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View recent newsDISRUPTION TO THE WATER SUPPLY

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From Cambridge Water 

Date: 24 August

Time: 3.45pm

Cambridge Water thanks customers for their patience

during burst water main

 Cambridge Water is thanking customers for their support and patience after burst water main left 5000 customers without water for several hours.

The incident, which took place at 6am on Monday, 23 August 2010, caused significant problems to the water supply in Fenstanton, Lolworth, Conington, Hilton, Fen Drayton, Swavesey and Over.

Some areas of Longstanton and St Ives were also affected, together with properties and businesses located along the nearby A14 corridor.

Stephen Kay, managing director of Cambridge Water, said: “Fortunately such events are extremely rare - this is the largest burst water main we have had to deal with for more than 25 years.

“I can fully appreciate people’s frustration of not having any water or very little water pressure and I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to all of our customers for their understanding and patience during the very difficult time.”

As soon as Cambridge Water became aware of the burst main in Hattons Road, Longstanton its priority was to return water supplies to customers as soon as possible.

The involved re-routing some of the water around the burst main, while other villages were granted temporary access to neighbouring Cambridge Water supply zones.

The whole exercise had to be operated in a controlled way to prevent the excessive build-up of air in the network which could have lead to further burst pipes.

This meant many properties were without water for several hours and when supplies were eventually returned many received low pressure for a while as the system took time to refill. Bottled water was delivered by the company to customers listed as having individual needs, as well as those villages which were without supply for the longest period of time.

Mr Kay added “As more and more information became available the Cambridge Water team did their best to update the Cambridge Water website and the media. We also received more than 1300 calls. However, as I am sure you can appreciate this was a very fast-moving situation. Providing accurate and timely advice while trying to resolve the situation was a challenge, but hopefully one we can learn from.”

As of Tuesday afternoon the company reported only a handful of properties along the A14 corridor near Lolworth and Longstanton were without a supply. All of these have been provided with alternative water supplies and the company has been liaising with the individuals concerned to offer guidance and advice.

Mr Kay added: “Work to locate and repair the burst main, which has required pumping out a flooded field, will continue as a matter of urgency. All being well the company is confident this will be completed by Wednesday.”

As supplies are returned to normal customers may experience cloudy or milky water coming through their taps. They may also hear a knocking noise in their water pipes. Both of these are caused by air in the system and the water remains safe to drink.

Anyone who continues to experience problems is advised to contact Cambridge Water on 01223 706050. Further information and advice is available at www.cambridge-water.co.uk.

Q&As relating to this incident 

Could the loss of supply lead to any further problems? 

When the supply returns the water can be affected by:

·         Reduced pressure – this can be caused by air getting temporarily trapped in the system. If this problem persists please contact Cambridge Water on 01223 70 60 50.

·         Cloudy/milky water – this is caused by air getting trapped in the system

·         Discoloured (brown) water – this is caused by sediment being stirred up in the pipes.

If this is the case wait until later in the day and run your taps for 30 minutes or until it clears, whichever is the sooner. If it does not clear after this time please contact Cambridge Water on 01223 70 60 50. In these instances the water is safe to drink.

I have a knocking or banging noise coming from my pipes. Why is this?

This is known as water hammer. It is caused by pockets of air caught in the water supply as a result of a burst water main. These then bang against the side of the water pipes, causing them to knock or vibrate. This issue should resolve itself once the water pressure in the pipes is sufficient to overcome the trapped air.

Customers’ internal plumbing should be robust enough to withstand interruptions to the water supply. However, if you are concerned your internal plumbing may have been damaged or affected by a supply interruption, you are advised to contact your plumber.

If repairs are subsequently carried out, the plumber should provide you with an invoice that clearly states what repairs have been done and the fact this has been caused as a direct result of problems relating to the burst water main in Longstanton on 23 August 2010.

Will the plumbing at my property be affected? 

Customers’ internal plumbing should be robust enough to withstand interruptions to the water supply. However, if you are concerned your internal plumbing may have been damaged or affected by a supply interruption, you are advised to contact your plumber.

If repairs are subsequently carried out, the plumber should provide you with an invoice that clearly states what repairs have been done and the fact this has been caused as a direct result of problems relating to the burst water main in Longstanton on 23 August 2010.

This should be forwarded on to Cambridge Water for consideration.

Will Cambridge Water be paying compensation for water I have used to flush my water pipes?

If you are a metered customer and were required to flush your water pipes to clear them of discoloured or aerated water, you may be entitled to compensation.

Typically this will equate to one cubic metre (equivalent to one hour flushing of a number of taps in the property).

For further details please call 01223 706050.

