UPDATE: ‘Hoboken is open for business’ mayor says as boil water advisory lifted (but problem still lingers)

HOBOKEN – The best-case scenario is the water main break issue that has endured since Sunday, Nov. 22 will be resolved by tomorrow night, Wednesday Nov. 25. The worse case is several days after Thanksgiving, Mayor Dawn Zimmer said at a press conference in front of City Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Still, there’s a big upside.
Officials said that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has lifted the boil water advisory and most of the city will see water pressure begin to stabilize as a Weehawken transmission line channels water into the city during repairs.
“Hoboken is open for business,” said Mayor Zimmer during the press conference. “I wish I could give you an exact time frame [over when the issue will fixed].”
Still, some Hoboken residents may still see discolored water.
Christopher Riat, the senior director of operations for SUEZ North America (formerly United Water), called this more of an “aesthetic issue,” as the brown water is caused by high levels of naturally occurring minerals in the water and a buildup of harmless sediment.
After an immense water main break on Sunday that left some in Hoboken and Jersey City without water, an additional 36-inch valve failed on Sunday night and “disrupted a transmission main which feeds water from Jersey City into Hoboken,” according to a press release from city officials.
“The complex line stop repair conducted last night to stop the flow of water into the transmission main was unsuccessful,” read a press release from city officials on Tuesday. “However SUEZ is actively working on an alternative to reduce pressure in the system near the aqueduct in Jersey City. Once the repair is made to the broken water valve in Jersey City the water main break in southwest Hoboken will be repaired as soon as possible.”
The boil water advisory may be reenacted as repairs are made and therefore residents are advised to continually check for updates online. The city will continue to supply water through trucks at various locations and anybody commuting into the city is still urged to take public transportation.
During the press conference, Hoboken Chief of Police Kenneth Ferrante said the day before, as well as that of, Thanksgiving traditionally sees a high volume of DWI incidents. The water main break complicates that issue further and therefore additional officers have been called in.
He said while the city hasn’t experienced a “gridlock” of traffic, another incident involving trespassers into the flooded area where the water main break occurred, has taken place.
“Two bicyclists went around the barricades [today, Nov. 24], saw the water was a little lower [a foot, foot and a half] and thought they could peddle through,” Ferrante told The Hoboken Reporter after the press conference. “Unbeknownst to them, there was a hole there.”
The sink hole was the very same a Perth Amboy man – with warrants in his hometown – plunged into, after allegedly trespassing into the area of the main break near Harrison Street around 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23. He fled the scene before being caught and arrested, Ferrante said.
The Perth Amboy man was issued three summonses for operating in a closed roadway, carelessness and fleeing the scene. The two cyclists, who had minor injuries and refused medical treatment, were issues summonses for operating in a closed roadway.
Before the first incident, 30 police officers were in the closed off portion of the southwest Hoboken area and barricades were placed at every intersection. But now, due to the trespassers, additional measures have been taken.
“We have, because of two incidents of carelessness, put an officer right next to the actual hole,” added Ferrante. “These streets are closed for safety reasons… there’s no other sinkhole currently in the area but [the main break area extends] to Sixth streets. A manhole could uplift at any moment.”

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