Montclair declares a state of emergency due to the water crisis

The town of Montclair has officially announce State of emergency due to the ongoing water crisis.

in YouTube video message Published Saturday, October 8, Mayor Sean Spiller announced the proclamation, which went into effect at 3 p.m. and bans everyone Unnecessary use of water.

The mayor said the North Jersey County Water Supply Commission experienced a major water outage in Notley on a six-foot drop on Wednesday, Sept. 28. The break also knocked out service on one of the nearby four-foot-high water mains in Newark.

“The impact of this fracture was devastating,” Spiller said. “While we have been working nonstop to try to mitigate the impact on our town, and thanks to all of those who are following up on notifications requesting voluntary water use reductions, we are still not seeing enough water use reductions to meet our challenging supply.”

On Friday, October 7, at about 10 p.m., the North Jersey County Water Supply Commission made several unsuccessful attempts to repair the separator. However, these and other failed water supply efforts led the town to conclude, by midnight, that it would not have enough water.

After drawing this conclusion, Spiller stated that he immediately called Governor Phil Murphy to discuss the various ideas that Montclair had devised with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and county and state offices for emergency management. Together, Spiller said, the town was able to meet Montclair’s water use requirements early the next morning.

“With the steps we’ve taken and with your help, I’m optimistic we can meet this moment,” Spiller said.

Currently, Montclair has attached its system to several neighboring towns. Cedar Grove supplies the city at about 1,500 GPM, Verona contributes 800 GPM, and Clifton helps at 1,000 GPM.

The private organization, the New Jersey American Water Company, also provides an additional 600 gallons per minute through the system to help. All of Montclair’s wells are operating at full capacity, Spiller said, and every one of the town’s pumps is being used to inject additional water.

“Our facilities manager was also in the process of digging canals through Grove Street to connect our water system to the Basic Valley Water Commission’s water supply,” said Spiller. “If we succeed, a process that will likely take days, it should allow us an additional flow of water into our system.”

Montclair reached out to the Bergen County OEM to request assistance in providing multiple water tanks stationed throughout the city for use in the event the Montclair Fire Department had to fight a fire. These tanks provide an immediate supply of water for emergency use without the need to drain the water from the city network.

A stock of 38 pallets of bottled water, each containing approximately 80 crates of water, will be stored in the Montclair Community Services Department yard. “If needed, our emergency services will bring bottled water to any of those who have challenges getting water or who are at home for any reason,” Spiller said.

Montclair is seeking out-of-state assistance to find additional solutions. The city’s congressional delegation is working to see if there is any federal assistance that can be provided to help get potable water on site and to see if there is any possibility of receiving any assistance from FEMA without having to declare a federal emergency. The city also reached out to the National Guard to request additional pumps or to help North Jersey County’s water supply repair a broken pipe. However, Spiller said, it may be difficult to obtain additional tubes given the current fallout from Hurricane Ian in Florida.

“Our biggest risk right now is that if any of the many pumps we are currently straining fail or fail in any way, we run the risk of a major water outage in our system due to the ways we are stressing it in different ways,” Spiller said.

“We have the situation where other cities are facing water shortages just like us, so Cedar Grove and others have already indicated that they may need to reduce the amount of water they provide us,” he said. “Any of these challenges will certainly have an impact on our ability to provide the water we need. But one of the biggest challenges, and one that we need your help with, is reducing water use.”

“We are asking residents and businesses to do everything they can to reduce your water use,” he continued.

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