Here's what happens when a leak is reported:
Finding a leak.
Leaks can be reported online, on social media, email or by phone. We do ask for as much information as possible to help us find the precise location of the leak.
A small leak may lose the same amount of water as a washing machine being turned on so we’re not always aware that a leak has happened. 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.
A technician will do an assessment of the leak on-site. They might use a listening stick 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.
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.
The planning is so important to keep our customers and our people safe whilst ensuring we do our very best to minimise disruption to daily life and keep our customers with the water supply they need.
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 have signs up around the work to inform customers 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 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