JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Service has been restored, but residents in Jersey City and Hoboken have been asked to boil their water until further notice after a water main break on Tuesday afternoon.
Thousands of people were left without water for hours.
Officials said the main strike was due to a local contractor in Kearny performing industrial work near the intersection of Howell Street and Duffield Avenue around 3 p.m.
The contractor was putting in sheet piling and pushed a piling directly into a 36-inch main.
Although the break happened in an area where no one lives, it sent ripple effects into almost every neighborhood and every home.
"It's just the worst possible time," resident Luis Jiminez said. "We're already anxious dealing with quarantining and social distancing."
The break drowned a usually busy road and submerged the shutoff valve in five feet of water which prevented crews from getting to it -- and the water kept rising.
As if things weren't bad enough at Carepoint Christ Hospital, which was already hammered by COVID-19, they have been dealing with low water pressure all afternoon and into the evening.
The city rolled in a giant water truck in case they lose it altogether.
SUEZ sent tankers to several neighborhoods in case of a prolonged outage, which of course couldn't have worse timing. As people weary of weeks-long isolation and washing their hands incessantly suddenly found they couldn't.
"We need to wash our hands, it's essential at this point, right now when I go back home, I don't know what I'm gonna do," Jimenez said.
By dusk, workers had managed to bypass the main and service slowly started to return.
But as if people cooped up in their apartments didn't have enough to worry about, officials say the water may no longer be safe to drink.
Water was restored to most of Jersey City early Wednesday, officials said. Crews will begin to repair the broken water transmission main on Wednesday morning.
Residents in both Jersey City and Hoboken were asked to continue to boil water until further notice.
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Service restored but boil water advisory continues in Jersey City, Hoboken after water main break
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