Update: Outdoor Water Use Banned, Boil Water Advisory in Effect After Bridge Partially Collapses

A footbridge along Swimming River Road has partially collapsed, causing damage to three mains. NJ American Water says 55,000 customers could experience water outage or low pressure.

New Jersey American Water banned outdoor water use and is asking residents of several Monmouth County municipalities to only use water for essential reasons, according to spokesman Richard G. Barnes.

A water main failure around 12:45 p.m. at the Swimming River Reservoir has caused water outages in parts of Holmdel, and could potentially affect up to 55,000 users in the region, said Barnes. 

The mains collapsed at at the company’s Swimming River Water Treatment Plant in Tinton Falls, on the Middletown border. 

The households that can be directly affected are in Middletown, Holmdel, Aberdeen, Highlands, Sea Bright, Rumson, Fair Haven, Little Silver, Oceanport, Shrewsbury, the northern part of Tinton Falls and parts of Long Branch.  

Customers in those areas are being advised to boil water as a precaution for a full minute and let cool before drinking it, said Barnes, adding that is standard procedure whenever water pressure is lost. New Jersey American Water will provide information as to when the advisory is lifted, he said. 

New Jersey American Water and the Monmouth County OEM have established three water distribution locations where customers may go to receive bottled water. The locations are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday:

  • Middletown High School North, 63 Tindall Road, Middletown 
  • Middletown High School South, 900 Nut Swamp Road, Middletown 
  • Wolf Hill Park, 3 Crescent Place, Oceanport


Brookdale Community College's Lincroft campus closed at 2 p.m. Friday, and a message on their Facebook page says it "will remain closed until further notice."

Holmdel Police say as many as 3,000 people could be without water in southern Holmdel on Friday afternoon. One of them, Kim Casola of Holmdel, said she saw helicopters, numerous police officers and a diving team in the water at the site of the broken footbridge. "The entire mid-section of pipes are like crumpled debris in the water below," she said. Mobile command centers from Middletown Township Police and the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management are set up alongside the reservoir. 

NJ American Water is asking customers in the towns it serves to conserve water inside and outside their homes while the company works on temporary measures to alleviate the situtation. They have issued Code Red alerts to affected users and township OEMs. Non-essential use, including the use of outdoor sprinklers, is discouraged. 

Shortly after 3 p.m. Oceanport's OEM issued a phone alert to residents. This message is listed on the borough web site: "6/29/12 NJ American Water is reporting a disruption in the delivery system supplying Oceanport and the surrounding area with water. Please refrain from any unnecessary water use until further notice."

Neighboring Marlboro Township is not affected, as it is serviced by Gordon's Corner Water and the Municipal Water Authority. Hazlet Township is served by Shorelands Water at this time of year. 

New Jersey American Water  recommends the following steps: 
•        Throw away uncooked food or beverages or ice cubes if made with tap water during the day of the advisory; 
•        Keep 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 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; 
•        Use only boiled water to treat minor injuries. 

Anthony T. July 01, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Thank you, I was unaware one had to sign up for this or even that a sign up existed.
Diana Noble July 01, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Aberdeen - Matawan CERT team members were invited to sign up for shifts handing out water at Middletown High School North. When I arrived there yesterday there were volunteers from the Middletown community, other community CERT volunteers, and several employees from NJ American Water company. These were wonderful people. We simply handed out cases of water into open car windows and kept the line moving. Most of the water I gave out was contributed by Shop Rite, but I noticed other boxes with jugs of water, as well as the large water distribution trucks another reader mentioned. The heads of households, families, neighbors and friends driving through for their water were gracious and thankful. With the storms that hit last night from the east coast into Ohio, the new day brings with it many more challenges of rain, fire, heat and humidity. A wonderful woman I know from church is still trying to reach her son, whose neighborhood is cut off from all land and wireless communications. I suspect that the good folks of Monmouth County appreciate quite well that things could be much worse. I thank God for the blessings of community, and the generosity that begets generosity. My prayers are with our communities both local and to the south Jersey shore, whose fuller needs will only be revealed as we get more eyes on the ground.
Peter W Bennett July 01, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Just picked up my water. Going back tomorrow and the next day and ...
JosephGhabourLaw July 02, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Indeed, social media beat all the town robo calls. We had an employee from Belmar get a robo call at 6:30 pm on Friday -- that their water was fine. All the the early notifications didn't mention what towns were covered, and frankly in our busy lives not all of us know the name of our water company. That parkway notification -- with no towns listed -- simply added to the panic.
Monica July 02, 2012 at 08:22 PM
KEANSBURG: According to their website, http://www.keansburgboro.com/, Keansburg is not affected by the water ban... I copied the info off their page... AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT YOUR WATER QUALITY UPDATED June 30, 2012 Keansburg IS NOT effected by the NJAmerican Water Company water main failure. Keansburg's water supply is from the Borough Wells which are NOT effected by the water emergency and restrictions being experienced in neighboring communites. Keansburg residents DO NOT have to boil water at this time.


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