“You don’t realize how much you use water” until the supply is restricted, said Don Cunningham, owner of Junction Bagels & Subs. Below, Charlie Rogers of Middletown’s Office of Emergency Management. (Photos by Anastasia Millicker. Click to enlarge)
By ANASTASIA MILLICKER
Although water service has been restored to all customers and pressure is back to normal, a boil-water advisory imposed by authorities in the aftermath of Friday’s water main break remained in effect Monday morning in Middletown and three other northern Monmouth County towns.
Reports of discolored water were still being received, said Charlie Rogers, co-coordinator of Office of Emergency Management for Middletown, which remained covered by the advisory with Aberdeen, Highlands and Holmdel.
Meantime, some businesses are still absorbing losses associated with the water emergency.
Leah Mezzacappa, manager of Junction Bagels & Subs LLC of Belford said the recent water problems have been a nuisance at work as well as at her home in Middletown.
“We cannot make coffee,” Mezzacappa, 50, said. “That, and we have been having to use everything paper. Paper plates, paper knives. It’s been annoying.”
Don Cunningham, who owns the shop, said he was at work at 3 a.m. to start boiling water for bagels and food.
“It’s been the same thing at home,” Cunningham, a 53-year-old Belford resident, said. “Boiling my water to wash my hands. Using bottled water to brush my teeth. You don’t realize how much you use water even when you wash your hands. You have to think what water you’re going to use.”
Lisa Breyer, co-owner of Hole Lot of Bagels, said her bagel shop has been dealing with the water restrictions, following instructions and taking precautions described by the town.
“It is what it is,” Breyer, a Middletown resident said.
Breyer said the town and water company have been helpful, with water gallons and filling stations available for residents.
Three large water pipes at New Jersey American Water facility at the Swimming River Reservoir broke around noon Friday, causing a reduction or total loss of water pressure or supply. Other water companies have been rerouting water to New Jersey American customers.
Trudy Spence-Parker, vice president of human resources at the water company, said crews at the plant have been working around the clock to repair the water pipes and restore the water. At the same time, volunteers and company employees have been available to answer questions, she said.
“People like to see a face so people can tell them their problems,” said Spence-Parker.
All New Jersey American Water Company customers as well as the entire Monmouth County remain under mandatory water restriction that bans all outdoor water use and encourages indoor water conservation.
“The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office is working with local law enforcement agencies to ensure that the outdoor water ban is strictly enforced in areas serviced by New Jersey American,” Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said in a statement.
Meantime, two bottled-water distribution sites set up by New Jersey American Water Company have been reduced to one – at Middletown High School North.
Joe Ciano of the Leonardo section of Middletown Township was at Middletown North Monday morning picking up a case of water of water for his family. Although he did not notice any differences in water pressure or major discoloration, he was taking precautions.
“It’s been hard on my wife,” Ciano said. “We have two young kids, a 3-year-old and 1-year-old. We’ve been boiling water and cooling them down to give them a bath, been brushing my teeth with bottled water. It is what, it is. You just have to deal with it.”
Rogers said the site has seen an upwards of 600 cars an hour picking up water at the high school.
Shoprite provided eight tractor-trailers worth of water, paid for by the Tinton Falls-based water company, with another tractors full of water on call, Rogers said. “Water buffalo” filling stations were also set up, enabling residents to fill their own water jugs.