A water emergency has been declared, to remain in effect until further notice. Officials advise residents in much of Monmouth County, including our area, to boil water before drinking and to take other precautions.
The problem is due to a break in three large water pipes around noon on Friday at New Jersey American Water Company’s water treatment plant at Swimming River Reservoir.
In a formal declaration of emergency, Monmouth emergency management officials said that “serious conditions … presently exist within the County of Monmouth which may affect the health, safety and/or welfare of the people.”
The boil-water advisory originally applied to all of Monmouth County, but it was later reduced to 22 towns, including Neptune Township and Ocean Grove.
“A state of emergency remains in effect until further notice,” Monmouth County Freeholder Director John Curley said in a press release Saturday morning. “We are all in this together and it is critically important that each of us does our part to conserve water.”
According to the press release, other water companies will be rerouting water to New Jersey American customers, but not enough to meet normal demand.
Therefore, officials imposed a ban on outdoor use of water throughout the county. This means no watering lawns, shrubs or gardens, no filling swimming pools and no washing cars.
New Jersey American noted on its website that the boil-water advisory “is a standard procedure whenever water pressure is lost” and that it would notify its customers “immediately” when the advisory is lifted. It called the threat to water quality “potential or actual.”
It recommended the following:
- Bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute and cool before using for drinking, making ice, washing vegetables or brushing teeth.
- Throw away uncooked food or beverages or ice cubes if made with tap water since noon on Friday.
- Keep your 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 showering or bathing.
- Do not use home filtering devices in place of boiling or using bottled water; most home water filters don’t give adequate protection against microorganisms.
- Use only boiled water to treat minor injuries.
- Provide pets with boiled water after cooling.
Towns directly affected are Neptune, 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, Monmouth Beach, Lake Como and Shrewsbury and Ocean Townships.
County officials imposed the following “mandatory restrictions” on water use for all of Monmouth County:
- No watering of existing lawns, shrubs, trees and gardens.
- No use of water for nonessential reasons.
- Washing of cars is prohibited except at commercial car washing facilities that employ the use of recycled water.
These restrictions will remain in place, the declaration said, “until necessary repairs are made to the distribution system and it is deemed that all public safety operations can be maintained.”
The water plant at Swimming River delivers 36 million gallons of water each day to 55,000 customer accounts, according to New Jersey American.