Saint John Water is working with external experts to better understand why some west side customers have experienced leaking copper pipes


To date, and since the commissioning of the South Bay Wellfield, Saint John Water has received 107 reports of leaking pipes from customers serviced with the new ground water source. Most of the reports have been received over the last two weeks, and are isolated to concerns about copper pipes on private property that had occurred during the last four and a half months. Reports are not localized to any one neighbourhood alone, and there has not been an increase in water main breaks or leaks to City-owned infrastructure on the same distribution system.

Saint John Water began an investigation into the leaking pipes on private property late last month when the vast majority of related customer concerns were received. To date, Saint John Water has heard from 2 per cent of the 5,400 customers served on the west side.

“We take all calls from our customers very seriously and we understand the frustration and expense leaking pipes can cause,” said Saint John Water Commissioner Brent McGovern, “We are working with water experts from CBCL Limited and Dalhousie University to complete a copper pipe failure analysis as quickly as possible so that we can better understand what might be causing the leaks.”

To conduct the analysis, sections of leaking copper pipes from some customer homes have been collected and sent along with water samples to Dalhousie University. Initial results of the analysis are expected to be available within the next one to two months. 

In the meantime, Saint John Water is also completing residential testing locally to explore whether or not anti-corrosion options could be useful. More information will be provided to the public as it is available.

Additional questions about the new ground water source have been addressed since its commissioning in September 2017, most of which relate to the hardness of the water. Information about water hardness and the safety of the drinking water can be found on the City’s website at

Overall, there are three distinct considerations about the water on the west side. One is the hardness of the water and customers’ individual preferences and as it relates to that; another is the safety of the water, which now meets all Federally- and Provincially-regulated parameters; and the third is the phenomenon of the leaking copper pipes, which is being studied for a potential cause.

“While we are confident in the high-quality, safe drinking water west side residents now have, and working hard to inform customers about hard water, the issue of the leaking pipes is complex and needs further analysis,” adds McGovern.

McGovern encourages customers with leaking pipes to contact Saint John Water directly if they have not already done so.

“In response to the leaking pipe phenomenon, we are asking any of our west side customers who have experienced this since September 2017, and have not already reached out to our customer service, to call 658-4455 or email,” said McGovern. “All concerns are being addressed individually and logged.” 

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Corporate Communications
City of Saint John
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(506) 649-6008