The Independent London Newspaper

 

LETTERS: Stream flowed down Finsbury Park road for weeks after pipe burst

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Ambler Road

Published: 6 January, 2017

• THERE have been lots of reports recently about dramatic bursts of the mains water supply as a result of Thames Water’s failure to maintain the pipes. But here is an example of how it deals – or not – with its leaking pipes.

End November: A pipe in Ambler Road, Finsbury Park, bursts, with the resultant stream of water running down the side of the road close to the front gardens of numbers 9-25. Thames Water is working in the street at that time installing water meters in the pavement

December 5: The leak is reported via the internet. There was a response from Thames Water on December 6 advising that it would call to update the resident once the technician had surveyed the leak. No call was ever received.

December 12: 19 Ambler Road contacted Thames Water customer services by phone to ask for an update. We were told that it had visited the road but it was too noisy during the day to ascertain the source of the leak – which is done by the highly sophisticated method of listening with a rod. It would come back at night to do its divining.  In the meantime Thames Water asked if we wanted to take out a policy against damage caused by flooding. We said: “No, thank you. Just focus on sorting out the problem.”

December 16: Several houses on Ambler Road get a note through the door saying Thames Water had fitted water meters. No 9 responds via its online complaints system in disbelief that it had the temerity to be doing this when a large section of the road was under water, and again requesting an update.  None has been received.

December 17: The leak continues to get worse as water is now bubbling 

up in the middle of the road. 19 Ambler Road calls Thames Water again for an update. The customer services department cannot find any record of the leak nor can provide an update. After some calls to another department it says that the leak source has been found and work will be done on December 19. 

December 19, 6pm: No works have been done other than some cones having been put on both sides of the road. 19 Ambler Road calls Thames Water. It checks its records and says that the works have been completed. We beg to differ. After various calls to other departments Thames Water says that works could not be done due to its failure to get permits in time. So the works are delayed for a few more days. Thames Water hopes to get it done before Christmas. 

December 22: Thames Water has been working on the road for two days. Today it left at around 1pm. There are two holes dug in the road, lots of cones... and the stream continues to flow. We have no idea when it will stop. 

The last thing we need is an Islington/Stoke Newington/Streatham-type scenario, especially when Thames Water has had three weeks’ notice of the problem. Are its priorities to keep shareholders’ pockets filled?  

Residents have no choice but to get water from Thames Water, unlike any other utility. Surely this at least needs to change as this will force this company to respond in a more responsible manner to customers, and maintain its pipes so that the number of leaks can be reduced and precious water saved.

CAROLINE BROWN
Ambler Road, N4

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