MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A boil water advisory has been lifted for nearly all the northern Monmouth County towns affected by a major water main break.

But officials reiterated Sunday that the ongoing repairs will likely take several days to complete.

Thousands of residents in 22 municipalities had been under the boil water advisory, which was imposed after the break occurred Friday afternoon at New Jersey American Water Co.’s treatment plant in Middletown Township. But county officials announced late Sunday afternoon that it now was only in effect for four towns _ Aberdeen, Highlands, Holmdel and Middletown.

However, a ban on outdoor water usage remains in effect for all county municipalities serviced by New Jersey American Water.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” Freeholder Director John Curley said Sunday afternoon. “It is still critically important to continue conserving water.”

Some residents used the water main break as an excuse to find a different way to keep cool.

“We’re at the beach, having a great time, bought bottled water for breakfast. Other than that it’s fine,” Ann Kinney told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan.

The cause of the break remains under investigation.

Officials said it occurred when a wooden bridge atop three pipes that lead to and from the plant collapsed, though it’s not yet clear whether the pipes or bridge collapsed first. That affected the company’s ability to draw water from the reservoir into its treatment plant and then deliver it from the plant to customers.

To help customers in need, the company set up temporary distribution sites so residents could fill containers with water. However, all but one of those sites was closed after the boil water advisory was lifted for the majority of the affected towns.

Were you affected by the main break? Share your experiences in our comments section below…

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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