nb-albert-street-saint-john

The water main break occurred on Albert Street, between Victoria and Metcalf streets, on Thursday morning. (Google Street View)

City of Saint John water crews were busy dealing with another water main break on Thursday morning.

A six-inch pipe broke beneath Albert Street in the city's north end at about 10 a.m., city officials said.

The break was the second one the city has faced in less than a week.

In the latest case, crews were able to isolate the problem and maintain water pressure to most homes in the area, officials said.

Only 10 homes lost water until about 3 p.m., they said.

Road repairs continued into the evening.

Saint John East MLA Glen Tait says an upgrade to the city's antiquated water system is long overdue.

"The water quality, to the last of my knowledge, hasn't changed in over a hundred years, but the standards have," he said.

"And of course the system, a lot of the piping is a lot older, and it's just not reliable."

On Saturday, a 140-year-old water main burst underneath Rothesay Avenue, leaving much of the city under a boil order for about four days.

Saint John has more than 500 kilometres of piping. Many of the pipes are more than 100 years old.

"Everything has a life cycle," said Tait.

Upgrade estimated at $220M

Saint John council has a $220-million plan to overhaul the system by 2015. The plan includes updated pipes and a new filtration plant.

"As far as the water being filtered, it isn't. It's chlorine is added to the water and basically it's screens and branches and twigs that filter the water," Tait said.

The provincial government is committed to council's priority of safe, clean drinking water, he said.

But he stressed the funding will have to come from all three levels of government, as well as the private sector.

Saint John is hoping to funding through 3P Canada, a public-private partnership fund that would see the federal government cover up to 25 per cent of the cost.

The boil order issued following the Rothesay Avenue break was lifted by Wednesday afternoon for customers between Russell and Frederick streets.

The order was lifted for all other affected customers on Tuesday after two consecutive water samples, taken 24 hours apart, came back clean.