Safe Clean Drinking Water Project
November 22, 2013: Governments of Canada and New Brunswick Announce Contribution to Saint John Safe Clean Drinking Water Project
The City of Saint John is committed to providing all residents with
safe, clean drinking water. As part of its mandate, Common Council has
made safe clean, drinking water a key service priority over the next
several months and years. This is the reason for the Safe, Clean
Drinking Water Program (SCDWP).
The program includes the construction of a water
treatment plant and upgrading a network of water mains and pipes. One of the key considerations of the program is the effect on rate payers.
On March 25, Common Council voted to submit a business case to P3 Canada in order to apply for eligible funding. You can find out more about P3 Canada here.
We encourage all Saint John residents to become informed about the process.
The "Resources" section on the right hand side of this page contains links to associated Council presentations and reports.
Learn more about Saint John Water
About Saint John Water's Infrastructure
Saint John Water Annual Report (begins on page 37)
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the City doing
The goal of the Safe, Clean Drinking Water Program (SCDWP) is to
ensure that every citizen of Saint John has access to safe, clean drinking
water. Like many cities across North America, Saint John’s water system is
aging and in need of updating. The City of Saint John is looking at ways of
updating the system in order to achieve:
- Public health: ensuring good
water quality that meets current and future water standards
upgrades: improved measurement of water use, minimizing leaks in the system and increasing storage
- Public safety: ensuring
adequate water supply for fire protection
conservation: instilling water use practices that encourage conservation
What is a PPP or P3 project?
PPP or P3 stands for Public-Private Partnerships. It is one
of several procurement methods used in New Brunswick, Canada and around the
world. It is a type of contractual agreement between a government agency and a
private sector entity (like a contractor), which allows for greater private
sector participation in the delivery of public infrastructure projects. Using a
PPP or P3 model means:
- One single entity (or contractor) is responsible
for project design, build and financing
- Project financing must include the cost of
design, build, operation and maintenance over a long-term period (defined by
the government agency)
- Private sector finances the project design and
- Private sector is paid based on its actual
service performance, as defined by the government agency
If we use a PPP or P3
model for this project, does it mean our water will be privately owned?
No, our water would not be privately owned. The City’s watershed supplies are the property of the
Government of New Brunswick and the City has the right to use the water for the
purposes of the water utility, and using a PPP or P3 model would not change
If we use a PPP or P3
model for this project, does it mean our new water treatment facility will be
Under a PPP or P3 agreement, a private sector partner would be
required to design, bid, build, finance, operate and maintain the water treatment
facility for a concession period of 30 years. The water quality being received
by the water treatment plant as well as water quality exiting the plant would
be outlined and agreed upon in the PPP or P3 contract. Under a PPP or P3, the
private sector partner would not gain ownership over any component of the water
system. In either a traditional or a PPP procurement agreement, the City would
always maintain full ownership over all water-related infrastructure throughout
the procurement and concession period.
If we use a P3 does
it mean the pipes will be privately owned?
Under the proposed PPP alternative outlined in the City’s Business
Case to PPP Canada, a private sector partner would be required to undergo a
traditional procurement process for the City’s water utility pipes (design, bid
and build). Under this arrangement, the private sector partner would not gain
ownership over any component of the water system. In a traditional and PPP
procurement agreement, the City would always maintain full ownership over all
water-related infrastructure throughout the procurement and concession period.
Who would set water
rates under a PPP or P3 model?
Under a PPP or P3 model, setting water rates will remain the responsibility
of Saint John Common Council.
If the City does this
work, does that mean there will be no more pipe breaks or boil orders?
Water main or water pipe breaks occur for various reasons, but the
most common reasons include, soil movement, freezing and thawing, aging pipes,
water hammer and pressure surges, internal and external corrosion, traffic
loads, and construction around water pipes.
During a typical year there are between 80 and 100 water main breaks and
a very small number result in boil orders. The most common reason for a boil
water order (affecting a large number of citizens) from a water main break is
when a water transmission pipe fails and the water pressure drops
significantly. And when water pressure is too low the potential for
contaminates from outside the water pipe to enter the pipe exists. The proposed projects within the SCDWP,
include the water treatment plant as well as the refurbishment and replacement
of large water transmission pipes. These projects will not completely eliminate
the exposure to pipe breaks and boil water orders, but it is certainly expected
to dramatically decrease such occurrences.
What funding are we
eligible for from PPP Canada and the Province?
Under the PPP or P3 process, the City is eligible for funding from
both the federal and provincial governments. Through PPP Canada, the City is
eligible for up to 25 % of construction costs and other costs associated with the 18 high
impact and critical projects under the SCDWP. The Government of New Brunswick
has agreed to match PPP Canada’s funding in the event the PPP or P3 process
What will water customers get after the
proposed program work is done?
Once the proposed work has been completed, water customers will
- A water treatment
facility: Located on City-owned land south of Little River Reservoir
improvements: Improved dam infrastructure
system improvements: Construction of new, and upgrade of current,
water mains to deliver raw water from Latimer Lake to the East area water
treatment plant, and treated water to the entire distribution system
- Water system
storage improvements: Three new storage reservoirs totalling 29.9
- Improved pumping
stations: Construction of a booster pump station at Reversing Falls, upgrade
of the Lancaster Water Storage Reservoir, and upgrade of Spruce Lake Pump
rehabilitation: Replacement of 22.4 km of water transmission mains,
rehabilitation of 19.3 km of water transmission mains, and modifications of
pump station pressure grades
industrial system improvements: construction and renovation of transmission
systems to deliver raw water from Latimer Lake to Sandbank Hill