United Water flushes Hoboken again

United Water Maintenance may affect Hoboken Water

Remember back in September many Hoboken residents had disgusting brown water for what seemed like an eternity?

Well – we may get more brown water again as United Water announced a big maintenance project on the 100 year old aquaduct that services the mile square city:

Expect “harmless minerals,” says United Water

United Water Jersey City will shut down Jersey City’s water supply aqueduct from October 22 to approximately November 20. During that time, customers in Jersey City and Hoboken will receive water from Passaic Valley Water Commission, North Jersey District Water Supply Commission and the Newark Water Department.

The company will inspect and perform maintenance on parts of the 100-year old tunnel system. In addition, maintenance and improvements will be made at the city’s water treatment plant in Boonton. “This work is part of routine maintenance that is typically performed every 2-3 years and will help us to ensure water quality and service reliability,” said John Hroncich, operations manager for United Water Jersey City.

Customers may experience discolored water at the beginning and end of the shutdown. This is a buildup of harmless minerals in the water mains. Although the discolored water poses no health threat, customers may want to let it run clear before using it for drinking, cooking or washing clothes. United Water crews will be flushing the system to remove and minimize any discoloration.

The project, which had been originally scheduled to begin in early October, had been rescheduled while maintenance work was completed on an interconnection that will provide customers with an alternate water source while the aqueduct is shut down.

“We want to ensure that our customers have a reliable source of supply of water while we perform necessary maintenance,” said Hroncich. “In preparation for the inspection, a leak was discovered on the Newark Water Department pipeline which will be used to provide temporary water service to our customers. Now that Newark has repaired the leak, we can proceed.”

Water still brown in Hoboken, NJ

9/22/2012 12:01am update:

Oh brother – I missed this update from United Water – they said on Wednesday at 4pm that “algae” might have been an issue with water quality… funny how water problems are getting worse today (FRIDAY). Something is not right that the problem continues to plague our city.

“In order to control naturally occurring algae populations that can contribute to taste and odor issues, United Water will treat the Boonton Reservoir with copper sulfate on Thursday, September 20. This treatment will improve water quality and is being applied in accordance with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection guidelines.”

9/20/2012 5:00pm Update:

Hoboken411 reader Allison wanted to share some information she got from United Water today.

She called the water company to express the fact that her laundry was also stained by the water. Apparently – United Water will drop off some laundry treatment (which we believe is this stuff called RIT Whitener & Brightener).

United Water also advised NOT to put any of the stained clothing into the dryer – as that will permanently set the stain. (Since when do water companies hand out laundry tips? WTF?)

Anyway – I did some research of my own – and blogger Jill from One Good Thing By Jillee – said that RIT stuff didn’t really work – and to use a specific laundry detergent called White Brite for best results.

Great – not only do we need to worry about getting poisoned from the gross water – we may also look like dingy slobs! Damnit!

9/20/2012 11:35am Update:
United Water promises the water is safe – and offered this statement:

“We know that some residents are inconvenienced, but please note that this is a naturally occurring event that was caused by low water levels in the reservoir. This is not an uncommon issue at this time of year, but has been particularly true this summer with so little rainfall.

Water supplies rely on natural systems that respond to changes in the environment. As a result, it is difficult to predict exactly how long it will take to resolve this problem.

We have taken several actions to try to alleviate the issue, including extensive flushing, repositioning of our reservoir intake, and treatment modifications.

Despite the aesthetic issues, the water does continue to meet all safe drinking water standards.”

9/20/2012 11:25am Update:
Wow, we’re going on almost a week here with this murky Hoboken water situation. Below is a photo Hoboken411 reader Robert sent in – from TODAY.

The reservoir explanation United Water gave seems to be a bit off – since we had a massive drenching rain storm on Tuesday.

Also commenter Karen13 said that her whites got ruined permanently after doing laundry with the nasty brown water. Consider yourself warned!

Will the rain help with the stinky Hoboken water?

9/18/2012 Update:

Channel 7 Eyewitness News had a brief story on our smelly water situation here in Hoboken – but essentially said what has already been posted here.

Funny thing is that the news crew actually had a hard time finding people who encountered problems – so perhaps it’s not the reservoirs – and maybe just rotten pipes!

We’ll see if today’s rain makes a difference.

WTF up with Hoboken water already?

9/18/2012 5:30am Update:

Hoboken411 has been on this suspicious Hoboken water situation since the weekend, and is wondering – since United Water suggested a couple reasons for the “smell” (first – it was a “localized” problem – which we think may be related to ancient infrastructure in Hoboken – then pointing fingers at “stagnant” reservoirs) if today’s rain rectifies the problem.

However – if you still have smelly, gross water despite the fresh mother nature tears coming from the sky – please don’t hesitate to share your observations… because then that may be reason to start being concerned that the situation is worse than we imagined.

Water smells a bit funny in Hoboken…

9/16/2012 5:30pm Update:

Yesterday and today, Hoboken411 received many emails from residents who were complaining about the smell of the water in town. The descriptions ranged from sulfur to mildewy or chlorine like.

