Newark, NJ (with 19th century infrastructure) suffers catastrophic water emergency
The city of Newark and two of its suburbs continued to tell residents to boil their tap water on Wednesday a day after a post-Civil War-era water main break created a torrent of running water in the North Ward.
The good news is that water pressure should return to normal by Wednesday evening, according to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. He did not say when the boil advisory would be lifted.
"The water leaks have stopped and full water pressure should be at 100 percent by this evening," Baraka said in a statement.
Kareem Adeem, Newark's Director of the Department of Water and Sewer Utilities, said the leak on the main has been isolated, the vehicle that fell into a sinkhole removed and excavation is underway to uncover the main.
The gushing water in Branch Brook Park, on the border of Newark and Belleville, was slowed when six valves were shut. Some water service was restored earlier but pressure continues to be low for many homes. Water coming out of faucets may also be discolored.
The boil-water advisory is in effect for Newark's North, South, West, and Central wards, as well as all of Belleville and Bloomfield.
Belleville Mayor Michael Melham said on his Facebook page late Wednesday morning that the water was still flowing on Mill Street.
Video by CBS New York showed water cascading from Mill Street on Wednesday morning. A car that was stuck in a sinkhole after the break developed was still covered in water. The driver was recused.
The township is providing one case of water per family with proof of residency required at the Senior Citizen building located at 125 Franklin Ave.
Kareem Adeem, director of the Newark Department of Water and Sewer Utilities, said approximately 100,000 people in Newark were impacted by the break. The infrastructure in Newark is among the oldest in the northeast.
"Newark is the third-oldest major city in the country, might have infrastructure going back before Abe Lincoln was president," Adeem said.
Several fire departments sent tanker trucks to Newark on Tuesday in case of fire. Fire companies came from Budd Lake, Flanders, Jamesburg, Lebanon Township, Monroe in Middlesex County, South Amboy and Upper Saddle River.
Newark and Bloomfield advised residents to take the following steps until water service is back to normal.
- Throw away uncooked food or beverages or ice cubes made with tap water during the day of the advisory.
- Keep boiled water in the refrigerator for drinking.
- Do not swallow water while showering or bathing.
- Rinse hand-washed dishes with a diluted bleach solution (one tablespoon of household bleach per gallon of tap water) or clean your dishes in a dishwasher using the hot wash cycle and dry cycle.
- Do not use home filtering devices in place of boiling or using bottled water; most home water filters will not provide adequate protection from microorganisms.
- Use only boiled water to treat minor injuries.
- Provide pets with drinking water that has been boiled (and cooled).
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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