WATER EMERGENCY CONTINUES

A view of the damaged pipes from Swimming River Road in Lincroft Saturday morning, and the map showing the towns included in the boil-water advisory. (Photo by Bill Heine. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

An outdoor water-use ban remained in effect throughout Monmouth County Saturday, even as officials limited a boil-water advisory to 22 towns in the aftermath of Friday’s supply failure at the New Jersey American Water plant.

The boil-water advisory remains in effect for all towns on the Green except Red Bank, which obtains water this time of year from its own wells. Tens of thousands of homes, and hundreds of restaurants and other businesses dependent on large volumes of water are affected.

NJAW customers and even those in Red Bank are asked to restrict indoor water use, while outdoor uses such as watering of lawns and car washing are prohibited.

As of noon Saturday, NJAW had given no indication of when service might be restored to normal.

Meantime, local fire officials are on heightened alert with provisions for backup support in the event of a fire.

Little Silver Fire Chief Andrew Smith tells redbankgreen that the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management has tanker trucks loaded with water on standby ready to be immediately deployed to any fire in the affected area on a report of a working fire.

Additionally for Little Silver, the volunteer department has access to Red Bank hydrants for any fires that might occur along or near the Red Bank border, and can access water from the Shrewsbury River or streams for fires in the southeast portion of the borough. A “large diameter task force” line standing at the ready in Middletown could be called in for that purpose if needed, Smith said.

A state of emergency declared Friday afternoon and affecting all of Monmouth County remains in effect, according to a statement issued by the county press office Saturday morning. The number of towns covered by the recommendation that water be boiled for one minute prior to consumption was reduced to 22, from all 53 Monmouth County towns in the original advisory.

From the statement:

An outdoor water ban remains in place throughout the county today, and all county residents are urged to conserve water until further notice. The outdoor ban means no watering lawns, shrubs or gardens, no filling swimming pools or washing cars. Indoor conservation measures should include refraining from using washing machines and dishwashers, limiting showering times and flushing toilets less frequently.

“While things are looking a little better for many county residents today, a state of emergency remains in effect until further notice,” Freeholder Director John P. Curley said. “We are all in this together and it is critically important that each of us does our part to conserve water.”

Towns directly affected by this crisis that are still under the boil-water advisory are Middletown, Holmdel, Aberdeen, Highlands, Rumson, Fair Haven, Little Silver, Oceanport, Sea Bright, Tinton Falls, Shrewsbury, Long Branch, Eatontown, West Long Branch, Deal, Allenhurst, Loch Arbor and Neptune. Monmouth Beach and Shrewsbury and Ocean townships were added this morning.

The outdoor water ban is being enforced by the Monmouth County Sheriff, working with local police, the county said.

For residents in need of bottled water, water distribution sites have been set up at Middletown High School North, at 63 Tindall Road; Middletown High School South, 900 Nut Swamp Road; and Wolf Hill Park, 3 Crescent Place, Oceanport. Hours at all sites are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

In Little Silver, Sickles Market uses its own well water in all cooking, food preparation, produce preparation, garden center operation, and other uses.

New Jersey American Water recommends their customers take the following steps:

  • Throw away uncooked food or beverages or ice cubes if made with tap water during the day of the advisory;
  • Water should be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute then cooled prior to using;
  • Keep water that has been boiled 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, and
  • Use only boiled water to treat minor injuries.