Thames tackles 1,000 leaks in a week during cold snap
Thames Water has extra staff working around the clock to investigate and repair leaking water pipes caused by the cold snap gripping the south-east.
The utility has 500 technicians and 160 repair crews out dealing with what it says is a 40% increase in reported leaks. Last week alone it repaired more than 1,000 leaks, and extra staff have been drafted in to answer customer calls and log leaks in need of repair.
The company has warned that response times may be slower than normal because of the high workload, and urged its customers to check if leaks have already been reported using its online tracker tool Thames Water Live.
Bob Collington, managing director of the company’s water operations, said: “We’re dealing with the biggest and most disruptive leaks first. This involves working closely with local councils and Transport for London to ensure we carry out our repairs as soon as we have their permission and all safety measures, such as temporary traffic lights, are in place where needed.
“Our customers can really help us at this difficult time by checking we’re aware of any leaks they see using our online tracker, so that we can quickly assess the scale of the problem and ensure gritting is in place overnight when frost is forecast.
“If the leak isn’t on the tracker we have a really easy-to-use online form they can complete to tell us about any new leaks. After that, please bear with us - we really are going as fast as we can.“
Thames Water said the temperature of water entering its pipes from reservoirs makes a big difference to how much they leak and how likely they are to burst.
Collington added: “Research over many years has shown that 5°C is the critical level, causing the iron pipes to pull apart slightly at the joints. Often the water doesn't get down to 5°C, but when it does there is a marked impact.
“This year the sustained cold weather, with frosts virtually every night, meant we crossed the 5°C line last Sunday and this has caused around a 40% increase in the number of leaks being reported to us and a dramatic increase in the workload for our detection and repair teams.”
In response to the forecasts Thames Water began to increase the number of people tackling the work before Christmas. An extensive programme is also in place to grit every outstanding leak on those days when temperatures fall towards freezing.
- No-dig method for lead pipe restoration sets new distance mark Specialist contractors working for Affinity Water in Hertfordshire have completed what is believed to be the longest... Read More >
- Welsh Water spends £21M in west Wales Dwr Cymru Welsh Water plans to invest £21M on a number of projects to improve drinking water supply in west Wales. Read More >
- UKSE funding enables Clearwater to expand Engineering firm Clearwater Controls is set to make waves in international markets following a six-figure deal with UK... Read More >
- Under pressure: Tackling leakage in new networks Leakage in new pipelines represents a significant problem but, working alongside Scottish Water, Ant Hire Solutions has... Read More >
- Comment: New tech and partnerships will up the ante on leakage Closer partnerships, technology and connectivity will be the key to tackling leakage, with collaborative delivery... Read More >
- SES Water seeks out below-ground intelligence Collaborative work to assess the condition of pipes in the Sutton and East Surrey region is set to give SES Water... Read More >
- Opinion: A smarter way to read the water network Smart metering technology could be the key to closing water companies' knowledge gaps about usage in their network -... Read More >
- Ready for anything: Resilience in the Round Resilience is one of the four priorities that Ofwat wants to see water companies adopt in their plans for PR19. But what... Read More >