NEWTON — A break in the water main serving the Brookside Terrace complex that left about 500 residents without water and heat for close to 19 hours has been repaired, but the complex will remain under a boil water advisory until further notice.
A notice about the boil water advisory was supplied to residents following the 19 hour outage, which many residents complained was the only communication received about the entire incident, even during the period where they had no heat or water.
According to Kenneth Teets, coordinator for the Town of Newton’s Office of Emergency Management, the town learned of the main break at approximately 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Jason Miller, OEM deputy coordinator, said town personnel responded to the scene and determined the break was not on Mill Street, but on the apartment complex property. Miller said Wednesday shutting off the water was necessary to make the repair, which required provisions for fire coverage as the break affected hydrant lines. Miller said the town employees stayed on site to assist the property management company as it coordinated repairs with its contractor.
David Salzman director of operations for Radiant Property Management, Brookside Terrace’s management company, said Wednesday that the onsite management detected a large amount of water running in front of the property on Tuesday night. After the water was shut off, the building’s superintendent was directed to pump heat into the building Tuesday night and during the day on Wednesday; and each resident was given a gallon of water, Salzman said.
The repair was completed by 3 p.m., though water pressure, hot water and heat struggled to return until about 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Residents, some who asked to have their names withheld, contacted the New Jersey Herald on Wednesday to report the issue and said they contacted the onsite management office for assistance but received no calls back or correspondence of the issue until the boil water notice. Some said they also contacted the 24th Legislative District for assistance.
One resident, Emily Perez, said she left voicemails for Brookside management without return calls or information posted about the lack of heat and water. A single mother of three, she said her family experienced difficulties with the inability to flush their toilet; and overnight two of her daughters slept together to keep warm. Matters were further complicated, she said, when her youngest daughter was sent home from school with a fever on Wednesday — to a home that had no heat.