Saint John holds open houses for new safe, clean drinking water project

Click to play video 'City holds open houses for Saint John mega water project' City holds open houses for Saint John mega water project
WATCH ABOVE: A huge construction project is underway in Saint John that will see the city’s water system undergo a major upgrade. Global’s Andrew Cromwell reports – Jun 22, 2016

Construction is well underway for the city’s new safe, clean drinking water project.

It’s a job of massive proportion that will see Saint Johners with a fully treated water system as well as about 20 kilometres of new pipe.

Details on the $216 million project will be laid out both Wednesday and Thursday at two public open houses in the city.

“I think there will be some people who are interested in the technicalities of it,” said Andrew Evenden, project director for Port City Water Partners, part of the public-private partnership that, with the provincial government, made the project a reality.

“There will some people interested in how much impact it will have on the community. I’m sure people will ask about the water quality — whether the water will be the same. Taste the same or be the same colour,” Evenden said.

Story continues below advertisement

The water is currently being chlorinated, not completely treated. It will be completely treated when the project is done.

“If you put a glass of water up against a white sheet of paper, you’ll see the colour, a very slight tinge in the water,” Evenden said. “All water has colour but the water plant will reduce that colour and be less than where it is at the moment.”

The open houses will also give the public a chance see some long buried material.

“We’ll also have some historic photos and some archival items,” said Dean Price who is the city’s project manager on the initiative.

“We’ll have a couple of samples of old wooden pipe and some old cast iron pipe. We’ll also show a piece of cast iron pipe that’s been cleaned and lined.”

The overall project is complicated but Price says the goal is simple.

“We want to reduce the water disruptions, reduce the boil orders and we also want to deliver much cleaner water that’s safer for people to drink,” Price said.

Officials say work is expected to be completed by November 2018.

The open houses will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with Wednesday’s event at the New Brunswick Community College in Saint John and Thursday at the Branch 69 Legion on Wilson Street.