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2020 Winnipeg distribution system water quality test results

Image of water running out of a tapThe Winnipeg distribution system is the last location where we add chlorine to the water - at the outlet from each of the three pumping stations. The other locations are at the Shoal Lake intake on a periodic basis and at the Water Treatment Plant.

Our Operating Licence requires that we maintain a minimum free chlorine residual of 0.1 milligrams per litre throughout the distribution system.


Winnipeg water is intensively monitored on a routine basis at Shoal Lake, before it enters the Water Treatment Plant and after the water has passed through the treatment processes to ensure that the water is safe and that regulatory requirements are met. Because water quality is so important, our level of monitoring and sampling exceeds Provincial regulatory requirements.

  • Equipment is used to continuously monitor chlorine levels at the pumping stations and we test the chlorine levels at 60 locations throughout the distribution system on a weekly basis.
  • Microbiological samples are taken weekly at 60 locations throughout the distribution system. Tests are conducted for Escherichia coli and total coliform bacteria according to Provincial regulations, and we also test for Heterotrophic plate count which is not required under Provincial regulations, but can be useful to identify potential problem areas within the distribution system.

We also test Winnipeg distribution system water for:

  • routine water chemistry
  • metals
  • disinfection by-products

We use these test results to monitor water quality changes within the distribution system and the quality of water delivered to customers. We also respond to customer inquiries and complaints about water quality. Contact us for more information.

Test results are from January 1 to September 30, 2020

What is being measured How it's measured Guideline or regulation Winnipeg average Winnipeg range
Carbon, Dissolved Organicparts per millionno guideline5.12.7 to 12.9
Carbon, Total Organicparts per millionno guideline4.11.9 to 13.5
Chlorine, Freeparts per millionno guideline0.830.11 to 1.47
Chlorine, Totalparts per millionno guideline1.040.23 to 1.67
Colour, TrueTCUno more than 15 *0.4<0.5 to 1.5
Conductivitymicrosiemens per centimetreno guideline305209 to 335
Langelier Index (4 C)unitsno guideline-0.75-0.86 to -0.57
Langelier Index (60 C)unitsno guideline0.02-0.09 to 0.20
Odourunitsinoffensive*108 to 15
ORPmillivoltsno guideline576.2403.2 to 677.8
Oxygen, Dissolvedparts per millionno guideline11.56.4 to 14.8
pHunitsbetween 7.0 and 10.57.467.30 to 7.81
Solids, Total Dissolvedparts per millionno more than 500 *162120 to 191
Temperaturedegrees Celciusno more than 15 *10.21.7 to 24.7
Turbidity (clearness)NTUno guideline0.190.08 to 4.60
UV Transmittance, Filteredpercent transmissivityno guideline94.094.0 to 95.0
Anions and Nutrients
Alkalinity, Totalparts per million as calcium carbonateno guideline65.658.3 to 76.6
Alkalinity, Bicarbonateparts per millionno guideline83.478.2 to 93.5
Alkalinity, Carbonateparts per millionno guideline<0.60<0.60 to <0.60
Alkalinity, Hydroxideparts per millionno guideline<0.34<0.34 to <0.34
Hardness, Totalparts per million as calcium carbonateno guideline80.570.3 to 89.1
Ammoniaparts per millionno guideline0.01<0.01 to 0.02
Bromateparts per millionno more than 0.01<0.003<0.003 to <0.01
Bromideparts per millionno guideline<0.01<0.01 to <0.01
Chlorideparts per millionno more than 250 *4.73.7 to 6.1
Fluorideparts per millionno more than 1.50.700.62 to 0.84
Nitrate Nitrogenparts per millionno more than 100.0220.008 to 0.039
Nitriteparts per millionno more than 3<0.001<0.001 to <0.001
Perchlorateparts per billionno guideline<0.20<0.20 to 0.34
Phosphate, Solubleparts per million as phosphateno guideline2.000.38 to 2.41
Phosphorus,Totalparts per millionno guideline0.6890.638 to 0.752
Sulphateparts per millionno more than 500 *68.459.2 to 79.2
Escherichia ColiMPN per 100 mLnone detectable per 100 mL00 to 0
Total ColiformsMPN per 100 mLnone detectable per 100 mL00 to >200**
Heterotrophic Plate CountCFU per mLno guideline2<1 to >300
Disinfection By-Products
Aldehydesparts per billionno guideline15.69.9 to 22.8
Bromodichloromethaneparts per billionno guideline3.11.8 to 5.5
Haloacetic acidsparts per billionno more than 8027.613.7 to 41.2
Trihalomethanesparts per billionno more than 10039.220.1 to 78.9
Total Metals
Aluminumparts per millionno guideline0.005730.00309 to 0.08883
Antimonyparts per millionno more than 0.0060.000053<0.000025 to 0.000952
Arsenicparts per millionno more than 0.0100.0004270.000283 to 0.000630
Bariumparts per millionno more than 20.01520.0137 to 0.0166
Berylliumparts per millionno guideline<0.00010<0.00010 to <0.00010
Bismuthparts per millionno guideline<0.000050<0.000050 to <0.000050
Boronparts per millionno more than 50.00455<0.00208 to 0.01300
Cadmiumparts per millionno more than 0.007<0.000007<0.000007 to 0.000011
Calciumparts per millionno guideline21.88517.639 to 26.162
Cesiumparts per millionno guideline<0.000010<0.000010 to <0.000010
Chromiumparts per millionno more than 0.050.00009<0.00004 to 0.00280
Chromium VIparts per millionno guideline<0.00050<0.00050 to <0.00050
Cobaltparts per millionno guideline0.001470.00107 to 0.00171
Copperparts per millionno more than 2.00.0403450.000113 to 0.183770
Ironparts per millionno more than 0.3 *0.084580.03037 to 1.0081
Leadparts per millionno more than 0.005<0.000065<0.000065 to 0.000223
Lithiumparts per millionno guideline0.00240.0022 to 0.0026
Magnesiumparts per millionno guideline6.4185.044 to 7.590
Manganeseparts per millionno more than 0.120.009670.00502 to 0.07394
Mercuryparts per billionno more than 1<0.0050<0.00050 to <0.0050
Molybdenumparts per millionno guideline<0.000050<0.000050 to <0.000050
Nickelparts per millionno guideline0.0024320.001513 to 0.006426
Potassiumparts per millionno guideline1.3141.033 to 1.692
Rubidiumparts per millionno guideline0.00170.0015 to 0.0018
Seleniumparts per millionno more than 0.05<0.000050<0.000050 to <0.000050
Siliconparts per millionno guideline2.862.32 to 3.45
Silverparts per millionno guideline<0.000010<0.000010 to <0.000010
Sodiumparts per millionno more than 200 *29.97224.443 to 35.746
Strontiumparts per millionno more than 70.04020.0383 to 0.0435
Telluriumparts per millionno guideline<0.00020<0.00020 to <0.00020
Thalliumparts per millionno guideline<0.000010<0.000010 to <0.000010
Thoriumparts per millionno guideline<0.00010<0.00010 to <0.00010
Tinparts per millionno guideline0.00012<0.00010 to 0.00027
Titaniumparts per millionno guideline<0.00030<0.00030 to <0.00030
Tungstenparts per millionno guideline<0.00010<0.00010 to <0.00010
Uraniumparts per millionno more than 0.02<0.000032<0.000032 to 0.000052
Vanadiumparts per millionno guideline<0.00050<0.00050 to <0.00050
Zincparts per millionno more than 5.0 *0.00384<0.00011 to 0.02674
Zirconiumparts per millionno guideline<0.00020<0.00020 to <0.00020

