There is some good news about the controversial South Bay wells supplying drinking water to some areas of the West Side of the City. In a report to Common Council – Saint John Water says the wells have recharged with the water level an average 2.3 metres above sea level. The report states “the aquifer has recovered and is now in compliance with the Approval to Operate (regulatory) requirement of +1 metre above mean sea level for each of the wells.” That regulation is designed to prevent possible salt water contamination of the drinking water supply.
The system began delivering water to all residents west of the Reversing Falls bridge in September of 2017. Within the first year of operation the water levels dropped below sea level. In February of last year – six West Side neighbourhoods were switched to water from the Loch Lomond water treatment plant. The drop in demand on the wells has allowed the aquifer to recharge bringing those wells into compliance.
The report also states the City is continuing to discuss long term plans for the Reversing Falls bridge with the provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. The report indicates the City needs “some clarity on the Province’s plans before the City contemplates proceeding with any significant long-term investments and servicing options to make best use of ratepayer dollars.”
The switch to the wells has been the source of legal battles with a lawsuit launched by residents who suffered damages to pipes in their homes shortly after the well water system came online. The City is also filed a lawsuit in its battle with the original consultants and engineers for the project.