Water Main Break Leaves Residents with 'Little or No' Water Pressure

Update: United Water says repair work continues and could last until early Thursday afternoon.

What is being described by borough officials as a “large water main break” at Palisade Avenue and Bluff Road Wednesday evening forced closure of a portion of roadway and left an unknown number of Fort Lee residents with little or no water pressure.

said United Water was notified and were “responding to fix the main,” but that the company provided no estimate on how long it would take to fix the break or restore full service.

Police closed the portion of Palisade Avenue from Columbia Avenue to Central Boulevard and were diverting traffic at the scene.

Police said they received calls from as far away from where the water main break occurred as the north end of Fort Lee, and even Palisades Park and Englewood Cliffs.

Fort Lee Councilman Jan Goldberg told Patch Wednesday night that the problem was widespread in the borough.

“It’s affecting the whole town,” Goldberg said. “I talked to some of the high-rise buildings; they’re losing pressure. I talked to Med West; I know they’re losing pressure. And from what I was told, Linwood is also losing pressure. It’s going all the way across.”

Goldberg said he spoke with United Water, and was told only that they’re responding and “it’s going to take time.”

“Apparently they’re calling it a major water break,” Goldberg said.

United Water New Jersey issued a statement Wednesday night, saying that an emergency crew had been dispatched to repair the 30-inch main, and that customers could expect low pressure or discoloration of their water while repairs are being made.

“The water meets safe drinking water standards,” according to the statement. “However, customers may prefer to wait until the water clears before using it for drinking or laundry.”

Late Wednesday night Fort Lee Fire Chief Keith Sabatino told Patch that "all water [was] restored, except for Palisade Avenue between Forest Avenue and [the] Cliffside border."

"Kensington complex and Buckingham Towers are without water," Sabatino said.

At about 6 a.m. Thursday, United Water issued another alert, saying emergency crews were continuing repair work, and that customers in the affected area would continue to have little to no water pressure “until repairs are complete.”

"The affected area stretches along Palisade Avenue from Forest in Fort Lee to Lafayette in Cliffside," a United Water spokesperson told Patch Thursday morning. "The repair crew, [which worked throughout the night], will continue to work through the day to restore service as quickly as possible."

Customers with water service or reduced pressure "do not need to take any further action," the company said, adding that a boil water advisory will be issued as a precautionary measure for customers in the affected area once service is returned.

The company said repair work is expected to continue until early Thursday afternoon.

For updated information, refer to United Water New Jersey's website.

William Mays March 01, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Does anyone know if our kids are going to have school tomorrow?
JT March 01, 2012 at 04:08 AM
I am at the Half Moon House on Hudson Terrace and our building has no pressure/water.
Donna Brennan March 01, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Inwood Terrace has little pressure as well. I would imagine a "boil water" is in effect.
Frank Lotz March 01, 2012 at 05:38 AM
It took me 2 hours of waiting for United Water to pick-up the phone. This is a disgrace. They had the same problem the last time there was a break, All residents should complain to Bureau of Public Utilities. It is now midnight and I have not heard from anyone in Fort Lee Govt or United Water
Bill Mitchell March 01, 2012 at 05:42 AM
Besides the water main break, United Water suffered a power outage at their Haworth Treatment Plant. A boil water alert is in effect, the notice on their web site strangely lists the towns surrounding Fort Lee, but not Fort Lee. ????
Tracy March 01, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Donna Brennan March 01, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Thanks, Tracy...
Thomas A Bennett March 01, 2012 at 01:26 PM
I knew about the break last night. We had very low pressure so I went to fortleenj.com and the info was posted there. We now have pressure restored.
Angela Johnson March 01, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Water pressure was restored to normal in my house when I woke up this morning. I didn't even realize it was a united water problem. I should check out the fort lee website more often!
Donna Brennan March 01, 2012 at 01:58 PM
As the saying goes, "news travels quickly". Practically the second the water main break occurred it was on FB and all the local news sites including excellent coverage on this site. Councilman Jan Goldberg, addressed this issue as well. As soon as I noticed the pressure was lower, I filled the bathtub with water so if needed there would be water for emergency use. Usually, we have a good supply of 5 gallon jugs of water stored for the cooler. Why get yourself in a tizzy? Pipes get old and they break. Pipes, then get repaired.
Anna March 01, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Med West was hit twice in one week! Last Friday we had a power outage that lasted through 1AM (internal power emergency). No power, no water. We're getting used to it!
Bob D March 01, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Ok, it's early Thursday afternoon but Cambridge Courts (Palisade & Rt 5) still has zero pressure. Has anyone out there come back on?
Melissa Walsh March 01, 2012 at 09:19 PM
a little birdie told me that I "should have service by 6:30" I sure hope so!!
Bob D March 01, 2012 at 11:41 PM
http://www.northjersey.com/topstories/fortlee/Fort_Lee_water_main_break_will.html Says the pipe was repaired at 3pm and they started restoring service at 5:37. Slowly apparently as it hasn't reached here yet (6:30pm Palisade and Rt 5) Here is the United Water statement: http://www.unitedwater.com/newjersey/Newscenter.aspx?id=7701
Mote March 02, 2012 at 11:24 PM
This water main break destroyed the foundations of several nearby homes including filling their basements with several feet of water and the destruction of everything that was submerged. When United Water was asked about who will be responsible to repair the extensive damage to these homes, they were quick to say it wasn't going to be them! It's surely time to get a good lawyer and make them pay for their disregard of maintaining the system that we pay them good money for!
Bill Mitchell March 02, 2012 at 11:52 PM
It's been my unfortunate experience that unless you can show that the damage was due to the negligence of the owner of water pipes, it's a tough battle, one I hope they win. Unless they have flood insurance it's a battle they may have to fight. Pipes break.


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