Bhalla intimates Hoboken will sue PSE&G ‘to collect damages’ from water main break


Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla is intimating that the city will sue PSE&G “to collect damages” sustained due to a main break that left residents without running water for the majority of the week.

Twitter photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Bhalla began by thanking residents for their patience after a water main break near the Jersey City border on Monday morning, which he attributed to a PSE&G contractor, led to a boil water advisory late Tuesday and it stayed into effect until Thursday afternoon.

He also thanked emergency personnel, volunteers, and city staff for navigating through the crisis, which also led to the local hospital evacuating non-emergency patients for a brief time.

“I remain extremely disappointed that we were in this situation to begin with, due to circumstances outside of our control, that caused substantial hardship to our city. To that end, today we have sent PSE&G formal notice that the City intends to collect damages incurred as a result of their apparent negligence in conducting underground construction work,” he wrote in a 2:35 p.m. Nixle alert.

“PSE&G has been instructed, through the City’s law department, to preserve all documents and evidence related to their construction work. We intend to hold PSE&G fully accountable for their actions.”

The Mile Square City’s chief elected official also noted that PSE&G’s gas line upgrades have been suspended until they present the Hoboken engineering office with additional safeguards in their plans to prevent something similar from happening again.

Bhalla also said that the city plans to hold Veolia Water “accountable for their very clear failure to call for a timely boil water advisory, that also had a detrimental effect on our residents,” though he also commended their crews on the ground for their “tireless work.”

“As we move forward, we will continue to work diligently to review any and all protocols with our utility companies, to help mitigate the chances of unnecessary infrastructure failures, due to human error, from happening again,” the mayor added.

His remarks came after Corporation Counsel Brian Aloia sent a letter to PSE&G that finally identifed their contract as J. Fletcher Creamer and Son, a Hackensack-based infrastructure contractor.

“Should you intentionally, recklessly, negligently or inadvertently destroy, alter, amend, change, or adjust any of the above mentioned documents, an additional claim for spoliation may be made against you.”

PSE&G and did not immediately return a request for comment, while Veolia declined to comment.


Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information. 

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  1. The Mayor needs to give us the impression that he is in control of things – don’t be fooled. We are getting sued all over the place, the lead Councilman on many of last year’s projects is in personal bankruptcy, and we are staring down the barrel of a big ‘old tax increase. Time for a reset – starting with this fall’s council elections.

  2. DO IT RAVI, DO IT! Take them to court! Let’s have the discovery so we can all know, publicly and honestly, why the water main break occurred.

    But maybe everyone, including our NJ State censored mayor, should read Hoboken Municipal Code

    Heck, Mr. Anaitik Vyakti, you even signed an ordinance amending that same “Road Openings Permit” in accordance with the recommendation of the Hoboken City Engineer LESS THAN 3 MONTHS AGO (December 22 of 2022 to be exact) on Olga’s recommendations:

    “§ 168-58 Application for permit; emergency waiver; fees; denial and revocation of permit.”
    A. An application for a road opening permit should allow 10 business days for review (with exceptions for emergencies) by the City Engineer.
    (1) Applicants shall state the name, address, and phone contact of the applicant; the name, address, and phone contact of the property owner(s); the name, address, e-mail address, and twenty-four-hour phone contact of the contractor(s)/subcontractor(s) performing the work; with the name of the City road to be opened [with notation to cross streets and immediately adjacent street address(es)]; the nature of work to be performed; and the anticipated start and completion dates.
    (2) The permit application shall be accompanied by a reasonably accurate sketch or plans, as well as a traffic control plan, certificate of liability insurance (in accordance with § 168-60, Insurance required), Zoning Board approval, Planning Board approval, and/or county or state approval, as applicable. The City Engineer reserves the right to require plans or drawings to be prepared by a licensed professional engineer.
    (3) Where the road opening permit involves a site plan or a subdivision plan approved by the City Planning Board or City Zoning Board, a copy of the approved site plan or subdivision plan will be submitted with the application. The permittee will comply with this article and the regulations herein and laws related to the proposed work and any other data as may be reasonably required by the City Engineer.
    (4) All construction shall be governed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Standard Specifications for Roads and Bridge Construction, latest edition, and any amendments thereto. Permits are valid for 90 days from date of issue unless otherwise noted. The validity of the permit may be extended, in the City’s sole discretion, if so requested, in writing, by the applicant prior to its expiration period thereof, for such additional periods as requested by the applicant and acceptable to the City. The City Engineer may, in his or her sole discretion, approve the extension subject to conditions and/or limitations or deny the extension and declare said permit to be null and void upon expiration of the term of the original permit.
    (5) Permit fees may be paid in the form of a check or money order payable to the “City of Hoboken” or in the form of a valid credit card. No cash will be accepted.”

    You made PSE&G out to be digging wildly without proper permits. Before we let Ravi off the hook and jump on PSEG, we should a want to read those permits and see who, exactly, was to blame: PSE&G and/or their subcontractors or the mayor’s team for issuing them incorrectly and not letting PSE&G know there was a water main there?

    But the mayor will likely drop this one as he did with his failed quid-pro-quo litigation with the Hilton, Nixle email list, etc. taking a copy from his BFF for not prosecuting with Satish Poondi for spreading racist fliers around town back in 2017 that help get him elected.

    Give me a break.

    Let’s go team OPRA! Get the facts, please.