Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla has written to the community, updating residents and businesses in the aftermath of Monday’s serious water main break on Observer Highway, which was caused by PSE&G and one of its contractors.
Here is the correspondence sent out this afternoon:
I want to begin by reiterating my sincere thanks to you, the residents of Hoboken, for your patience as we dealt with the effects of the water main break the past several days. To say the past week has been challenging for our community is a vast understatement. I am greatly appreciative to all of the volunteers, city staff, and emergency personnel for helping us through the crisis, and providing some much-needed assistance to our residents given the circumstances.
I remain extremely disappointed that we were in this situation to begin with, due to circumstances outside of our control, that caused substantial hardship to our city. To that end, today we have sent PSE&G formal notice that the City intends to collect damages incurred as a result of their apparent negligence in conducting underground construction work. PSE&G has been instructed, through the City’s law department, to preserve all documents and evidence related to their construction work. We intend to hold PSE&G fully accountable for their actions. In addition, as we communicated yesterday, PSE&G’s construction for their gas line upgrades have been suspended until further notice, until they present to our engineering office acceptable, additional safeguards that we will require to mitigate against any future errors on their part.
My administration is also working to gather all of the relevant facts and information regarding Veolia, as we intend to simultaneously hold them accountable for their very clear failure to call for a timely boil water advisory, that also had a detrimental effect on our residents. This major shortcoming should not be conflated with the tireless work of Veolia’s on-the-ground crews, who did an admirable job working around the clock to isolate the broken water main, as quickly as possible.
As we move forward, we will continue to work diligently to review any and all protocols with our utility companies, to help mitigate the chances of unnecessary infrastructure failures, due to human error, from happening again.
Ravi S. Bhalla