HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Another day, another water main break in Hoboken.
Early Wednesday morning, crews were on the scene of a water main break at River Street and Hudson Place that flooded the PATH station. It’s the second break near the busy commuter hub in just a matter of hours.
Hoboken residents say they just want a break from the water main breaks after 17 in 65 days.
“It can’t go on like this,” one man said.
On Tuesday evening, water filled the streets when another main broke near Observer Highway and Hudson Place – right by the PATH train and right in the middle of rush hour.
“We’re all trying to adjust to it every day,” said a woman. “We’re all annoyed, but we know there’s nothing we can do.”
“What if you’re walking down the street and all of a sudden a water main just explodes? You know, it’s very dangerous,” Hoboken resident Doreen Williams said.
“The town is growing, it’s a popular town, and the pipes can’t handle it all,” said resident Sean McGarr.
“To compel SUEZ to give us the data that they’ve been withholding so that we can identify the cause of these water main breaks and take immediate corrective action to prevent these water main breaks once and for all,” he said Tuesday.
But SUEZ is fighting back, saying this is an average amount of water main breaks for Hoboken and blaming the city’s aging infrastructure.
“A system that is more than 100 years old – very difficult to operate and run a system that is of that age,” said Senior Vice President Rich Henning. “This administration is doing nothing but pointing fingers.”
The mayor declared a city emergency to allow the city to expedite its investigation into the problem and make repairs. He also plans to rebid the city’s water contract with SUEZ. The company said that’s just a costly Band-Aid.
Is the back-and-forth blame game making any progress in the long term?
“By going and pursuing legal action at this very early juncture, we’re putting us on the losing end of any productive negotiation, and that is not very mayoral,” Hoboken Councilman Michael DeFusco said.
“If you go to court, you’ll order them to expose what it is that they’re doing, because I think the city needs to know,” said resident Frank Marciano.
“I walked through six inches of water, and this whole thing was flooded yesterday,” one woman said.
“I got downstairs to my building’s lobby around 8:13 this morning. So it’s like an hour later. Normally my commute is only like 35 minutes total,” said a woman.
Nearby businesses were closed or barely operating. As of noon, approximately 100 customers were without water.