Dr. Scott Giffin says two tests taken 24 hours apart had to come back clean before the boil order could be lifted. (CBC)

A boil water order in Saint John has been lifted, other than a commercial stretch of Rothesay Avenue, officials say.

The order was lifted late Tuesday afternoon after a second water test came back showing no contamination, said city spokeswoman Nancy Moar.

The water is now safe to consume in all locations, except along Rothesay Avenue, between Russell and Frederick streets.

Residents in other areas who haven't been running their water for the past few days should, however, turn on their taps for a few minutes to flush out any of the old water in their pipes, officials said.

About 35,000 people in the north end, uptown and south end had been under the boil order since Saturday morning, when a water main burst underneath Rothesay Avenue.

The order could not be lifted until two samples taken 24 hours apart came back clean, without any micro-organisms, said Dr. Scott Giffin, the regional medical officer of health.

The first test was "completely clear," he had said on Tuesday morning.

The second test, which was taken on Monday, also came back clean.

There were five boil water advisories in the city last year, officials say.

In some cases, only a few houses were affected, but in others, half the city.


Dave Forestell, owner of Slocum and Ferris at the City Market, says his staff are getting used to boil orders. (CBC)

"Unfortunately, it's not too much of a hiccup any more, these happen fairly often," said Dave Forestell, owner of Slocum and Ferris at the City Market.

His staff were washing produce, such as strawberries, in bottled water in order to stay open during the boil order. They've gotten used to the drill, said Forestell.

At the Java Moose coffee stand, staff were lugging in filtered water to keep the carafes full.

"The only positive thing about having a boil water advisory here is that it brings more customers in because they can't brew coffee at their office," employee Jessica O'Reilly said with a laugh.

Residents in the affected areas, living west of Rothesay Avenue and Russell Street, were being asked to bring their water to a rolling boil for at least a minute before drinking, brushing their teeth, making ice, juice, coffee, tea, or washing vegetables that won't be cooked.

Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water that can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches and other symptoms.