NEWARK, NJ — For most of Tuesday, about three-quarters of the city of Newark, and much of neighboring Belleville, had little or no water, and were under a “water emergency” status.

By around 1 p.m., according to Newark water and sewer officials, water pressure was being restored to homes and businesses. However, some homes reported still having no water well into the afternoon. 
Ramona Derrick’s apartment on South Orange Avenue was among the homes without, all day. 

She said that she lost all water pressure around 6 a.m.  At 2:20 p.m., she turned on her kitchen faucet. Nothing came out.

“I don’t have zero water pressure,” she said, adding that all day, she had no ability to flush her toilet.
“There’s nothing I can do,” she said, while standing next to cases of bottled water that she’d stored in her living room. “All I can do is close the lid.”

Derrick said that she’s concerned that the situation is a health hazard. Other residents, such as Felicia Scales, agreed.  

“We need something to be done about this. Immediately,” she said.

Newark’s director of the Department of Water and Sewer Utilities said, at a 1 p.m. news conference that work that crews had done had restored water pressure “to most of the large valves from the leakage.”

He said that the water main had been installed in 1880, and that even though Newark has recently made upgrades to its water and sewer infrastructure — it had significant problems with lead in the system in the past decade — some old parts of the system haven’t been replaced.

The water emergency forced the City of Newark to cancel summer school and other childrens’ programs. It also put University Medical Center in Newark, one of the state’s largest, as well as Clara Maass Hospital in Belleville, on alert for water shortages. Like most of the rest of Newark and Belleville, the hospitals had a boil water advisory.

In Newark, the north, west, south, and central parts of the city were all affected. Only the eastern end of New Jersey’s largest city had uninterrupted water service.

Despite the scope and length of the water emergency, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka did not make any public appearances related to it. 

Newark residents experiencing water emergencies can call 973-733-3654. Newark residents with questions should contact 973-733-4311. Residents who need bottled water until then should call these numbers by ward: Central Ward – 973-289-6687, North Ward – 973-289-7218, West Ward – 973-289-9949, South Ward – 973-733-3013.