Residents in and around Newark, New Jersey were still being asked to boil their water Wednesday after a massive water main break the day before, even though many had started to see pressure come back.
Boil water advisories continued in Newark's North, South, West, and Central Wards, as well as in the neighboring communities of Belleville and Bloomfield. Officials said that was being done as a precaution, in the event of any contamination to the water. Work continued overnight and Wednesday on the break of a 72-inch, 140-year-old pipe, which flooded roads around Essex County's Branch Brook Park near the Newark-Belleville border on Tuesday, and caused a sinkhole that swallowed a car.
Belleville Mayor Michael Melham posted to Facebook about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday that water had finally been turned off at the point of the break. And by late afternoon, Newark officials said "99% of the city's water service" was restored in affected areas. Officials expected full water pressure by evening, though the boil water advisory wasn't yet being lifted.
Newark also posted notices with new contact information for residents needing bottled water late Tuesday. Several residents said in comments on social media that they couldn't get through to an earlier number posted, as workers began going door to door with bottles, some of them donated by nearby supermarkets, in affected areas. The city is now asking residents in the Central Ward to call 973-289-6687; in the North Ward to call 973-289-7218; in the West Ward to call 973-289-9949; and in the South Ward to call 973-733-3013.
Belleville was making water bottles available at its senior center, at 125 Franklin Avenue on Tuesday night and Wednesday. The township was requiring proof of residency, and providing one case of water per family. Bloomfield began making water bottles available at its civic center on State Street mid-Wednesday.
University Hospital, the region's only Level 1 trauma center, continued to restrict visitation as of 5 p.m. Wednesday. Newark Beth Israel Medical Center had lifted a similar restriction by that time. Both had canceled some services, such as non-emergency surgical procedures and outpatient services, during the water emergency. Each was posting updates to its website as the situation developed.
This story has been updated with the status of work on the water main break as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.