A crew doing work in an industrial area of Jersey City struck a water main pipe Tuesday afternoon, which led to a boil water advisory for the city and decreased water pressure for area hospitals currently battling COVID-19.
The 36-inch line was struck around 3 p.m. as a state contractor was putting in sheet piling and pushed one directly into the main located near the intersection of Howell Street and Duffield Avenue, according to the SUEZ water utility.
A boil water advisory was put into place for residents of Jersey City and neighboring Hoboken, with SUEZ instructing to boil water for at least one minute for all purposes aside from bathing or washing dishes and clothes. Lower water pressure and discolored water were also possible as a result of the break.
Jersey City officials said that the shut-off switch was under four feet of water, forcing them to find other diversions for the pools of water that flooded part of Route 7 near Charlotte Circle. Rescuers at one point waded into waist-deep water to check on a stranded car, which was thankfully empty.
SUEZ also had water tankers come to provide water, and potable water was delivered to local hospitals. One tanker was delivered to Christ Hospital, where medical workers focused on treating coronavirus patients dealt with weakened water pressure.
Jersey City Medical Center was also said to be impacted by the water main break. Residents in the area were seen stocking up on bottled water in local stores.
Crews from SUEZ were still working into Wednesday to fix the damaged water main. Plows were seen trying to push some of the excess water out from the scene.
The utility company says technicians will begin taking samples in both Jersey City and Hoboken to ensure drinking water safety. The results will be reported to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.