Water Main Break on Portland Avenue
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 • 2:06pm
SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - Residents in Scotch Plains and surrounding towns were surprised this morning when only a trickle came out of their shower heads. This was due to a 48-inch water main ruptured in Scotch Plains around 3 AM at an intersection of Portland Avenue and Birch Street.
The broken pipe caused extensive flooding around the area early this morning, and anyone trying to sleep in were awakened by the sound of news choppers hovering overhead to catch pictures of the flooding. Only a small section of Portland Avenue where the break occurr is currently closed.
According to American Water Corporate representative Richard Barnes, there have been no reports of customers losing water as a result of the break. However, residents of Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Watchung and Warren may have low water pressure until the break is fixed, and thus have been asked to make attempts to conserve water while repairs are made.
Due to the great extent of the flooding, the pipe will have to be excavated in order to be repaired. A tentative time frame of 24 hours has been given before the pipe is fixed, although the expectation is that repairs will be completed much sooner. Construction crews were on site as of this morning, and work will continue until the situation is completely resolved.
Basements were flooded in two homes on Portland Avenue, as well as in St. Batholomew’s Church. For the most part, however, the break will not affect residents’ safety. The water company has reported that there are no health concerns, and as of this afternoon, pressure is almost normal throughout the affected areas.
A spokesman for the Scotch Plains police noted that the ruptured pipe was fortunately only a transport pipe and as a result, the safety of tap water was not affected.
The cause of the break will not be known until the excavation is complete. According to American Water representative Peter Eschbach, the pipe was installed in the 1970s