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Council adopts proposed Saint John Water recommendation for west side customers


Saint John Common Council has adopted a proposed recommendation put forward by Saint John Water and CBCL Limited to help mitigate the issue of residential plumbing system leaks for west side residents with corroded copper pipes. 

After receiving reports from west side customers of leaking pipes following the transition from surface to ground water in September 2017, Saint John Water launched a research study in partnership with CBCL Limited and Dalhousie University. The study includes an analysis of numerous different copper pipe samples from affected homes along with water from Spruce Lake, the previous water source, and the new South Bay Wellfield. The study is being conducted at the Centre for Water Resources Studies at Dalhousie University and initial results are expected within the next two months with all results available in approximately 4 to 5 months.    

“We have been working diligently with water industry experts to analyze and test the collected samples and work towards a suitable solution,” says Saint John Water Commissioner, Brent McGovern. “While we await results of the study, we have identified an opportunity to respond to customer concerns with a safe, immediate solution to mitigate copper pipe leaks.” 

With a unanimous approval from Council members present at the meeting, Saint John Water will proceed with a plan to temporarily treat the west drinking water with orthophosphate to help stabilize the existing scale formation on copper pipes. 

Orthophosphate is commonly used in water treatment for corrosion and scale stabilization control. Its use is well established and applied to surface drinking water treatment in other local municipalities like Moncton and Halifax. Phosphates are part of our normally daily diet as they are found in many common foods such as cheese and baking products. The City will treat the surface water supply with orthophosphates at the new Loch Lomond Water Treatment Facility on the east side when the Safe, Clean Drinking Water project is completed later this year. 

The City has advised the provincial Department of Health and the Department of Environment and Local Government on the recommended use of orthophosphate in the west water supply and has received consent from both departments. 

Saint John Water estimates that it can have a temporary orthophosphate system designed, installed and operational at the South Bay Wellfield Treatment Facility by the end of March 2018. The system installation is expected to cost approximately $46,000, with an additional $90,000 required to purchase orthophosphates for the remainder of 2018. There will be no additional cost to customers for the treatment, as costs will be managed within the City’s water and sewerage utility operating budget. 
Saint John Water will report back to Common Council in five months once research results from Dalhousie University are available. 

Two public open houses will be held on Thursday, February 22 to provide west side customers with an update on the west water supply and treatment of the water with orthophosphates. The sessions will be held at St. Mark’s United Church, 50 Dexter Drive, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

For more information, please visit www.saintjohn.ca/westsidewater 


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