Westfield, Mountainside, Berkeley Heights, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Union Cty, NJ Newspaper
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09/18/99 09:35:47 PM
Hurricane Floyd Has Knocked Out The Main Water Treatment Plant For The Area; We Face Prolonged Problems Before Repairs Can Be Implemented; Do Not Drink The Water Without Boiling For At Least Three Minutes; Conserve Use Of Water In All Respects; Current Supplies And Pressures Are Precariously Low - Public Will Be Notified Soon From Elizabethtown Water Company Soon Of All Procedures To Take and Other Impacts.

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Water Emergency News Update
The Westfield Leader Newspaper
by Horace Corbin
WESTFIELD - 09/19/99 5:33 PM - At 2:00 p.m. today, the Elizabethtown Water Company headquartered in Westfield, NJ held a press conference at their failed water treatment facility in Bound Brook. The Water Company President, Mr. Andrew Chapman, called for an immediate, drastic reduction in the consumption of water by all in the public. Mr. Chapman appealed to the Media to get the word out to the seven counties composed of 45 towns in New Jersey serviced with water from the company.
   He asked the 500,000 people of their service area to stop taking showers or baths, to stop washing their dishes or clothes and to only flush their toilets once per day. Mr. Chapman could not predict how long this would be necessary only to say it was not a matter of a few days. It was not immediately clear what substitute measures are recommended to the public for cleaning measures. Mr. Chapman asked everyone to continue to boil their water for 3 minutes should it be considered for human consumption. Consumption includes all purposes including drinking, brushing teeth and making ice cubes.
   In addition, Etown Water’s 100 main industrial customers will be asked to stop using water tomorrow. If the industrial customers do not comply, the water company will be forced to turn off their service under authorization of state statute.
   The Company is only able to produce at this time an estimated 60 percent of its 150 million gallons per day demand. This shortfall has been in existence since Thursday evening, September 16 after flooding of the main water treatment plant due to record rainfall as a result of tropical storm Floyd. Normally, the storage and distribution system of the network has one day’s storage capacity (150 million gallons per day). The shortfall in production can only be restored upon repairing and bringing back into service the severely damaged Bound Brook plant.
   The system is currently experiencing loss of pressure at several locations as indicated by customer complaints coming into the 40 telephone lines of the company. Approximately 50,000 people are out of water or without adequate service. Edison, NJ and adjacent regions in Somerset County seem hardest hit. There are concerns that the current loss of pressure will jeopardize the ability of all communities in the network to fight fires. Should the pressure drop further as expected without substantial conservation measures immediately, the viability of the entire water network will become questionable.
   A tour of the damaged facility was conducted to illustrate the extent of the damage. Construction crews have been working around the clock since being able to enter the Facility late Friday. The most serious damage seems to be centered in the intricate electrical gear and system controls which became submerged by the flood. As the crews continue to examine the damage, more becomes evident states Mr. Chapman.
   The public must "...drastically cut use immediately.", stated Mr. Chapman.

Elizabethtown Water Company can be reached at 1-800-272-1325.
Please report any pressure/supply problems to this number

The Westfield Leader - POBox 250, 50 Elm St., Westfield, NJ 07091, 908 232-4407; fax 908 232-0473
The Times - PO Box 368, 1906 Bartle Ave, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076, 908 322-4155

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