Cambridge Water does not pay compensation to unmetered customers who were required to flush their water pipes, as the bill is not affected by the amount of water that has been used.

Will Cambridge Water be paying compensation for the fact I was without water?

Cambridge Water apologises for the disruption the burst main at Longstanton caused to its customer’s water supply on August 23, 2010. The company is responsible for 2400km of water mains, which like all water pipes can burst at any time without prior warning or means of identification.

Fortunately, bursts on large mains that cause widespread disruption, such as the one at Longstanton, happen very infrequently.

Because it is not possible to plan for a major incident such as this, and in recognition of the fact that such incidents on strategic mains like the one at Longstanton take longer to resolve, the company is not required to pay compensation for loss of supply under its Guaranteed Standards of Service Scheme, provided the supply is restored within 48 hours. If you believe your property was without water for longer than this as a result of the burst main you should contact us on 01223 706050.

I run a business/organisation that had to close/suffered financial loss because of the lack of water. Will you be paying me compensation?

Cambridge Water apologises for the disruption the burst main at Longstanton caused to its customer’s water supply on August 23, 2010. The company is responsible for 2400km of water mains, which like all water pipes can burst at any time without prior warning or means of identification.

Fortunately, bursts on large mains that cause widespread disruption, such as the one at Longstanton, happen very infrequently.

Because it is not possible to plan for a major incident such as this, and in recognition of the fact that such incidents on strategic mains like the one at Longstanton take longer to resolve, the company is not required to pay compensation for loss of supply under its Guaranteed Standards of Service Scheme provided the supply is restored within 48 hours. If you believe your property was without water for longer than this as a result of the burst main you should contact us on 01223 706050.

If you run a commercial undertaking or an organisation that relies on the water supply to carry out its business, we would advise you to consider installing water storage. We do not pay compensation for planned or emergency work, however, we do try to minimise the inconvenience for businesses.

