Jersey City

Brown Water Flows Out of Taps in Hoboken for Days

Hoboken residents are once again dealing with water problems, this time in the form of brown water sputtering out of their taps.

Residents have been complaining for days about grit-filled, discolored water coming out of their taps for drinking and showering, in their toilets and even in their washing machines.

Resident Susan Levine found her clothing far from clean when she did her laundry. 

"At the end of the spin, it was like sludge at the bottom of the washing machine. It was disgusting," she said.

Her husband Howard said, "My wife said you've got to come and look at this. You won't believe it's bad water -- it's black water." 

While the city has long dealt with water main breaks resulting in brown water, officials say in this case say it was a utility company's work on an aqueduct that caused the discolored water. 

Suez says it was perfoming maintenance work on an old water aqueduct serving Hobokenm and that disrupted sediment that had built up inside.

Suez flushed it out of its water mains, but residents using lots of water drew it into their buildings and complained of the discolored water. The utility sent plumbers out to go door to door as they got calls, and then on Thursday, opened up hydrants to test the water for cleanliness.

The turbidity meter showed the water was in fact clean, indicating the brown water problem had migrated to individual buildings and units. But while Suez was flushing out the hydrants, it stirred up more sediment, sparking more complaints. 

Ultimately the water is safe, officials say. Residents were told to expect to run their faucets for several hours and to flush their toilets continuously. 

But people who have been running water, or buying bottled water outside, say they want compensation. Suez at first offered in a text message to customers in Hoboken to reimburse them, but dropped the offer in another text moments later. It now says it will handle refunds on a case-by-case basis. 

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