to The Water Rights Act. Water Use Licensing
  • The Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Division administers legislation that addresses safe workplaces including chemical storage and handling.
  • Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation must be contacted for provincial road or highway pipe crossings. It may also be necessary to contact railways and other utilities.

Water System Design Guidelines

The Office of Drinking Water relies on the Recommended Standards for Water Works (commonly known as the Ten State Standards), American Water Works Association (AWWA) standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance manuals and other industry best practices in the review and approval of drinking water systems. All components, treatment units and chemicals in contact with drinking water must be NSF certified. The Office of Drinking Water adopts Health Canada's Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality health-based standards and aesthetic water quality goals. Backflow prevention requirements for water systems fall under the Manitoba Plumbing Code, administered by the Office of the Fire Commissioner, and the CSA B64.10-01 Manual for the Selection and Installation of Backflow Prevention Devices. The Western Canada Section (WCS) Cross Connection Control Manual is a key industry resource.

Determining filtration and disinfection log reduction credits

The Office of Drinking Water has prepared Filtration and Disinfection Log Reduction Credits guidelines for determining microbial (Cryptosporidium, Giardia, virus) log removal or inactivation credits for filtration and disinfection systems. These guidelines apply to the design, upgrading and assessment of water treatment systems.