Ends

22 Comments | Leave a comment

Stephen Adams | 8/23/2010 10:33:49 AM :
I live in Fenstanton and had to report low pressure on our domestic system, spoke to you customer service department, and i would like to say excellent service, explained the situation, great service thanks steve
John Hibberd | 8/23/2010 11:36:06 AM :
Thanks for posting an update. Just to let you know, water pressure in Swavesey, School Lane, is almost zero at 11.30am
Mollie Hallas Acc. No. 07027501825 | 8/23/2010 11:55:41 AM :
Excellent customer service and very polite and helpful gentleman who answered the telephone this morning.
Jim Buchanan | 8/23/2010 12:03:36 PM :
How is this only affecting 3000 customers if it is affecting the villages of Lonstanton, Fenstanton, Hilton, Longworth, St Ives, Swavesey, Over, Connington and properties South of the river? Good information flow though.
Jackie Barnett | 8/23/2010 12:21:48 PM :
Fen Drayton is also affected by the burst main. The time is now 12 :14. I am a primary carer for 2 disabled people living in Fen Drayton who haven't had drinking water for 6 hrs now. I live in Hilton and also haven't had water, not even enough to flush the toilet. Considering the amount you charge for our water, I really think the least you could do is send out vans with bottled water for the most needy - disabled people, young children. Are we going to be compensated?? This really isn't good enough. Furthermore the drinking water in Fen Drayton has been cloudy for weeks now, no matter how much it is run. The maintanance of the water mains seems to be lax to say the least. REPLY - the website has been updated with information throughout the day, as and when it has become available. We will be reviewing all comments and responding to them as appropriate, with a view to ensuring any lessons are learnt as a result of this incident.
Gavin Maycock - Dairy crest Fenstanton | 8/23/2010 1:24:08 PM :
Do we have a estimated time for the supply to be back?
Mary Purton | 8/23/2010 1:28:07 PM :
Why are you issuing the same 2-3 hours estimate on statements timed at 9am, 11 am and 1 pm? How about putting a time on the resumption of supply? If I know that I won't have water before, say 6pm, then I can plan to cope or help neighbours in need. But repeating 'it will be back soon' at 2-h intervals isn't helpful. REPLY - the website has been updated with information throughout the day, as and when it has become available. We will be reviewing all comments and responding to them as appropriate, with a view to ensuring any lessons are learnt as a result of this incident.
Julie Miller | 8/23/2010 1:32:57 PM :
I live at Fen Drayton and I reported no water to your office approx 8.40am I have listened to broadcasts on local radio and Fen Drayton has not been mentioned as a village experiencing problems although this is not the case. The lateset braocast indicated tha some villages were now getting a trickle of water as the problem was being dealt with. There is no trickle of water coming out of my taps and I am a little concerned that Fen Drayton has been overlooked in view of fact that you do not even mention us on your web site
Andrew | 8/23/2010 1:45:39 PM :
Why did you take so long to report the fault on your web page? Why are you unable to provide a reliable forecast as to how long it will take to resume supply? This morning you reported that it would take 2-3 hours. At 13:00, you state the same thing. Do you have any idea of when we will get back our water supply. You have people busy reading meters in the area, would it not make better to use your resources to inform people in the area, some of whom do not have the internet what is happening? Are you going to rebate people for the extra cost of having to buy bottled water to flush toilets and other essentials? REPLY - the website has been updated with information throughout the day, as and when it has become available. We will be reviewing all comments and responding to them as appropriate, with a view to ensuring any lessons are learnt as a result of this incident.
J M Dooley, Hilton | 8/23/2010 2:21:42 PM :
Will it be back on today? At 9 am, the site said that 100 people were affected and the service would be back on by 10. At 10 I think it said 3000 affected. At 11 am, a similar message to the above said that as result of controlled bleeding out of air the service would be restored in two to three hours. Now, at 1pm it is still two to three hours. What is the true position? I know that the physical work is not easy but assessment should be better by management.REPLY - the website has been updated with information throughout the day, as and when it has become available. We will be reviewing all comments and responding to them as appropriate, with a view to ensuring any lessons are learnt as a result of this incident.
John Bennett | 8/23/2010 2:31:32 PM :
When is the supply to Longstanton scheduled to be resumed?. This website keeps increasing the expected times, and now only shows other villages , without Longstanton
AL | 8/23/2010 2:35:15 PM :
Thanks for the hourly updates online. Most useful for keeping up with progress and when to expect a return to normal service.
Nick | 8/23/2010 2:37:02 PM :
Do you have any idea on when the service might be restored in StIves?
Mary Purton | 8/23/2010 2:40:25 PM :
2.30 pm Water back on in Station Road, Over. Thanks!
John Rees | 8/23/2010 2:46:04 PM :
What is the telephone number for emergencies out of office hours, please? Did anybody else find it impossible to find a contact number out of office hours? Reply: Our office contact number is 01223 706050. Our office hours are 8.30am - 5pm, however, we're open 24 hours a day for emergency calls.
Sarah Redman | 8/23/2010 2:53:51 PM :
I'd like to commend Cambridge Water Company for their excellent customer service. The lady I spoke to this morning was very helpful and I have been regularly checking your website throughout the day for updates. Any idea on how much longer it will be in Swavesey? Contemplating going to the gym to shower!
David Thompson | 8/23/2010 3:33:32 PM :
Once information was available it was good, clear and updated. However, it would have been handy to have had a recorded message briefly stating the problem first thing. At 07:30 the 706050 just rang with no reply, just knowing there was a problem would have helped. Reply - thank you for your comments. This is something we will look into further.
Phil Coldrick | 8/23/2010 3:51:41 PM :
Thanks for the regular updates. Can you give any information on the 5% of the region that might remain without water?
Andrew | 8/23/2010 4:01:25 PM :
Information getting better (almost adequate) after v.poor and innacurate information until mid-afternoon. We now have an estimated time of between 4-5 p.m for "some supplies" whatever that means. Please: less 'spin' with positive postings and more concentration on accurate reporting. REPLY - the website has been updated with information throughout the day, as and when it has become available. We will be reviewing all comments and responding to them as appropriate, with a view to ensuring any lessons are learnt as a result of this incident.
Sarah Potter | 8/23/2010 4:38:42 PM :
I would lke to comment that although the 24/7 line is the 01223 706050 number, it is not immeadiately clear when you call outside of hours as a voicemail message states the offices are closed - you have to listen to the full duration of the message to be told to 'hold' for the 24/7 service. I rang on multiple occassions but on hearing the offices were closed hung up as I did not want to waste my phone bill on a voicemail - perhaps the voicemail can state to 'hold' for the 24/7 line right at the start of the message? Once available, the online information was useful though.
Connull Dunbar | 8/23/2010 4:59:41 PM :
Customer services told me at 10am that the service would be up and running by 10:30am. This 'goal post' has changed every hour or so and we have finally started to get a 'trickle' of water through the taps (at 16:30pm!) I am not happy with the service and will be raising a complaint shortly. REPLY - the website has been updated with information throughout the day, as and when it has become available. We will be reviewing all comments and responding to them as appropriate, with a view to ensuring any lessons are learnt as a result of this incident.
Jonathan | 8/23/2010 5:20:40 PM :
Thank you for good and continuous updates throughout the day.

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