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Second Hoboken Water Main Break Prompts Boil Water Advisory

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A boil water advisory remained in effect in Hoboken Thursday night following two earlier water main breaks that blew out pressure and even swallowed up a car.

Both breaks occurred blocks apart on the same street. The first happened at around 3 a.m. at 8th Street and Willow Avenue. The second break occurred at around 11 a.m. at a construction site at 14th Street and Willow Avenue.

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But by evening almost everyone, except residents right across from the 14th Street Viaduct, had full pressure, CBS 2's Christine Sloan reported.

Officials at the site said full water service will be restored to the area before morning. At 9 p.m. Thursday, United Water said crews were continuing to repairs problems to the 30-inch water transmission main that was broken when a contractor hit a pipe.

"We will have our emergency personnel work through this evening and into the early hours of tomorrow to get this water main back into service," said Tom Neilan, director of operations for United Water. "Our top priority all day has been to restore full service to the residents and businesses of Hoboken and we haven't lost sight of that goal."

The breaks left almost all of Hoboken and the lower part of Jersey City with dirty water and low pressure for most of the day.

United Water also issued a boil advisory because of low water pressure.

Second Hoboken Water Main Break Prompts Boil Water Advisory

"Hoboken residents should boil their water for at least one minute for the following: drinking, cooking, or baking, making ice cubes, taking medication, brushing teeth, washing food, mixing baby formula or food, mixing juices or drinks, feeding pets, and all other consumption. Water does not have to be boiled for the following activities: showering, washing dishes or clothes," said Neilan.

"I've never seen anything this messy," a local resident told WCBS 880's Levon Putney.

Second Hoboken Water Main Break Prompts Boil Water Advisory

Residents in the area said at one point, there was about 4 feet of water flowing down the street.

"I was working upstairs when I heard a big thud, like something fell down. I looked out the window and I saw a huge crack in the street with water gushing out," one man said.

Officials said the dual breaks were unusual and unrelated, 1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg reported.

Water flooded the streets, seeping into nearby homes and businesses and causing the street to buckle. By the time crews arrived, a sinkhole had opened up and swallowed a car.

"Funny if it's in Florida, but not in Hoboken. Oh my God, poor bugger," a man told Sandberg.

Hoboken Sinkhole
A car is swallowed by a sinkhole after a water main break in Hoboken, NJ on Thursday, March 28, 2013. (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

Neighbors said the owner lost his car in Superstorm Sandy and had finally replaced it, only to have it destroyed again. Crews were able to tug the car out of the sinkhole around 8:30 a.m.

The first water main break sent water rushing into nearby basements that were destroyed during Sandy.

"All of these basements got flooded about 4-feet or so," resident Robert Costa said.

"We cleared it all out right after Sandy so we lost everything again," resident Sean MaGee added.

Building owner Eugene Notaro had just finished replacing the electrical system in his basement on Tuesday and said he has more work to do.

"Here we go again," Notaro said. "At the minimum everything has to be changed, all the electronics and things, but I think everything was all new and shiny. My God I can't believe it."

Another man who just replaced his boiler after Sandy had a few feet of water in his basement because of the main break.

"Everything was about finished, here we go," the homeowner said.

Once again, residents were evacuating and preparing for days or even weeks of hardship.

"We'll go away for a day at least and then come back if there's water, but no heat for a while -- the boilers are gone," resident Melissa Golden said.

"Customers should continue to use water wisely during this crisis," Neilan said. "While our emergency crews did a great job in repairing the first break and are in the process of repairing the larger break, we still need people to conserve resources. I can promise residents that we will not rest until water service is restored to everyone. Then we will ensure that the roads affected by both breaks will be repaired and put back into service."

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