Friday, 17 October 2008

The Tale Of A New Water Main

Thames Water have a very bad reputation as far as repairing water leaks are concerned. They claim that many of the leaks are caused by the Victorian mains around London, and are in the middle of an extensive programme to replace much of the network. Regular readers of my blog will be familiar with my tales of disrupted traffic and extremely slow moving work.

Earlier this year the area around my home was the subject of this programme. I had to put up with a huge pile of debris outside my house for several months. Prior to my little area of London being the subject of the programme, an area between my house and the library was subject to several months of disruption.

Yesterday evening as I was watching television I could hear the sound of drills in the area. It was not particularly loud as it was regularly drowned out by the sound of passing traffic or emergency vehicle sirens (we have a police station, ambulance station and fire station in fairly close proximity so sirens are something that you get used to) so I attributed it to someone in a nearby residence doing some DIY on their house. But the drilling carried on, and was still ongoing at well past 11pm. It was obvious that this was no householder carrying out some DIY, for his neighbours would have long before insisted that he stop. While climbing the stairs I noticed that there was a red light some distance along the road, and then this light changed to green. Obviously the drilling I heard must have been large pneumatic drills engaged in digging up the road.

This morning, as I made my way to the library I had to pass the scene that had necessitated drilling long past what would normally be considered an acceptable hour. At the crossroads formed by my road and the one 100 yards from my house, there were temporary traffic lights, barriers and a very large hole in the ground filled with water.

It seems that the nice new water mains put into place just a few months ago have sprung a leak. It is possible to say that it is the new main that is leaking because the area of road that had to be dug up is exactly that which was newly laid after the insertion of the new main. It seems that the contractors working in this area may not have done a very good job. One wonders how many more leaks will occur over the coming weeks and months. In all the years that my family have lived in this house, I do not remember the incidence of a single burst main in the area. It seems that Thames Water still have not solved their problem with leaks even after the introduction of replacements for the aged Victorian mains; in fact, we now have them where no leaks had occurred before.

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