Water pipes are bursting at an alarming rate in almost every shore town in South Jersey, and now clean up crews are working around the clock to stop the problem before it gets any worse.
As residents are beginning to warm up after last week's arctic weather, so are the frozen pipes underneath their houses, causing frozen pipes to burst as they thaw.
A concerned resident in Ventnor said, "Unfortunately it is happening, and yes, I am very concerned about it."
"Once it gets warmer we'll have more breaks because the water is starting to thaw out and stuff, and the freeze is thawing out and that's when they all break," explained Director of Ventnor Public Works, Dave Smith.
Because many of the pipes that have been bursting are coming from homes that belong to seasonal residents, neighbors are the ones who normally contact the fire department.
The fire department, public works, and local plumbers all work to fix the leaks.
Charlie DelRoss, owner of Charlie DelRoss Plumbing and Heating, said, "We generally shut it off at the curb. We have a ‘curb key' that will take the manhole cover off and will shut it off right at the curb, but 99% of the time the fire department can shut it off also."
Ventnor fire officials say there have been over 60 separate incidents of burst pipes in the past 7 days and that these repairs can be expensive. DelRoss explained, "Depending on what's leaking, you can be anywhere from $300 to $10,000."
And the homeowners with the burst pipes aren't the only ones with a problem on their hands. Most of the flooding incidents have been controlled and contained by officials, but some leaks in Ventnor have overflowed into their neighbor's yards. Edgar Gonzalez, a concerned neighbor, said, "I do believe that some of this water will seep into the backyard, which can then have an adverse effect on the housing and displacement of the home sinking. Everything like that." Another local resident, Chris Karly, added, "It's a domino effect. Some damage is leading to more damage, which is leading to more damage, which is leading to more damage."
As the calls keep pouring in…so does the water. With firefighters, plumbers and public works crews working around the clock, shore towns throughout New Jersey are trying to stay on top of the issue. However, officials still believe there are more leaks to come."
Thomas Kline, the Supervisor of Ventnor City Water Department, said, "I have a feeling that either tomorrow or the next day we're going to have 20 to 30 houses going."
Officials advise all homeowners with broken pipes to make sure the plumbing company working on their home is licensed and to be cautious before hiring a non-licensed contractor.