Partnerships and Innovation

Office of Partnerships and Innovation
Office of Partnerships and Innovation

Growing Ontario’s Leadership in Safe Drinking Water

It’s a resource that most of us take for granted – an abundance of clean, safe drinking water available at any time, whenever we turn the tap.  Behind the scenes, thousands of dedicated professionals in municipalities, government and the private sector work tirelessly to deliver on this promise - overcoming challenges far beyond the simple equation of supply and demand.

Every day, the drinking water community must contend with the seemingly boundless demand for water, driven by population and industrial growth while dealing with aging plants and equipment and large networks of very old pipes that comprise the underground distribution infrastructure.  The regulatory community works to maintain drinking water standards that are among the world’s most stringent, and to respond to a wide range of potential threats to the drinking water supply ranging from intentional contamination to emerging contaminants that are appearing in our source water.  In the private sector, Canada has produced world-leading technologies, including novel treatment systems using ultraviolet light and membrane filtration and advanced sensors to rapidly and reliably detect minute traces of contamination.

Recently, the Ontario Government announced the Water Opportunities Act – an initiative intended to transform Ontario’s already enviable position in drinking water quality into a truly world-leading one.  In practical terms, we have already seen the impact in our own business.  Founded as Pathogen Detection Systems in 2003 to commercialize rapid, automated microbiological testing methods developed at Queen’s University and patented worldwide, our company is now part of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies, a subsidiary of Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environnement - the world’s largest environmental services company.  With the support of the federal and provincial governments, headquartered in Kingston, Ontario, our company is now the global headquarters for ENDETEC, the water quality sensor platform of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies.

ENDETEC has a mandate to identify and develop innovative sensor technologies for the global water marketplace, and will soon be launching an innovative chlorine sensor developed in Switzerland in addition to the Canadian-developed automated microbiology system.  The company is also working closely with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and other regulatory agencies worldwide to ensure that innovative sensing technologies can be accommodated effectively within the regulatory framework – enhancing water quality while maintaining the highest possible standards.

This is an exciting time for all of us in Ontario’s water industry.  The opportunities afforded by recent government initiatives and investment, emerging and innovative technologies for water treatment and monitoring, and a leading-edge regulatory framework informed by painful lessons of the past are enabling Ontario-based companies to become leaders in providing clean, safe drinking water to the world.

Dr. Peter Gallant is Vice-President, Business Development and Regulatory Affairs for ENDETEC, a Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies company.