Jul 28, 2014

The Water is Off: Middlesex Water Company Issues Advisory to Stock Up on Water ASAP

Electric power in New Brunswick has failed and water to the utility's customers now must be boiled. Read this alert for your safety.

The Water is Off: Middlesex Water Company Issues Advisory to Stock Up on Water ASAP

The water is out in Woodbridge. Middlesex Water Company issued an alert that because of a power failure they've been fighting since last week at their New Brunwick electrical generating station, water supplies aren't being treated and will drop in quantity to water companies.

Woodbridge residents began receiving Reverse 911 calls late this afternoon about the potential electrical failure. Bernadette Sohler, spokeswoman for the utility, said they were trying hard to keep the power supply up and keep the water flowing, but that the township-led calls to residents was premature and not authorized by the company.

John Hagerty, spokesman for Mayor John McCormac, said earlier that he "wasn't aware of any calls" warning Woodbridge residents about the impending loss of their water supply.

"The township hasn't issued any Reverse 911 calls about shutting off water," Hagerty said.

Nonetheless, Woodbridge residents began calling one another and Woodbridge Patch to ask about the alert.

Sohler said at 6 pm that the water was still on. Since late this afternoon, the utility said in a press release, the intake station in New Brunswick, which draws in the water supply, lost power again. In addition, the emergency standby generator at the intake also malfunctioned rendering it inoperable.

"Over the next few hours, customers can expect to see significant drops in water pressure and loss of water service. Customers should store a minimum of 3 gallons of tap water for each person, each day in addition to supplies of bottled water they may have secured as part of their storm preparations," Middlesex Water said in the statement.

They are hoping to restore water supplies by early Tuesday morning.

This affects the utility's customers in Carteret, Edison, Highland Park, Metuchen, South Amboy, South Plainfield, and all sections of Woodbridge Township.

All customers are immediately urge to stock up on water and be prepared to boil water for home use. This includes water for pets. 

The Middlesex Water Company advisory continues:

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection requires the following language to be included in any boil water advisory.

"The Department of Environmental Protection has determined that a potential or actual threat to the quality of water being provided to you currently exists. Therefore until further notice, bring tap water to a rolling boil for one minute and allow to cool before using for consumption; drinking, ice cubes, washing vegetables and fruit, and for brushing teeth. Please continue to boil your water until you are notified that the water quality is acceptable. We also recommend the following steps as of the time of this advisory:

  • Throw away uncooked food or beverages or ice cubes if made with tap water made after the time of the issuance of this 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.

Individuals with severely compromised immune systems, infants, or the elderly may be at increased risk and should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791."

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly, for example people in apartments, nursing homes schools and businesses. You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

Please note a boil water advisory is a standard procedure whenever a treatment failure occurs which may compromise the quality of your drinking water. Middlesex Water will provide information as to when the advisory is lifted.
Middlesex Water will be issuing updates, through media sources, municipal and health departments, the home page of its website at www.middlesexwater.com and through its Facebook and Twitter site. Customers seeking more information may call the company at 732-634-1500

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