ANDOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ – Residents in Newton will find little relief from the sweltering heat after a water main break in Andover will result in an emergency shut-off of the town’s water this morning. The main break occurred in the backyard of an Andover resident on Manor Drive at about 10:30am when a rental company accidentally struck the water main with a tent stake. Company employees heard a hissing, escaping sound after striking the stake about two feet into the ground.
Thomas S. Russo, Jr., Newton Town Manager, is awaiting an opinion from the water engineer before making a statement on the expected time of the emergency shut-off. “We trust their judgment since this isn’t the first time this has happened,” he said. “We prefer not to have this happen on an annual basis but we’re always prepared.”
Paul Baldwin, Water and Sewer Supervisor, said that he wasn’t sure how long the water service shut-off was expected to last. He said that a part might need to be over-nighted before the main could be fully repaired. “On a hot weekend like this we try to interrupt service as little as possible,” said Russo.
Elizabethtown Gas arrived at the property to mark-out gas lines, so the repairs could continue safely.
“Call before you dig,” was Russo and Deputy Mayor Sandy Diglio’s mutual advice to town residents.
“Any time you break ground you’re supposed to call for a mark-out. And it’s free,” said a Newton DPW employee.
“We were having a celebration for my daughter Sarah and my son Chris who just graduated college and my nephew Xavier who is going into the US Army. So we rented a tent and I received a call at work this morning from my son saying that he thought they hit a water main with a stake. He said not to worry about it, but I thought it might be a bigger deal than that, so I headed home from work,” said Richard Schnurr, owner of the property. “We’re used to having our yard dug up, last year we had the other half of our yard removed for a new septic system.”
“We’re hopeful the party can go on tomorrow, as long as the water is turned back on so we have flushing toilets,” Schnurr continued.
The rental company was not aware of the presence of the water main in the family’s backyard. The residents have installed a temporary tent in the same location in their backyard four times before without incident.
“I don’t mind, I filled up everything in my house with water. I figured they’re going to shut it off eventually,” said neighbor Butch Skewes.
The Town of Newton will set up water buffalo stations with potable and non-potable water on lower Spring Street near the Moose Lodge, and the #1 Firehouse on Mill Street.
The Alternative Press will continue to cover this story as it unfolds.
Editor's Note: Ironically, this story occurred at the residence of The Alternative Press reporter covering this story.