ROTTERDAM, N.Y. – A State of Emergency was issued in Rotterdam after four separate water main breaks in the town.
The town of Rotterdam declared a state of emergency at 4 p.m. Monday. The town experienced an unprecedented four water main breaks in 18 hours. The town said approximately 20,000 residents are without adequate water.
Crews have been on the scene of the breaks since 3:30 a.m. Officials believe one of the town’s primary water mains on Princetown Road was the first to break. Homes in the area were flooding.
“I had a good foot and a half in the back yard,” resident Carrie Grattan said. “The front as you can see is a mess.”
“That was a large break,” Deputy Town Supervisor Wayne Calder said. “That’s a 20-inch line. A main line.”
Town leaders think the Princetown Road water main break may have led to the three additional water main breaks.
“Because the pressure changes when a break happens, and if they shut one line off it may cause more pressure on another,” Calder said.
The Princetown Road break was repaired Monday, and only the water main break on Bernard Street and Wallace Street still needed to be repaired late Monday night. Water was slowly being restored through the Princetown Road water main, and most - but not all - residents should reach substantial pressure for necessary household activities by 6 a.m. Tuesday.
The boil water advisory will remain in effect for zip codes 12303 and 12306 even after water is restored. The water will not be drinkable for at least 24 to 36 hours.
Once water in each tank reaches a sufficient level, the town's water department will be allowed to take samples of the water that will be delivered to a state certified water testing facility. The facility will test the water to be sure it is safe for drinking.
The town will share the results with the Schenectady County Department of Health. After another 18 hours passes, the town will send water again to the water testing facility and will share the results with Schenectady County.
After two clean test results, Schenectady County Department of Health will evaluate the results and will make the decision to rescind the boil water advisory.
Fresh water became available to residents at 6 p.m. at 1410 Curry Road in Schenectady, or the former Curry Road Shopping Center. Residents should bring their own one gallon jug to be filled with drinking water by town staff.
The Red Cross has provided bottled water for residents who cannot provide their own container.
“This is organized by the town,” Ed Roosa with the Red Cross said. “They have 8,000 gallons in this water tender.”
Residents who are homebound should contact the Rotterdam Police Department for assistance at 518-355-7331.
Once water has been restored, residents are not to use water unnecessarily. Use of water for nonessential purposes such as lawn sprinkling is prohibited. Burning of any land is also strictly prohibited.
“We don’t have enough water, we feel right now, to properly fight a fire if we need to,” Calder said.
Despite the difficulties of the water main breaks, most residents seemed to be taking it in stride.
“We’re safe. We’re alive. My pets are okay,” Grattan said. “I’m back with my pets. That’s all I care about.”
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