* Aesthetic Objective: These guidelines have an objective and not a maximum acceptable limit. These parameters should not impact the safety of the water to drink and there is no anticipated health risk for short-term exposures.

** All resamples were negative and met the operating licence requirements

Guidelines from 'Summary of Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality' by Health Canada, September 2020

Results in red are over acceptable limits per guideline.

Data reported was collected from a combination of MacLean, Hurst, and McPhillips Pumping Station Discharges, 57 distribution system locations, and/or Branch I at McPhillips and Branch II at Hurst.

Note: Where value is expressed as less than (<), the value is halved and used in the calculations, where value is expressed as greater than (>), the value is used in the calculations

Bacterial testing

What is being measured Requirement Our test results Comments
Number of total coliform bacteria tests in year 2028 samples/year 1,884  
Number of times that total coliform bacteria show up in a test none detectable per 100 mL 0.27%
(5 positive tests)
All resamples were negative and met the operating licence requirements
Number of Escherichia coli bacteria tests in year 2028 samples/year 1,884  
Number of times that Escherichia coli bacteria show up in a test none detectable per 100 mL 0.00%
(0 positive tests)
Number of heterotrophic (bacteria) plate count (HPC) tests done no requirement 1,670 Heterotrophic plate count testing is not required under the operating licence

Requirements from City of Winnipeg Operating Licence PWS-09-412-01

Data reported was collected from 57 distribution system locations and MacLean, Hurst, and McPhillips Pumping Station Discharges

Last updated: Nov 17, 2020

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