News Briefs: Massive Water Outage in Jersey City After Contractor Strikes Main

Also in this week's sewer and water news, wastewater treatment plant operators in Michigan ask to stop testing wastewater during COVID-19 outbreak

A contractor mishap in Jersey City caused a major water outage after a 36-inch main was broken near Charlotte Circle.

The DOT contractor was doing non-utility work driving piles for a bridge when employees struck the water main that feeds the city, according to SUEZ Water.

“SUEZ crews are en route to isolate the break and make emergency repairs,” reads an advisory issued by the company.

The main break not only left residents of Jersey City without water, but it also caused significant localized flooding. Some images and videos were shared on Twitter of the incident:

Michigan Operators Ask to Stop Testing Wastewater During Outbreak

Some wastewater treatment plant operators in Michigan are concerned about potential exposure to COVID-19 and are asking state regulators to relax some of the routine testing mandates during the pandemic.

The Elk Rapids Department of Public Works has asked the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy for permission to suspend wastewater sample testing at the facility.

The plant’s superintendent, Marcus Evans, tells the request has kicked off a discussion about aerosolized virus particles and their potential to infect workers in areas where untreated sewage is in an open-air environment.

Tractor Trailer Crash Causes Utility to Switch Water Sources

A recent tractor trailer crash in North Brunswick, New Jersey, resulted in 150 gallons of diesel fuel spilling into a local waterway and caused the New Brunswick Water Utility to swap its water source temporarily.

The city’s water director, Alexei Walus, says he switched to drawing water from the Delaware & Raritan Canal rather than the water the utility typically uses out of Westons Mill Pond. Since the utility has two sources it can use, Walus says it wasn’t a big deal.

“On Friday, we switched sources out of an abundance of caution,” he tells New Brunswick Today. “It wasn’t a particularly big spill.”


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