2020 Achievements

Water Achievements 2020 Click to enlarge
In 2020, we replaced 900 metres of water main, relining 2750 metres. We replaced or installed 906 water meters, inspected 3592 fire hydrants, replaced 101 water valves, replaced or repaired 206 water services, repaired 53 water mains, replaced or repaired 237 fire hydrants, flow rated 64 fire hydrants and pumped 22 billion litres quality water.

What's the context? 
We've provided data on our achievements in 2020. If you're looking for additional context on how much overall infrastructure we maintain, check out our overview infographics.

Crews respond to a water main break
Our response to water main breaks helps to ensure a reliable supply of water to our customers.

Accurate, Reliable Water Meters

In 2020, we continued to improve asset management of water meters, as we replaced or installed 906 out of approximately 39,000 water meters. While this number is lower than the previous year, as we reduced customer contacts due to the pandemic, we are proud of this achievement and thank our customers for the trust they place in us during this difficult time.

This program will help us keep meters up-to-date to ensure accurate, reliable metering of the water consumed by our customers. 

Ensuring Reliable Water Distribution and Fire Protection


 Fire Hydrants Inspected

Out of 3,569


Water Valves Replaced

Out of 5,450

In 2020, there was a focus on water distribution system maintenance that included valve operation and maintenance, hydrant inspection and maintenance, and water service renewal.

We inspected all fire hydrants, except those that were inaccessible, for example, due to construction. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fire hydrant flow rating was significantly reduced, to 64 fire hydrants from 847 in 2019. We are committed to the ongoing success of this program, as we recognize its importance to help support fire protection. 

Water valve replacement
Water valve maintenance contributes to the reliable operation of the municipal water distribution system.
Water service excavation
Water service renewal contributes to the efficient operation of the water distribution system.

Infrastructure Upgrades

Supporting Growth and Reliability through Water Main Replacement

Infrastructure on Wright Crescent was identified for replacement in the four-year water main replacement plan due to age and break history. The work was later expedited to support area development and fire protection. Approximately 350 metres of watermain were reconstructed, increasing capacity for growth and development and ensuring the ongoing reliability of the water distribution system. 

Additionally, we installed a new water main on John Counter Boulevard, to increase capacity in the area and link the west and central water systems for operational flexibility and redundancy. This project was in support of the City's initiative to expand John Counter Boulevard. 

Additional Highlights

  • Added cathodic protection to metallic water mains to increase the life of this infrastructure on Woodbine Road.
  • Replaced end-of-life municipal water service laterals on Aylmer Crescent to improve operating efficiency by reducing system water loss. 

Regulation and Legislation

Annual Reports on Drinking Water Quality

Utilities Kingston released the 2020 annual reports on drinking water quality in accordance with Section 11 of Ontario Regulation 170/03. Annual reports outline water quality status at the three water treatment facilities and the water distribution systems operated by Utilities Kingston.

In 2020, we received a 100 per cent rating from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks on our drinking water inspection, which confirms we are meeting the water quality standards. 

Our activities to ensure water quality included the following: 

Water Samples in 2020
In 2020, we took 4000 microbiological and 10000 chemical samples.

Cross Connection Control

As of 2020, Utilities Kingston monitors the annual testing and maintenance of just over 4,000 approved backflow prevention devices. These devices are mostly for premises isolation, and some internal protection and residential irrigation. In 2020, 240 new devices were installed in industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) and multi-residential buildings.

In 2020, we managed challenges, introduced by COVID-19, for new installations, survey reports and annual testing of backflow preventers, and the overall expansion of this program.

The program was first implemented in Kingston in 2012. Since then, over half of the approximately 4,000 ICI facilities identified have put premises isolation backflow prevention devices in place, are working on installation, or have a survey pending. We initially focused on the most severe-hazard connections like hospitals, car washes, morgues, and dental offices. These facilities now all have premises isolation in place and we continue to work with moderate-hazard connections such as restaurants, stores, offices and multi-residential buildings.


In accordance with the Water By-law No. 2006-122 Part 3 - Cross Connections/Backflow Prevention, the Utilities Kingston Cross Connection Control Program is in effect. It addresses actual or potential connections between the City’s water infrastructure and a source of pollution or contamination that could change the drinking water supply quality.

Through this program, we identify moderate- and severe-hazard cross connections, where potential contamination of potable water may occur, and we enforce installation and yearly testing of backflow prevention devices.  When properly installed, cross connection control devices ensure that water will never flow from the customer’s facilities into the distribution system. 

Cross Connection Control Program 2020 Click to enlarge
In 2020, our program helped install 240 backflow preventers. We conducted 52 facility surveys, completed 3619 test reports, and registered 78 plumbing companies and 177 certified testers.


Homes and Businesses
had their Drinking Water
Tested for Lead

This exceeds our regulated requirement
of 20 tests as we responded to a
large number of customer requests. 

Community Lead Testing Volunteers

Help safeguard our water, from source to tap

Protecting our drinking water is a shared responsibility. Thank you to our customers who volunteer in the community lead testing program and help keep drinking water safe and clean.

Under the Provincial Regulation 170/03 (Safe Drinking Water Act), the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change requires owners of municipal residential drinking water systems to conduct lead testing of water taken from both plumbing (pipes inside the home or building) and distribution locations (pipes leading to the home or building). The municipality has been regulated to conduct lead testing over the past decade. During this time, Utilities Kingston has typically not found any issues with elevated lead levels in drinking water.

Full Scope Accreditation

In 2020, the required internal auditing process was completed with one minor non-conformance, which was identified and corrected. Additionally, an external desktop audit was completed by an accredited third party with no non-conformances identified. 

In 2011, we received full scope accreditation for a successful Drinking Water Quality Management System (DWQMS). The issuance of the certificates of accreditation is the final step in meeting the initial requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The accreditation process is ongoing and requires yearly audits that demonstrate continuous diligence in continuous improvement in water treatment and supply.

This accreditation demonstrates that Kingston’s water treatment and distribution systems meet the requirements set out in provincial quality water management legislation. It is a testament to our commitment to water quality and the provision of safe and reliable water to our customers.

Treatment operator standing in a lab.
Our water treatment operators demonstrate their commitment to water quality and the provision of safe and reliable water to our customers.

Annual Inspections

In 2020, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change completed annual inspections of all the water treatment systems operated by Utilities Kingston. For 2020, we received a 100 per cent rating for meeting the operational, and compliance requirements under Ontario’s drinking water regulations.

Water treatment operators help ensure water quality, at the King Street Water Treatment Plant
Water treatment operators help ensure water quality, at the King Street Water Treatment Plant.

Water by the Numbers


Total Water
Pumped (L)
 772M from
previous year


Homes and Businesses Served
 435 from
previous year


120  of regulated requirement


200  of regulated requirement


Water Conservation in 2020

We are committed to helping our customers save water, energy and money. Check out our online water conservation resources.

To help protect the health and safety of employees, and ensure the reliability of critical utility services, Utilities Kingston suspended many non-critical programs and services throughout the year, including
rain barrel sales, water-wise gardening workshops, and tours of our award-winning water conservation garden.