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The boil order was lifted late Monday afternoon after water tests came back clean. ((CBC))

A boil water order in Saint John has been lifted, just as city council is expected to vote on whether to pursue a public-private partnership for the water system.

"Water test results have been reviewed with the Department of Health and the district medical officer of health has rescinded the boil water order effective immediately," a release from the city states.

Residents who have not been running their water during the boil order are urged to flush their pipes by turning on their taps for a few minutes.

Two consecutive samples collected 24 hours apart must come back clean before a boil order can be lifted.

The order had been in place since Friday afternoon for about 20,000 people east of the Reversing Falls Bridge, with the exception of those in the Millidgeville area.

It was issued following a chlorination failure at the Latimer Lake Water Treatment Facility.

The chlorination problem meant there could have been bacteria in the water that can cause diarrhoea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other problems.

Residents were being asked to use bottled water or to bring their water to a rolling boil for at least a minute before drinking it, brushing their teeth, making ice, juice, coffee, tea, or washing vegetables that weren't going to be cooked.

This was the second boil order in the city in as many months. On Feb. 9, a boil order was issued for about 35,000 people west of Rothesay Avenue and Russell Street after a water main burst.

An international consulting firm has recommended Saint John enlist a private partner to overhaul the city's antiquated water system.

PricewaterhouseCoopers says the city could save millions by following a public-private partnership model to build and operate a new water treatment plant.

There has been broad political support for upgrading the Saint John system for several years and the idea of a public-private partnership has been raised consistently.

Council has set April 5 as the deadline to submit an application to P3 Canada for funding.