NUTLEY, N.J. (PIX11) – The water supply in some North Jersey neighborhoods is finally getting back to normal. A water main break in Nutley caused a ripple effect of damage, leaving several towns without water.
The repair work wrapped up Monday afternoon, but that doesn’t mean residents are out of the woods yet. Towns that were connected to the Nutley line were still getting a temporary supply until the water coming from the pipe is tested and determined it’s safe to drink.
The water main break caused a ripple effect of problems and a state of emergency to the neighboring towns.
“At 3:30 in the morning they were ringing our doorbell to tell us that the pipe had burst,” said Michele Gross, who lives directly next to the point of breach. Her front lawn was inundated and she suffered water damage inside the house too. “We immediately ran to the basement and we had water coming in.”
The six-foot pipe burst on Wednesday. The water line supplies towns to the south of here, so several communities were left with low or no amounts of running water. State of emergencies were issued, including in Montclair where the mayor asked residents to avoid unnecessary use. And in Bloomfield authorities asked residents to not drink the water coming from their faucets out of an abundance of caution. Neighbors say there have been other water service interruptions in recent days.
”It’s frustrating because we pay a lot of taxes, so you figure why are all the water main breaks happening now,” said Bloomfield resident Dawn Giunta. “The infrastructure should be fixed so it can handle the amount of growth this town has had.”
Tim Eustace, executive director of the North Jersey Water Supply District Commission, explained that the valve blew off causing the eruption of water, but it has now been sealed. He acknowledged the water system is close to 90 years old and it’s aging could be an issue.
“Although it’s a bad thing that happens, it’s a good thing we get to look at some of the pipes that are buried 4 and 6 feet underground. It also helps us better understand our systems around us and what we need to do in case of an emergency,” Eustace said.
Other water suppliers had to step in during the repair work. Residents who suffered any water damage as a result of the break are advised to contact the township so they can be added to the water commission’s damage claim list. In the meantime, residents are worried that this was just the first drop and more problems could lie ahead.
“That’s kind of an issue now because we are wondering when are the next pipes going to go, so we really have to talk to the mayor and the town and see what we can do about it,” said Gross.
The commission is testing the water to determine if it is safe to drink. The results can take up to 24 hours to come in.