Two NJ towns declare state of emergency amid water main breaks

Montclair and Glen Ridge declared water emergencies Saturday, asking residents and businesses to refrain from using water unless essential.

The states of emergency came as a massive water main break in Nutley has threatened to disrupt service for hundreds of thousands of people in Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties. In a message to residents, Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller said the township must reduce its water use or risk running out of water to meet its most critical needs.

“Thank you for your efforts during this crisis,” Spiller said in the online video. “Each of you can make a huge difference in this moment.”

A 72-inch water main serving the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission was reported broken in Nutley on Wednesday, and a smaller main controlled by Newark Water Supply was also affected, officials said.

The break forced communities, including Newark, to warn residents that there may be low water pressure or no water available in some areas. Bloomfield issued a boil water advisory.

Montclair’s state of emergency went into effect at 3 p.m. Saturday. That bans the non-essential use of water and came as the city has tried to increase capacity by using adjacent water systems, Spiller said.

Glen Ridge’s statement said the borough is “suffering from a reduction in water supply and may suffer continued loss of water pressure.” It ordered residents to use water “only when absolutely necessary.”

The North Jersey District Water Supply Commission had said repairs were expected to be completed by Friday evening. But Spiller said the crews haven’t been able to cope with the problems, which he called “devastating.”

“We’re hearing that the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission has yet to make significant progress,” Spiller said, “as they’re dealing with over 100-year-old pipes in that section and trying to close the 100-year-old pipes. old valves, that does not work properly.”.

Bill Maer, a spokesman for the water commission, said Saturday night that the water system is trying to make the fixes “as quickly as humanly possible.”

“Crews are working around the clock trying to identify the exact location in the water main that has been compromised,” Maer said.

Maer declined to give a new timeline for the repairs, but said the commission doesn’t expect the water problems to get worse.

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Riley Yates can be reached at ryates@njadvancemedia.com.

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