UPDATED: Hoboken Suffers Water Main Break In Center Of Town

HOBOKEN, NJ — NOTE: At 3 p.m., Suez said that repairs to the main were complete and service was being restored.

Previously reported:

Hoboken’s century-old water system has suffered another break.

On Sunday morning, around 9:30 a.m., the city sent an alert saying, “The city has been notified of a water main break at Sixth and Park Streets. SUEZ [water company] heading to the scene and the Hoboken Police Department is currently on site. Park Street between Fifth and Sixth streets is currently closed to traffic.”

Suez tweeted around 10 a.m., “Customers in the area may be experiencing low to no water pressure at this time.” (Here is their Twitter account for updates.)

In its alert, the city noted, “Some parts of Hoboken’s water system are more than 100 years old. The majority of the system is nearing the end of its useful life. As cast-iron pipes age, they become brittle and are more prone to break from changes in temperature, pressure fluctuations, or vibrations.”

Read on for the rest of the city’s alert:

What is the City of Hoboken doing to upgrade water main infrastructure? New contract with SUEZ: In May of 2019, the City of Hoboken and SUEZ entered into a new water service contract investing at least $33 million in water infrastructure upgrades through 2034. The amended agreement established a new public water utility on July 1, 2019. It includes an average of $2.2 million in water investments per year, over six times the amount of the former contract. Additionally, the contract calls for $2 million in smart technology to monitor water consumption, which will save Hoboken ratepayers from paying for costly leaks.

Water main replacement project: The City began the first phase of its water main replacement project in 2019, which is scheduled to continue this year. Over 4,500 feet of Hoboken’s oldest water mains have already been replaced since last year, with a total of 7,000 linear feet, or 2.7 miles of water mains to be replaced by the end of this year. The second phase of replacing over 5,000 linear feet of water mains is currently under design, and scheduled to begin in the fall.

Comprehensive analysis of water main system: With support from professional engineering consultants, the City developed a comprehensive water system renewal program to make continued investments in Hoboken’s drinking water infrastructure. The program includes 67 discrete locations for water main replacement to upgrade an additional 20% of the system. This analysis has been and will continue to be used to guide the primary locations of the current and upcoming water main replacement projects.

Washington Street redesign: As part of the Washington Street redesign, the City upgraded more than 1.25 miles of water mains and service lines on Washington Street. The project was financed by a $7 million low-interest loan from the NJ Infrastructure Bank.

Why are the pipes so old? Beginning in 1994, the City of Hoboken sold the rights to the water system until 2024 (previous to the new SUEZ agreement in 2019). A 30-year revenue stream of approximately $240 million was sold to United Water (now SUEZ) in exchange for $13.2 million dollars in one-time payments. That former agreement required Suez to make almost no proactive investment in Hoboken’s water infrastructure. In the past two plus decades, only $350,000 per year was invested in the system, and as a result, only 5% of the system was upgraded.

To read other local news in Hoboken, click here.

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