New Jersey American Water is still in the process of repressurizing its pipes in Brick Township's section of the barrier island, but a notice sent out to some customers has left them upset.
Residents of the Camp Osborn section – most of which completely burnt down during Superstorm Sandy – were among those who received letters telling them to clear debris from the front of their homes so NJAW crews could manually turn off valves from the street before repressurization, residents told Brick Patch.
But there is an obvious problem, said Betty Ann Fuller, one of those residents: her home is no longer standing, and the lot on which it once stood is blocked off behind emergency fencing.
The purpose of turning off valves from the street before repressurization is to protect homeowners, said company spokesman Peter Eschbach.
If a pipe was damaged during the storm, repressurization could cause those pipes to leak or break, said Eschbach. So valves should be shut off to ensure the integrity of pipes leading into one's home are in working condition.
"Because of all the storm debris, we've only been able to access about 60 percent of those valves," said Eschbach, explaining that NJAW crews were going around and turning off the valves where they could.
For those whose homes were completely lost or remain completely inaccessible, it is not necessary to access properties to turn off the valves.
"If you don't have a valve to turn off, I wouldn't worry about it," said Eschbach.
Barrier island residents are unique in that their water service comes from NJAW rather than the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority due to a multi-town, long-term lease the company holds on the water mains there, with the exception of Lavallette. The BTMUA still handles Brick residents' sewerage services, however.
NJAW announced Saturday that it had repressurized water mains in Toms River's barrier island sections, as well as Pelican Island, though a Do Not Drink order remains in effect until water testing can be completed.
Customers whose valves have been closed must call NJAW to reactivate their service. A company crew will inspect the lines before reactivation.