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Lights out for Battersea Power Station leak

Wednesday 6th November 2019 12:00

An engineer taking a look at the pipe under Battersea Power Station

Engineers exploring secret tunnels under Battersea Power Station have repaired a pipe that was leaking enough water to supply more than 1,000 customers every day. 

Thames Water has ramped up its investigative ‘find and fix’ work to reduce leakage from underground pipes using a full range of methods, including satellites, sound alarms, listening sticks, sniffer dogs and by walking the company’s 180 kilometres of service tunnels.

The Battersea team with torches hit the jackpot when they discovered a single point on the one metre-wide trunk main under the iconic power station was losing around 150,000 litres a day – enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool every 17 days.

They also plugged a number of smaller leaks by tightening joints and carried out further maintenance work in confined space to reduce the risk of bursts and disruption to south west London customer supplies in the future.

Mike Kodua, Thames Water, said: “We’re actively controlling more aspects of how we manage the network and these tunnel inspections are proving a valuable way of discovering and plugging leaks. The team in Battersea has done an amazing job in challenging conditions and we hope covering extra miles underground will help save more water across our vast region in the future. 

“Keeping taps flowing in the face of population growth and climate change while reducing leakage remains a top priority for the business. We’re spending more than £1 million every day on the challenge and expect our leakage performance to continuously improve this year, in line with our target of a 15 per cent reduction by 2025.” 

Similar underground work has delivered water savings in tunnels parallel to Kingston Bridge, while the team has identified pipes beneath the Former Metropolitan Water Board offices, the New River Head in Islington, and parallel to Richmond Bridge to next scan for leaks. 

Thames Water’s total network of water pipes stretches for 32,000km, with most under busy roads and surrounded by other utilities – including gas mains, electricity cables and sewers.