A major water main break that threatened the water supply of several communities in North Jersey last week has been repaired, but it may take a few more days before water distribution is back to normal.
The water main break was first reported Wednesday in Nutley, at Bloomfield Avenue and Church Street, at an aqueduct controlled by the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission and two other aqueducts controlled by the Newark Water Supply.
It caused flooding in the area, and compromised the water supply in some municipalities in Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties last week, but not in Nutley.
When their water tanks began dropping, Montclair and Glen Ridge each declared states of emergency over the weekend, prohibiting residents from using water for “non-essential” purposes, which included watering lawns, non-commercial car washing and serving water in restaurants unless requested.
Glen Ridge Emergency Management Coordinator Ann Marie Morrow issued a proclamation over the weekend, stating that the borough was suffering a water supply reduction and could continue to lose water pressure.
Bloomfield lifted a notice to boil water on Monday night, confirming that the water was safe to drink but also saying water pressure hadn’t returned to normal, so residents should still conserve water.
Montclair was able to connect its supply to the Passaic Valley Water Commission system, which meant residents faced little to no change in their water supply pressure, Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller said. As long as residents continue to only use water when absolutely necessary, Montclair should be in good shape until the main valve in Nutley is restored, Spiller said.
Newark warned residents via its website and social media accounts on Friday that the East and South Wards might experience low water pressure or no water, but as of Tuesday, the city hadn’t yet posted a new update online.
The massive water pipe was repaired on Sunday, but the water still needs to be tested in a lab to make sure it meets all state and federal safe water standards, according to Bill Maer, a spokesman for the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission.
Once a water main break is repaired, there needs to be a gradual supply of water through the pipes to make sure that the sudden outflow of water does not create a leak somewhere else in the system, Maer said. That would take at least another 24 to 48 hours, he said on Tuesday.
“Even though this matter has been resolved as far as the leak and as far as the mechanical failure, it still needs a little bit more time until the system is 100% up and running,” he said.
Maer faulted the outdated pipe as the cause of the massive water main break.
“When you’re dealing with 100-year-old infrastructure, situations of this matter obviously occur,” he said.