Severn Trent battles to fix burst pipes in the aftermath of the severe weather

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Now that the Beast from the East and Storm Emma are passing, Severn Trent is working round the clock to deal with the aftermath as pipes that were frozen are thawing and leaking.

Steve Witter, Head of Leakage Operations for Severn Trent, said: “With a huge increase in the number of leaks and bursts due to the recent freezing weather, we’re asking our customers to report any leaks as soon as possible so we can fix them fast.

“When water freezes within a pipe it expands, putting more pressure on the pipes and joints, often causing pipes to split or joints to pull apart, and then when it thaws the water will start to leak out.

“Obviously we don’t want to waste water by having it leak out of the pipes, but it’s also important to stop leaks from freezing and becoming dangerous ice patches in the cold weather.

“We have a network of water pipes that would stretch around the world and it’s tricky to keep an eye on all of it at the same time.

“We have a lot of specialist technology that will help us to find leaks quickly, but often our customers can spot water leaks before we can.”

Teams of engineers have been working day and night throughout the freezing cold and snowy weather to repair leaks and keep water supplies on for customers, but there are now huge amounts of leaks and bursts left as a result of the thawing temperatures.

Mr Witter added: “We know that there’s still a lot more work to do and there may be some leaks that are out there that we don’t know about.

“So we need our customers help.”

Anyone spotting a leak while they are out and about are advised to call Severn Trent’s Leakline on 0800 783 4444 which is free on most landlines.

They can also report leaks on-line via the website at stwater.co.uk which also shows incidents which have been reported.

Mr Witter added: “In many cases, we don’t know where leaks are until our customers report them.

“Please don’t assume we already know about the burst or leak, even if it’s a large one, particularly in rural areas where it is possible for leaks to run for days without being noticed. We’re always grateful for your help.

“If you have a leak within your home or business however, maybe on pipes in cellars or lofts that weren’t lagged and got cold, you will need to call a plumber as you are responsible for those pipes. We support WaterSafe and you can find a list of approved plumbers at watersafe.org.uk.”

The company emphasised that each leak or burst is repaired on a priority basis, with those affecting its customers’ water supply being fixed first.

Mr Witter said: “Providing our customers with a continuous supply of water is a priority for us so we will always fix these first and then focus on other leaks.

“So please give a good description of the leak when you report it so that we can get to the most urgent ones first.”