A new water treatment facility is up and running in east Saint John as part of a multimillion-dollar clean water project in the New Brunswick city.

Officials say the facility will provide residents east of the Reversing Falls with better-quality drinking water.

“The previous water supply is the same existing surface water body, but now we’ve removed all the solids and the contaminants that used to be harboured in that water,” explains plant manager Peter Larson.

Construction on the project started in 2016 and customers started receiving treated water in September 2018.

Before then, Saint John’s water commissioner says the water wasn’t meeting the Canadian drinking water quality standards.

“We were able to meet the provincial, but not the national, and then over time, we even were unable to meet the provincial,” says Brent McGovern.

Saint John has been plagued by significant boil-water orders for years, but Mayor Don Darling says the new facility -- which held its grand opening Monday – will change that.

“There are three massive storage tanks that allow us to store water and that will virtually eliminate boil-water orders,” says Darling.

The opening of the facility marks a major milestone in the $216-million Safe, Clean Drinking Water Project, which the city says is the largest municipal project in New Brunswick’s history.

But the project isn’t without controversy.

A class-action lawsuit was filed against the city by residents after the west side water supply was switched from Spruce Lake to a well field in South Bay.

More than 100 reports of leaking pipes were made to the municipality after the switchover.

“It meets the same standards that are needing to be met here on the east side, so the water system that’s in place now is the plan,” says Darling.

The city says the Safe, Clean Drinking Water Project is on budget and close to completion.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Lyall