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Hoboken, SUEZ Reach Deal To Fix City's Water System

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Hoboken and SUEZ Water announced an agreement Friday to fix the city's water system.

Last August, the Mile Square City saw three water main breaks in just one week. In each case, they sent water cascading down streets and sidewalks, creating rivers on the roads.

There were a total of 17 breaks over a stretch of 65 days last summer. Some flooded basements and even a PATH station.

"It's a huge flood. Everybody literately at their cars, driving it like it's a boat... you can't even walk," Hoboken resident Dina Elbanna told CBS2's Tara Jakeway. "It's dirty and then it smells bad."

Web Extra: Hoboken Mayor And SUEZ Water Announce New Agreement 

When residents demanded an explanation, the situation often devolved into a blame game. City officials and SUEZ executives said the pipes were more than 100 years old, making them susceptible to breaks year-round.

"In the summertime, it can get pretty bad, especially with the heat. The pipes will burst," said resident Matt Clark. "Also in the winter time, the pipes will freeze."

On Friday, officials came together on the steps of Hoboken City Hall to announce their new service contract, which includes an overhaul of the water main system.

"Hoboken and SUEZ have agreed to a contract that will invest at least $33 million into upgrading Hoboken's olders water mains, which includes proactive investments of $2.2 million each year into our system," Mayor Ravi Bhalla said.

Residents, however, said they're skeptical.

"I don't know if that's going to be enough, but it's certainly a start," said one man.

In addition to the $33 million, the contract also promises the creation of a new water utility.

The agreement still needs to be approved by the City Council. The mayor said he expects that to happen during the council meeting next Wednesday.

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