What to Know
- Yet another water main broke in Hoboken Tuesday, this time near the PATH station
- Long plagued with water main problems, Hoboken has had 14 water main breaks since late June, including two on Monday alone
- Hoboken says it will fire Suez water company, blaming it for mismanagement; Suez says it's the city's aging pipes that need to be replaced
Yet another water main break is plaguing Hoboken, this time about a block away from the PATH station during the evening rush hour Tuesday.
Chopper 4 over the scene shows water bubbling up through the sidewalk and gushing through the road at Hudson Street and Hudson Place.
The Hudson Street entrance at the PATH station was closed as crews responded, and commuters were advised to use the Lackawanna entrance to enter and exit the station. Crowds of riders were forced to detour around the flood zone.
"It's like there was a flash flood, it's a mess," said Ivy Mitei.
"It's a Tuesday and there's a river blocking my commute home," lamented Henry Mattila, who was trying to get back to Manhattan.
Long plagued with water main problems, the city of Hoboken has now had 16 water main breaks since late June. The break near the PATH station Tuesday was the fourth since Sunday alone. The city announced Tuesday that it will fire the Suez water company, blaming it for mismanagement, and for beginning a separate project that may have caused the recent spike in main breaks.
"The reason we're going to court tomorrow is to compel Suez to give us the data they've been withholding so we can identify the cause of these water main breaks," said Mayor Ravinder Bhalla.
Suez has responded that it's the city's old pipes that's to blame: an average of 111 breaks have happened since 2001, the inevitable result when the city neglects to fix the aging infrastructure, it says.
"It's past time to replace it," said a Suez official. "It's past time to start fixing it. The situation has reached a boiling point."
The mayor said the city's started to upgrade the pipes, starting on Washington Street; $7 million of the project is devoted to water mains. Another $10.2 million has been allocated for other critical water main projects around the city, and they've set aside $5 million per year until the water infrastructure is in good standing.
"Suez's record speaks for itself, and we can no longer work on an agreement that does not put Hoboken first," the mayor said.