What’s next for Hoboken’s water mains

HOBOKEN, NJ — The City of Hoboken is spending millions of dollars to upgrade its aging water mains, but it's not happening fast enough to stop the breaks.

There have been 18 so far this summer. Hoboken and Suez, the water utility, blame each other for the problems. Residents are fed up.

"I know it takes time, but we haven't even really heard a plan of when this is all going to be happening, when it's going to be finished," Hoboken resident Alex Kramer said.

According to the mayor's office, there is a plan and $7 million has already been spent on pipes under Washington Street. Another $10.2 million is about to be spent on other streets.

"And our plan is to invest an additional $5 million per year until we reach a state of good repair," Hoboken spokesperson Santiago Melli-Huber said.

The problem is aging infrastructure that was built about 100 years ago Stevens Institute of Technology engineering professor Valentina Prigiobbe said.

"In addition to the age, there are other stressors." Prigiobbe said.

Traffic, ground water and porous soil all put pressure on the old pipes. Throw in the city's claim that Suez has been adjusting water pressure and you get break after break.

As Hoboken and Suez battle over responsibility, the city council will decide in September if the city will open up bidding.

"Other companies can bid to take over the Hoboken's water infrastructure, the management of it," Melli-Huber said.

Suez won the city's water contract back in 1994. The city could choose to keep Suez on or pick a new utility.

"We are in Hoboken now and hope the mayor and city council will work with us to move forward," Suez's Communications Director Debra Vial said.

Earlier this week, the City of Hoboken went to court. They want to see Suez's internal documents on the aging system.