Home > City Hall > Saint John Water > Drinking Water > Safe Clean Drinking Water Project
Saint John Water
thumbnail1

Click here for a larger version of the map of the project.

Safe Clean Drinking Water Project

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 this project?

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
  • Technological upgrades: improved measurement of water use, minimizing leaks in the system and increasing storage
  • Public safety: ensuring adequate water supply for fire protection
  • Environment 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 construction costs
  • 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 this.


If we use a PPP or P3 model for this project, does it mean our new water treatment facility will be privately owned?

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 proceeds.


What will water customers get after the proposed program work is done?

Once the proposed work has been completed, water customers will get:

  •  A water treatment facility: Located on City-owned land south of Little River Reservoir
  • Watershed improvements: Improved dam infrastructure
  • Transmission 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 ML capacity
  • 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 Station
  • System 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
  • East-side industrial system improvements: construction and renovation of transmission systems to deliver raw water from Latimer Lake to Sandbank Hill