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Telford water pipe burst: Schools closed and thousands without water after poor weather hampers repairs

By Nathan Rowden | Telford | News | Published:

Thousands of people in Telford were still without running water today after one of the biggest pipes supplying the town burst.

Work continues to repair the water pipe

About 20,000 homes and businesses are believed to have been affected by the burst on Sunday morning, which left much of the Telford area south of the M54 with either no water, low pressure or a murky supply.

Severn Trent Water was working late into Sunday night to fix the problem, but said poor weather conditions had hampered progress.

The serious damage to the pipe

Repairs are now expected to finish by midnight today but further work will need to be carried out after that, so not all customers will have their water back by then.

Severn Trent workers in Telford

The water company confirmed 120,000 litres of free bottled water will be available until 10pm tonight at Tesco in Madeley, at the Museum of the Gorge car park in Ironbridge and William Brookes School in Much Wenlock.

There was also a water bowser at the Telford store where people can get supplies in a container.

This afternoon it was announced that after 6pm customers could also collect bottled water from Birchmeadow Centre in Broserley.

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Schools in the town were also closed on Monday due to the burst pipe.

Here is a list of the schools Telford & Wrekin Council and Shropshire Council confirmed were shut:

  • Haughton School, Madeley
  • John Fletcher of Madeley Primary School, Madeley
  • Madeley Nursery, Madeley
  • John Randall Primary, Madeley
  • William Reynolds Primary School & Nursery, Woodside
  • Sir Alexander Fleming Primary School, Sutton Hill
  • William Brookes School, Much Wenlock
  • Barrow C of E Primary, Much Wenlock
  • John Wilkinson Primary, Broseley
  • Woodlands primary and nursery, Madeley
  • Broseley CE Primary, Broseley
  • Abraham Darby Academy, Madeley

The southbound slip road from A442 Queensway to A442 Brockton Way was also shut today while repairs took place.

Severn Trent water confirmed that 1,000 customers were connected to the water supply at 1pm, and those without water may see their supplies coming and going throughout the day.

The size of the hole that's been dug to get down to fix the pipe

If anyone has a doctor or dentist appointment today, call and check with your usual practice to find out if there have been any changes to your appointment.

Workers have had to carefully drill through a layer of concrete to avoid a high-pressure gas main and reach the 21-inch pipe, which burst in the Bishopdale area of Brookside at around 4am on Sunday morning.

A section of the pipe is cracked, meaning it needs to be cut out and replaced before water can be pumped back through the network.

Severn Trent on the issues in Telford

A spokesman for Severn Trent Water said: "Unfortunately the poor weather conditions through the night have made our repair work difficult and we're working closely with Cadent to make sure we can repair the water pipe safely without causing any damage to their nearby gas pipe.

"That means we need to wait until first light before we can continue fixing the pipe which was left with a 7ft hole when it burst.

"Customers in the TF7, TF3, TF4 and TF8 areas have been affected by this and some customers in the Much Wenlock area are also experiencing low pressure or no water coming from their taps. We're really sorry for this inconvenience and we're doing everything we can to provide water for those affected.

"The repair has been particularly tricky as the 21-inch pipe is very deep underground and, before we could start to dig, we had to cut back nearby trees.

"While we continue to work to make the repair the southbound slip road from the A442 Queensway to the A442 Brockton Way is closed to allow the engineers to work safely, we'd ask drivers to avoid the area if at all possible at this time."

Telford & Wrekin Council said Horsehay Golf and Fitness Centre and Phoenix Sports and Leisure Centre will be open for anyone without water to use for showering after 5pm.

Cllr Rae Evans, cabinet member with responsibility for civil resilience, said: “I know many people have managed to visit family or friends to get around the issue, but if you’ve not been able to, you’ll be very welcome to come and use the facilities at these sites.

“We continue to work closely with Severn Trent to help the communities without water and our thanks to everyone for pulling together and helping each other - it is great to see.

“If you know of anyone, particularly our more vulnerable residents who are unable to get to these locations, please ask them if they need a lift.”

Severn Trent - which has been updating customers by phone, text and social media - moved water around its network and is sending 25 tankers to inject water directly into the pipes in a bid to keep people supplied.

"We have to be careful when we do this so that we don't cause wider issues but we think this should return water to a number of customers this morning," the spokesman said.

"We're continuing to work closely with the emergency services and with local councils to get the bottle drops organised and would like to thank them for their help.

"Our work may result in lower pressure than normal for some customers and there is the possibility that supplies may be a bit murky, which is nothing to worry about and is just a result of the way we're moving our water around the pipes, although we understand that you might not want to drink it.

"We understand that the murky water has also been affecting the Shifnal area but this should clear in time and is related to the Telford burst."

Wrekin MP Mark says Severn Trent Trent have questions to answer, while Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies said there has been confusion.

Katherine Hullyer, of Woodside, was among those in the queue for water today.

The 28-year-old, who works as a carer and cook, said: "On Sunday morning I just had a trickle of water. By the afternoon it had almost turned brown.

"All the water was sold out in Tesco and Aldi. We had to go down to Buildwas to get some.

"It's not been too bad. It's just a bit awkward more than anything."

Father-of-two Paul Humphries, of Hollybush Road, Woodside, also turned up armed with a trolley to collect water supplies.

The 41-year-old said: "We've now got a trickle of water at home. There's not enough for a shower.

"We were without water for the whole of Sunday. We ended up going out for the day.

"We came to Tesco car park to collect some water yesterday at about 4.30pm and the car park was full of people."

Grandmother-of-two Angela Ratcliff, 57, of Brookside, said: "The water pressure is on and off. We can't use the shower or the washing machine."

Mother-of-four Sian Wilson, 28, lives in Sutton Hill where she said the water was "cloudy".

She said: "Severn Trent say it is drinkable but I've been boiling it before drinking it. We had low pressure on Sunday but it came back quite quickly.

"It can't be helped. No-one knew it was going to blow."

Karen Powell, of Warrens Way, Woodside, said: "The water was off on Sunday but it came back at about 6pm.

"It wasn't full pressure but we could use it.

"I was buying water but the shop sold out. It hasn't been too bad but we couldn't even have a wash when the water was off."

Nathan Rowden

By Nathan Rowden
@NathRowden_Star

Digital journalist based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Interested in breaking news and social media.

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