Families Prepare for Thanksgiving Without Water in Hoboken, Jersey City

The boil water advisory has been temporarily lifted in Hoboken, but residents are cautioned that it could be reinstated as crews continue to make repairs after a water main break over the weekend flooded the city and left thousands without water and heat. 

Crews are still trying to fix both the water main that broke Sunday evening and an aging 36-inch valve in neighboring Jersey City that failed during the initial repairs attempts on the main. 

"The best case is having this resolved by tomorrow night. The worst case is several days from now," Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said Tuesday, echoing her warning the day before that water service could remain out till after Thanksgiving.

The utility SUZE said the state Department of Environmental Protection has deemed the water in Hoboken safe for consumption, but the water advisory could be enacted again as repairs continue. 

Residents are still being urged to conserve water, however. 

"Once Hoboken receives water once again from Jersey City after the water main in Hoboken is fixed, there may be a period of time where the NJDEP will require another precautionary boil water advisory to ensure no contamination entered the drinking water from the repair activity," the utility said in a statement. 

Residents should run water faucets for three to five minutes to flush the service connection and interior plumbing, empty and clean automatic ice makers and water chillers, drain and refill hot water heaters if the temperature is set below 113 degrees Fahrenheit, and run water softener or cartridge filters through a regeneration cycle. 

Hoboken is currently receiving water through an interconnection in Weehawken to lessen demand on the system as SUEZ continues repairs. 

The aging infrastructure in Hoboken has been problematic for city residents, who have had to deal with multiple water main breaks in recent years. And after Sandy and Irene, flooding has become all too familiar in the low-lying southwest corner of the city along Observer Highway.

"It's the lowest point of Hoboken, it's just too many people living in a mile-square town," said resident Joann Simkins.

The water that flooded the area around the main break is being pumped out, and the Hoboken Fire Department is washing the streets and sidewalks, according to the city. North Hudson Sewage Authority has also cleared the catch basins so sewers can once again handle normal flow.

Jersey City, also experiencing low water pressure or water outage, is not under a boil water advisory -- although the water runs brown, SUEZ calls it an "aesthetic" issue and said there's no need to boil it. But residents in the high-rises in Newport say they woulnd't drink the water and they'd like SUEZ to bring in more water tanker trucks. 

Flora Kim said her 1-year-old daughter hasn't had a bath since Saturday night, and she and her husband are taking showers at the gym. The family is planning to host Thanksgiving at their 21st-floor apartment for Thanksgiving, despite warnings from officials that water may still be out. 

"We have allocated two gallons of water for brining the turkey and one gallon for washing the vegetables and if there's anything else that requires water, we don't do it," said Kim. 

Flushing the toilet is impossible with no water, and residents on floors ten and up at the James Monroe Tower have to bring jugs and buckets to a first-floor utility sink , where they fill up with cold, murky brown water in order to fill their toilets and tanks manually to flush. 

"It's very troublesome but this is the situation and we are trying to do the best we can," said Shui Chiu. 

Contact Us