Multiple water main breaks in Rotterdam on Monday prompted town officials to declare a state of emergency.
About 20,000 residents lost water service after an “unprecedented” four main water pipes broke over the course of 18 hours, town officials said.
Crews began work at 3:30 a.m. Monday and are expected to finish by midnight. In the meantime, town officials began providing drinking water Monday night at the former Curry Road Shopping Plaza. Residents lined up with clean one-gallon containers, while police took calls from the homebound and arranged for them to get help.
Earlier in the day, the town declared a town-wide boil-water advisory, with one break resulting a large hole in Princetown Road near Five Corners.
The boil-water advisory will continue, for zip codes 12303 and 12306, for 24 to 36 hours after the breaks are repaired. Town officials will announce when the water is drinkable again, they said.
A section of Princetown Road in Rotterdam off Five Corners remains closed and residents of the town were under a boil water advisory today — if they have water at all — after multiple water main breaks this morning, police said.
Water began flowing onto Princetown Road at about 1 a.m. Monday morning near 321 Princetown Road. Town workers got the main shut off by 5:30 a.m., but residual water was still present at mid-morning, pumped from break site.
The break left a large hole taking half the road and into a front lawn. The 21-inch pipe could be seen cracked after water was drained this morning.
Meanwhile, Rotterdam highway officials got reports of two other breaks nearby, one a similar 21-inch break at the corner of Wallace Avenue and Bernard Street. The other was a 6-inch main on Schermerhorn Road, Highway Superintendent Larry LaMora said on Princetown Road.
A message on left on the main town phone number indicated residents of the entire town were under a boil water advisory. Town offices were also closed for much of the day.
LaMora said this afternoon that he hoped to have the Princetown Road main back on line by this evening. Once water starts flowing there, he said water should return to most without it now.
However, he said, even when water returns, residents should boil it until further notice. That likely will last until sometime Tuesday, he said. The length of the boil water advisory will be determined after discussions with the county health department.
The boil water advisory means residents should not drink the water without boiling it first. It should be brought to a boil, let boil for one minute and then cool. Otherwise residents should use bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and preparing food.
Workers got word of the Wallace-Bernard break mid-morning, LaMora said. They suspect the Princetown Road break caused fluctuations in the water pressure that caused the other two.
“That’s the only thing we can possibly think,” LaMora said.
Crews were expected to work on the Princetown Road break throughout the day, LaMora said. Depending on what they find, it could be fixed by evening. The road itself could be open by Tuesday.
Residents near the Princetown Road break were evacuated as water got into two or three home basements, police said.
The son of one nearby resident reported some water in his father’s basement, but not enough to cause damage.
Residents near the Wallace-Barney break reported no damage. Water pooled in the quiet intersection near the town’s water tower. It also ran into the DEC parking lot next door. The DEC building has no basement, an official on site said, and water flowed harmlessly into a detention basin.
An SUV with official license plates had one wheel sink into the road as it apparently got too close to the break site. A tow truck came and pulled the SUV back with no visible damage.
Residents in the town in general were also asked to conserve water and refrain from watering lawns as repairs are made.
Remaining closed is Princetown Road from Five Corners to Wellington Avenue.
Nearby sections of Mariaville Road and Curry Road were closed, but have reopened.