Here's what happens when a leak is reported:
Finding a leak
Leaks can be reported online, on social media, email or by phone. To help us find the precise location of the leak, we do ask for as much information as possible.
A small leak may lose the same amount of water as a washing machine being turned on so we’re not always aware that there is a leak. However we do have a large team of technicians out each night listening, looking and finding leaks – and industry-leading technology to help us monitor our pipes. But we’re always really grateful when customers let us know about leaks they’ve seen.
Investigating the leak
One of our technicians will carry out an assessment of the leak when they're on-site. They might need equipment to locate exactly where the leak is coming from. They will also take into account the impact to customers, the traffic disruption and prioritise the work based on the most urgent.
The most urgent leaks are investigated within a day and smaller leaks that aren't as urgent within 3 days.
In cold, freezing weather we often experience a higher number of leaks but we will always deal with the most urgent leaks first.
Planning the repair
Once the leak has been found and assessed, we need to plan traffic management and apply for any permits to allow us to dig, close roads or in some exceptional cases alter bus routes.
We'll put signs up around the work to let customers know when we're due to complete the job. If we have to turn off the water, close a road or cordon-off some parking, we'll make sure we let our customers know.
Fixing the leak
When we have the right permits and have made all necessary plans to keep our customers and teams’ safe - the repair team begins.
We’ll put signs up around the work to let customers know we’re due to complete the job. If we have to turn off water, close a road or cordon-off some parking, we’ll make sure our customers know.
Then we dig to find the leaky pipe. Because our pipes were laid so long ago, we often have to dig down really deep – and navigate around gas, electricity pipes.
It’s messy, muddy work. It might be pouring with rain, icy and cold but we’re out in all weather come rain or shine.
The final touches
Once we’ve carried out the repair, we return the site as if we were never there. After we’ve filled in the holes we sometimes have to leave the ground safely cordoned-off, this is so it ‘cures’, which is very important as it means it is safe and strong enough to be driven on.
If the repair is close to your home you might notice a couple of changes to your water – don’t worry, they won’t last long:
- Cloudy water – this is air in the water and is perfectly safe to drink, but if you run your cold tap this should help it return to normal
- Low pressure – this is safe and normal, after a leak or burst it can take a little while for the pressure to build back up