ATLANTIC CITY — The Municipal Utilities Authority was facing a record number of water main breaks Friday but was managing to keep the water on for customers, Executive Director G. Bruce Ward said.

Friday afternoon, with temperatures around 16 degrees, crews were scrambling to fix 12 water main breaks, he said.

“In a huge week, we deal with three,” Ward said. “In the history of the staff and memory, we have never had as many as we have right now.”

He said the ACMUA has rerouted water and closed off valves.

“I don’t have any shutdowns at my desk right now,” he said at midday Friday.

But he said the authority will provide bottled water to anyone who loses water.

New Jersey American Water said its shore regions were faring pretty well Friday.

“In Atlantic and Cape May counties, we’ve had just one service line leak today in Ocean City and no main breaks since last night,” spokeswoman Denise Free wrote in an email. “We are seeing multiple broken pipes on the customers’ side, which requires us to do emergency shutoffs while they get them repaired.”

The water company sent a recorded message Thursday evening to customers in parts of several towns, including Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township and Linwood, alerting them there had been water main breaks in their areas and service may be affected.

In Atlantic City, large problem breaks were on Albany Avenue by Sandcastle Stadium and at the intersections of Atlantic and South Carolina avenues and Baltic and New York avenues, Ward said.

“Crews are out and deployed, and we have a contract vendor in to help,” Ward said. “The way I see the weather forecast, I don’t see us making as much progress as we would like to until Monday.”

That’s when temperatures are expected to warm, and rain may get rid of some of the snow cover, he said.

“That will allow us to see where we are digging and what the problems are,” Ward said.

But as bad as it is, it’s not nearly as bad as in Manayunk and other areas of North Philadelphia, Ward said, where elevation and hills have sent mud and water into people’s homes after water main breaks.

It’s a waste of good water, he said.

“It’s all good, treated water, and it’s going into the streets,” Ward said.

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Contact: 609-272-7219 mpost@pressofac.com Twitter @MichelleBPost

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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