HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Service has been restored for some Hoboken residents after another water main break. The city has seen two water main breaks and a valve failing in just eight days.
About 100 customers were without water earlier Monday after SUEZ Water said an 8-inch main broke around midnight on Monroe Street between First and Second streets.
As CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported, residents woke up to the sight of workers drilling and digging to repair the problem. The culprit was a rusted and cracked piece of water main.
“Honestly, it’s ridiculous,” said Adrian Vizik.
The break sent gallons of water gushing above ground, flooding the street.
Those breaks flooded streets and left many residents and businesses without running water for days.
“We’ve lived in Hoboken pretty much here for 10 years, and not a week goes by that something doesn’t go wrong,” Vizik said.
Cooper Fellows said he and his neighbors are constantly worried about when and where the next break may happen.
“I think it’s crazy for it to happen this close together, especially this close physically to each other,” he said. “It makes you wonder what the infrastructure looks like underneath the town, if it’s actually stable or if there’s really more underneath that’s going to crack.”
“It’s getting annoying, like last week we had the same issue kind of affected us for a few days,” one woman told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “And now it’s happening all over again.”
The city, like many other municipalities across the country, is dealing with aging pipes underground.
Between 2012 and 2013, there were 28 breaks in Hoboken, CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported. Last year, there were 23.
Hoboken City Council President Ravinder Bhalla said it’s alarming.
“We cannot develop responsibly in the future if we’re dealing with an aged infrastructure that can’t handle further development,” he said.
SUEZ Water says a quarter of the underground pipes in the city were built before the 1900s. City officials say their deal with SUEZ, made in the ’90s when the company was known as United Water, doesn’t help.
“Their only legal obligation is to provide about $350,000 per year in capital improvements,” Bhalla said. “And when you look at the cost of just repairing the water main breaks, that leaves actually very little left for actual capital improvements.”
The city is renegotiating its deal with the utility. Both sides say talks are centering on how best to raise money without burderning residents. Some cities have increased rates. Hoboken is applying for loans and grants.
“We need an overall water master plan so that we can understand what the problems are, where they’re located,” Bhalla said.
Hoboken can terminate its deal with SUEZ and look for another company. It can also self-manage — 50 percent of towns in New Jersey do.
But SUEZ officials say the last time Hoboken was in charge, it was losing $1 million a year.
SUEZ also said when it signed the deal with Hoboken in the ’90s, it handed the city $5 million for non-water projects.