2 Water Main Breaks Cripple Hoboken's Water Service

Thursday, Mar 28, 2013  |  Updated 7:59 PM EDT
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Two separate water main breaks left almost all of Hoboken without water for most of the day.  Pat Battle reports on the recovery efforts.

NBC 4 New York

Two separate water main breaks left almost all of Hoboken without water for most of the day. Pat Battle reports on the recovery efforts.

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Two separate water main breaks in Hoboken cut off water to some residents and dramatically reduced pressure to the rest of the city for several hours, and a boil-water advisory is in effect, officials said.

The first break was to a 12-inch water main at about 3 a.m. Thursday, which caused a street to buckle and swallow a small car. Basements were also flooded in the area of Eighth Street and Willow Avenue.

United Water said that break had been repaired by 3 p.m.

The second break came in the late morning, when a contractor hit a 30-inch main at 14th Street and Willow Avenue, causing a much larger problem.

Some residents did not have water throughout the day, and others had lower pressure, while repairs were made.

Hoboken residents are urged to boil water for one minute before drinking, cooking, baking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing food, mixing baby formula, feeding pets and any other consumption. Water doesn't have to be boiled for showering or washing dishes and clothes.

The water in the streets of Hoboken brought uncomfortable memories for the city's residents.

Almost exactly five months ago, Sandy forced the Hudson River over its banks and inundated the 1-square-mile city of 50,000 residents. 

"It was just like Sandy, looking out and not being able to go outside," Arianna Tirri said as she described knee-high water in the street and 3 feet of water in her basement.

Tirri, 33, said many residents in her five-story building had just moved belongings last weekend into basement storage units that had been rebuilt after Sandy.

Flooding caused by Sandy was particularly severe in Hoboken properties with basements. Floodwaters also overwhelmed the city's historic rail terminal and suspended train service into New York City for weeks after the storm.

Tirri said Thursday's disruption renewed concerns about the city's aging infrastructure.

"I was talking to a friend and we were saying the infrastructure in town is old and the town is booming, so our concern is whether the town is built for the volume we have," she said. "But we have a lot of good people in power who are doing something about that."

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