We talked to officials for United Water who said there was no system wide problem, and that it’s most likely a localized situation in Hoboken.

They have dispatched a crew to flush the system and assure customers that it is not a water quality issue.

44 Responses

  1. Snip119 says:

    Hi folks. I didn’t think it was city-wide either, until tonight around 9 pm when I went to wash some lingerie and realized the water was a mess. Whatever the problem is, it seems to be spreading. I was fine up until tonight. I live on 14th Street between Garden & Bloomfield.

  2. melanie_c89 says:

    We live at 14th and Park. The water seems to be getting darker by the day and my boyfriend has been sick for a whole week with no other apparent cause. This is disgusting and needs to be fixed! ❗

  3. hoboken411 says:

    Another statement from United Water… maybe they’re not testing the BROWN WATER? Perhaps someone should bring a sample in to them…

    UNITED WATER CONTINUES TO ADDRESS TASTE AND ODOR AND DISCOLORED WATER CONCERNS
    Water Meets All Safe Drinking Water Standards

    September 21, 2012: “United Water is continuing to address taste and odor and discolored water concerns for customers in Jersey City, Hoboken, Secaucus and Weehawken. Despite the differences, the water continues to meet all the standards for safe drinking water. It can still be used for drinking, cooking and bathing.

    “The safety of residents’ drinking water is always our first concern,” said Nadine Leslie, president, environmental services. “We have tested and monitored the water closely and laboratory tests show that it meets all the standards for safe drinking water.”

    Following a very dry summer, it is not uncommon to find reservoir levels lower than normal, she explained. “This is particularly true for the Boonton Reservoir that serves residents in the area.”

    A lowered reservoir level has brought conditions that allow for algae growth that can cause a musty and earthy taste or odor and levels of manganese that can lead to discolored water.

    Certain taste and odor episodes can also be caused by turnovers in the reservoir. This occurs when the surface water cools and sinks to the bottom, causing a disturbance to the lower water layers.

    Leslie explained that since water supplies are part of natural systems that respond to changes in the environment, the issue has persisted longer than expected.

    “We have taken several actions to try to alleviate the issue, including extensive flushing, repositioning of our intake, and further treatment modifications,” she said. “We understand that residents are inconvenienced by this issue. We remain committed to providing high-quality water and service and we will continue our efforts until the problem is eliminated.”

    About United Water
    United Water is one of the nation’s leading environmental companies, providing water and wastewater services to approximately 5.7 million people in the United States. In addition to owning and operating 20 water utilities, United Water operates 100 municipal and industrial water and wastewater systems through innovative public-private partnerships and contract agreements. Founded in 1869, United Water is a subsidiary of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT.

  4. Snip119 says:

    The mystery deepens – this morning my water was fine! I took advantage of that and got in a fast shower. Why it was brown last night and clear this morning I have no clue. However, I did notice a chlorine odor this morning that was not there yesterday.

  5. HomeTeam says:

    >>A lowered reservoir level has brought conditions that allow for algae growth that can cause a musty and earthy taste or odor and levels of manganese that can lead to discolored water.<<

    I never took chemistry, so I had to look up "manganese" on the ol' Wiki

    Manganese in drinking water
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manganese#Manganese_in_drinking_water

    Waterborne manganese has a greater bioavailability than dietary manganese. According to results from a 2010 study,[50] higher levels of exposure to manganese in drinking water are associated with increased intellectual impairment and reduced intelligence quotients in school-age children. It is hypothesized that long-term exposure to the naturally occurring manganese in shower water puts up to 8.7 million Americans at risk.[47][51][52]

  6. homeworld says:

    This was my water yesterday:

    Brown Hoboken Water

  7. YouStayCl@ssyHoboken says:

    How about pitching in for the ~$200 to have the water tested by an independent lab? Better than getting everybody worked up over the water and having to shell out for redundant testing.. and better than taking the water company’s word for it.

    • homeworld says:

      United Water refuses to respond to my emails. I’ve emailed them three times since last Tuesday. When I drained my tub of the filthy water there was dirt left in the tub that I needed to scrub away. Oh wait, it’s not dirt, it’s “sediment.” [quote comment=”217251″]How about pitching in for the ~$200 to have the water tested by an independent lab? Better than getting everybody worked up over the water and having to shell out for redundant testing.. and better than taking the water company’s word for it.[/quote]

  8. YipYap says:

    Come Monday Hoboken will be switched to a different water supply for perhaps an entire month!

    Harrington Park, NJ, Oct 19, 2012, 3:30 PM

    United Water Jersey City will shut down Jersey City’s water supply aqueduct from October 22 to approximately November 20. During that time, customers in Jersey City and Hoboken will receive water from Passaic Valley Water Commission, North Jersey District Water Supply Commission and the Newark Water Department.

    http://www.unitedwater.com/cusNewscenter.aspx?id=8245

  9. Cap31 says:

    Ugh… water smells like marijuana today. Does anyone want to go in on the water test? I’m game.

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