Is Chiswick's Water Infrastructure Falling Apart?
Thames Water blames cold snap for recent spate of pipe bursts
A recent spate of leaks on Chiswick's roads has led to intermittent interruptions in supply for homes and businesses in the area and concerns about the state of the infrastructure that supplies us with water are growing.
Pipe bursts have recently occurred on Chiswick High Road, Strand on the Green, Chiswick Road, Evershed Walk, Dukes Avenue and Devonshire Road amongst others. Residents and businesses have been frustrated at what they see as the tardy response from the water company.
Thames Water say one factor contributing towards the large number of incidents is the very cold spell in February which caused pipes particularly the old cast iron ones to contract and then split when the weather warmed up again. This was the likely cause of the Chiswick Road burst.
The repair near Halfords on Chiswick High Road is the one causing the most disruption and concern. A Thames Water spokesperson said when asked about the time taken to complete the work, "The reason this repair took us longer to get on with than usual is because of the way this part of our network is configured. Many thousands of our customers rely on this main for their water supplies, and to fix it we first needed to turn off water running through it. In order to do the repair we had to re-route water from other parts of our network, which in this case proved complicated. However, we have now done that. The water in the broken pipe is off."
The utility company are currently carrying out a permanent repair by slip-lining (feeding a tougher, plastic pipe inside the existing broken one) the 12-inch main. They will need to make sure it is water-tight and properly disinfected before running water back through it again. Once that is done the pavement can be restored and blocked lane on Chiswick High Road reopened. This process is likely to take at least a week from today (7th March). Thames have pledged to pay for the cost of restoring the traffic lights if their activity was responsible for breaking them. The sunken manhole covers nearby will also be repaired and it is not believed that this is a major job.
The problem at this location was the one that resulted in Chiswick Business Park's supply being cut off. The repair is being complicated by the tree which is directly above the pipe. Contractors on the site have told residents that it would be a much easier job if the tree was removed but Hounslow Council are insisting that it remains in place and Thames Water have said that, whilst they can't make any guarantees, they will do all they can to make sure the tree survives.
Thames Water's spokesperson said, "This is not a straightforward repair. It's on a busy road underneath a big tree, which we're trying to avoid damaging, all while keeping our customers' taps running throughout the job. We are really sorry to people who have been affected by this incident - either motorists stuck in traffic or customers' whose supplies have been interrupted."
The complications involved in the work on Chiswick High Road appear to have slowed the response to other smaller leaks. A leak on Thames Road near Strand on the Green School has been gushing for around a week and Devonshire Road near the junction with Ingress Street had water flowing for three weeks before work was undertaken to repair it. Once the repair was finished another leak appeared further up Devonshire Road.
You can report leaks to a 24-hour freephone* leakline on 0800 714 614 and Thames Water wants customers to ‘tweet a leak’ to its Twitter profile @thameswater - giving location details and if possible a picture
Thames Water Live is a web page which is supposed to show the latest report leaks but it does not appear to have been updated with the latest information from Chiswick.
March 7, 2012