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NI Water blasted over length of time it took to repair burst pipe

By Chris McCullough

Published 15/08/2015

DUP MP Gavin Robinson was concerned about why NI Water did not put on more crews to fix the problem quicker
DUP MP Gavin Robinson was concerned about why NI Water did not put on more crews to fix the problem quicker

NI Water has been accused of not acting quickly enough to fix a burst water main in east Belfast on Thursday night.

Some residents woke up to no water on Friday morning after a water main burst on the corner of Castlereagh Road and Prince Regent Road.

Around 100 customers affected by the shortage contacted NI Water to advise of the problem.

Although crews were on site during the night to fix the burst pipe, DUP MP Gavin Robinson was concerned about why NI Water did not put on more crews to fix the problem quicker.

He wondered if budget concerns prevented NI Water from sending in more emergency crews to ensure the houses were reconnected quicker.

Mr Robinson said: "It seems to have been a big problem but my main concern is why emergency teams from NI Water were not increased when they realised the scale of the problem.

"Surely they could have had all the households connected quicker if more teams had been on the ground.

"I am wondering if this had anything to do with budget restrictions and I will be asking NI Water for an explanation."

The water body said: "NI Water operatives were in attendance at the scene from mid-afternoon on Thursday as a result of a report of a run of water which was received in the evening of the previous day.

"Investigations revealed that this was caused by a burst to a 30-inch trunk water main. In order to minimise disruption to customers and the travelling public a repair to the main was scheduled to be undertaken between 1am and 6am on Friday morning. At no time prior to the repair being undertaken were any customer supplies interrupted.

"A major planned shutdown and rezoning was carried out between 1am and 6am on August 14 to undertake the burst main repair. We extended this work by two hours until 8am on the 14th due to difficulties encountered in draining the trunk main (main needs to be empty of water to facilitate repair).

"A repair was completed and the main recharged and customer supplies restored by 08.00 hours. However immediately after the repair we recognise that some customers may have experienced lower pressure as the system returned to normal. Please note that the level of staffing in relation to this incident was not an issue.

"When a water distribution system drains down, it takes time for the system to charge following the restoration of supply, having additional staff on the ground would not quicken this process up. Therefore, resources were not an issue on this incident and further resources could have been deployed if they had been required.

"There was potential for up to 12,000 customers to be impacted by this burst, however, the reality was that there were less than 100 no water calls received by NI Water during the course of the incident."

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