2012-06-21 / Front Page
Bacteria found in water leads to boil-water advisory
Officials say cause may be related to construction on Ernston Road
OLD BRIDGE — Residents were warned earlier this week that they must boil their water before consuming it after bacteria was discovered in a sample collected on June 15.
According to the Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority (OBMUA), fecal coliform bacteria was found in the water supply. The contamination was likely caused by a construction-related event at Bordentown Avenue and Ernston Road. Crews hired by Middlesex County have been working for several months to widen the intersection.
Old Bridge Councilman and OBMUA Commissioner Richard Greene said the contaminating substance entered a water pipeline after it was opened and lowered as per construction needs. Although residents in Sayreville and Aberdeen have received warnings against drinking the water, Greene said he was told that only certain sections of Old Bridge were affected.
“It was contained within one pipeline that originated in the Bordentown and Ernston
Road area,” he said. “The OBMUA tests the water at various sites throughout the township every month, and they are sent to independent labs. If the lab finds a problem, the [OBMUA] follows a procedure set forth by the DEP.”
That procedure includes additional testing and the delivery of the notice sent to residents to boil their water.
After hearing about the water issue, Sayreville Borough Engineer Jay Cornell contacted the borough water department, and officials indicated the problem was in Old Bridge. According to Cornell, there is no problem with the water in Sayreville. He added that the only water line in the vicinity of the intersection project that serves Old Bridge is a 30-inch MiddlesexWater Co. line, that was scheduled to be replaced for the project.
Greene said no residents have reported becoming ill due to the contamination, and the warnings are considered a precautionary measure. He added that this was an isolated incident, and that he did not believe such a situation had occurred during the years he has been an OBMUA commissioner. He said subsequent tests have come back clean, and he believed the water ban would be lifted sometime this week.
“They take a lot of precautions because it is not only the state but the federal government that has oversight over the quality of the water,” he said. “They feel now that it is under control.”
The OBMUA advised residents to bring their water to a boil, let it boil for one minute and let it cool before using it. The advisory is limited to the north and eastern sections of the township, including the Madison Park and Central Park areas, London Terrace apartments, New Amsterdam apartments, Parkwood apartments, Madison Gardens apartments, Cedarview, Spring Hill Village, Branble Run, Townsend Estates, Ellen Heath, Oxford Estates, Barclay Square, Hampton Court, Charleton Village, Cheesequake Woods, Tudor Court, Cheesequake Estates, Kerr Estates, Bridgepointe, Parkview at Madison apartments, Cheesequake Village and the Laurence Harbor and Cliffwood Beach areas.
According to the OBMUA website, the bacteria can cause illness and is a particular concern for people with weakened immune systems. Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates the water might be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms, and they may pose a special health risk for infants, young children and people with severely compromised immune systems.
The advisory states the OBMUA was chlorinating and flushing the water system and increasing sampling for coliform bacteria to determine the source of the contamination.
The agency said that, until the restriction is lifted, boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation until further notice. If residents experience symptoms related to the contamination and they persist, they are advised to seek medical attention.
For more information, refer to www.obmua.com or call 732-679-4187 to leave a message on voicemail. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.
Contact Deanna McLafferty at