Diary Of A Thames Water Customer

Two weeks, two broken pipes and one huge hole in the road

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"I have had dealings with Thames Water the incompetence of which blew my mind," writes Chiswick resident John Gilbert who wanted to share his diary cataloguing his dealings with the water company.

The saga began on Wednesday 14th January when Thames Water first arrived on Priory Road to inspect a broken water pipe beneath the road.

14th January - Thames Water arrive to inspect a broken water supply pipe under the road. Nothing is done.

20th January - I email Thames Water to complain about inaction .

21st January - Thames Water contractors arrive, dig a hole and mend the pipe by noon but without prior warning to anyone of disruption to water supply. I note that that the pipe is black plastic; clearly not of the "old Victorian” pipes about which Thames Water complains.

The contractors leave, fenced off, a large hole in the road from which you can see that they have shattered the sewage pipe that takes the sewage from two homes to the main sewage pipe. It runs underneath and at right angles to the water pipe.

4.05pm the hole and broken pipe remain, so I telephone Thames Water and, after holding on for quite some time, I am informed that the contractors had not notified them of a broken sewer pipe and that they would send an emergency team around.

4.30pm a man from Thames Water calls asking about the blockage to my water supply; I put him right and was told that a team from MTS would deal with the problem and that someone would call before they came.

5.15pm MTS operative rings not knowing what he was needed for. For the third time, I told the tale.

6.10pm MTS arrive and inspect ; nothing he can do but send a Thames Water contractor to put a cover over the broken sewage pipe; Thames Water would then " Work out who was to blame " and only after that mend the pipe and fill in the road

22nd January - no cover over the broken drain and no attempt by Thames Water to contact me.

23rd January - the contractors from 21st January arrive (the same firm that made the hole and shattered the sewage pipe ); two men get out and inspect the hole. One makes a call on his mobile and then both leave with nothing done .

That evening I receive an e-mail from Thames Water responding to my email of 29th January stating that:

  1. Before the water supply was switched off so that the waterpipe could be mended, a letter was hand-delivered to my house and neighbouring houses; I didn't receive one neither did my neighbours.
  2. The sewage pipe had to be broken so as to mend the water pipe; this has to be arrant nonsense but, if I am wrong, why is it that no one was told? Why did no one from Thames Water know about this and therefore allow free flow of raw sewage for two days? Why had no steps have been taken to mend the sewage pipe? And why have the two contractors arrived not equipped to deal with the broken pipes and appear puzzled?
  3. All is now in order" according to Thames Water and the sewage pipe was mended on 21st January.

Which fails to explain why it is that there remains a large fenced off hole in the road in which lies a shattered sewage pipe as I write on Saturday 24th January.

Workmen were back in the hole on Monday 26th January and again on Tuesday 27th January when the photo (above) was taken.

We have asked Thames Water when they expect the work to be finished and have been promised a response within ten working days.

January 27, 2009