New Jersey American Water banned outdoor water use and is asking residents of several Monmouth County municipalities to only use water for essential reasons, according to spokesman Richard G. Barnes.
A water main failure around 12:45 p.m. at the Swimming River Reservoir has caused water outages in parts of Holmdel, and could potentially affect up to 55,000 users in the region, said Barnes.
The mains collapsed at at the company’s Swimming River Water Treatment Plant in Tinton Falls, on the Middletown border.
The households that can be directly affected are in Middletown, Holmdel, Aberdeen, Highlands, Sea Bright, Rumson, Fair Haven, Little Silver, Oceanport, Shrewsbury, the northern part of Tinton Falls and parts of Long Branch.
Customers in those areas are being advised to boil water as a precaution for a full minute and let cool before drinking it, said Barnes, adding that is standard procedure whenever water pressure is lost. New Jersey American Water will provide information as to when the advisory is lifted, he said.
New Jersey American Water and the Monmouth County OEM have established three water distribution locations where customers may go to receive bottled water. The locations are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday:
- Middletown High School North, 63 Tindall Road, Middletown
- Middletown High School South, 900 Nut Swamp Road, Middletown
- Wolf Hill Park, 3 Crescent Place, Oceanport
Brookdale Community College's Lincroft campus closed at 2 p.m. Friday, and a message on their Facebook page says it "will remain closed until further notice."
Holmdel Police say as many as 3,000 people could be without water in southern Holmdel on Friday afternoon. One of them, Kim Casola of Holmdel, said she saw helicopters, numerous police officers and a diving team in the water at the site of the broken footbridge. "The entire mid-section of pipes are like crumpled debris in the water below," she said. Mobile command centers from Middletown Township Police and the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management are set up alongside the reservoir.
NJ American Water is asking customers in the towns it serves to conserve water inside and outside their homes while the company works on temporary measures to alleviate the situtation. They have issued Code Red alerts to affected users and township OEMs. Non-essential use, including the use of outdoor sprinklers, is discouraged.
Shortly after 3 p.m. Oceanport's OEM issued a phone alert to residents. This message is listed on the borough web site: "6/29/12 NJ American Water is reporting a disruption in the delivery system supplying Oceanport and the surrounding area with water. Please refrain from any unnecessary water use until further notice."
Neighboring Marlboro Township is not affected, as it is serviced by Gordon's Corner Water and the Municipal Water Authority. Hazlet Township is served by Shorelands Water at this time of year.
New Jersey American Water recommends the following steps:
• Throw away uncooked food or beverages or ice cubes if made with tap water during the day of the advisory;
• Keep boiled water in the refrigerator for drinking;
• Rinse hand-washed dishes for a minute in diluted bleach (one tablespoon of household bleach per gallon of tap water) or clean your dishes in a dishwasher using the hot wash cycle and dry cycle.
• Do not swallow water while you are showering or bathing;
• Provide pets with boiled water after cooling;
• Do not use home filtering devices in place of boiling or using bottled water; most home water filters will not provide adequate protection from microorganisms;
• Use only boiled water to treat minor injuries.