Thousands of families have spent a second day without water despite round the clock efforts to reconnect them - after a leak described as 'unprecedented'.
Up to ten thousand homes in Hailsham and the surrounding area lost their supply yesterday when a water main burst on the A22 Diplocks Roundabout.
It caused extensive flooding and while many homes have been reconnected, many still don't know when they'll have water - relying on bottled supplies instead. Andy Dickenson reports.
The water main which burst leaving thousands without water in the Hailsham area has been repaired.
South East Water’s crews this lunchtime completed the work on the pipe at the Diplock roundabout, which burst at 5am on Sunday.
Water supplies should start to be restored to most properties early this evening.
Bottled water is currently located at Hailsham Leisure Centre, Vicarage Lane, BN27 2AX and South East Water is continuing to deliver water to vulnerable customers registered with the company.
Now the pipeline is repaired we are slowing beginning to re-fill our pipe network.
We need to fill the water main slowly to ensure we do not put too much pressure on the water mains too soon, we also have a lot of water mains to re-fill.
This means it will take time to get the taps running as normal again.”
More than 4,500 homes in Sussex remain without water despite staff working to restore the supply since the water main burst yesterday.
Following the burst at 5am on Sunday, South East Water re-routed supplies to its network of underground pipes to Eastbourne, Polegate, Pevensey and Sovereign Harbour last night.
The water company say the delay is down to flooding caused by the burst pipe - and have apologised for the time taken to restore supplies.
“When the pipe burst it caused a great deal of flooding – up to waist deep in certain places – and we had to pump this water away before we’ve been able to control the water flow in our network and reach the broken pipe.
“We have now dug deep into the ground to reach the pipe and removed the three meter long section of water main that has split. Our crews are currently working to fit the new section of pipeline which we estimate will be done early afternoon.
“This has been a major incident for us and our priority remains getting water back to our customers as soon as possible.
“We are grateful for the patience shown by the majority of our customers and for the support of the Hailsham Support Group who have helped man the water bottle locations and deliver water to residents.
“I would like to urge residents to keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable neighbours to make sure they have adequate bottled water and if they are concerned to contact us.”
As thousands of homes remain without water in Sussex, South East Water say they currently estimate supplies will be restored by early this evening.
The water company are supplying residents with free bottled water at Hailsham Leisure Centre car park - and working to deliver vulnerable customers in the local area.
We are still working to repair the burst, water is available at Hailsham Leisure Centre carpark. We are very sorry for the disruption.(1/2)
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South East Water says it has been working through the night to repair a burst on a large 18-inch water main on the A22, Diplocks roundabout.
The company had to bring in specialist pumps to remove the large amount of water in the area following the burst before the repair could begin.
The A22 at Diplocks roundabout will be opened this morning, however one lane will remain closed while South East Water works to repair the section of damaged pipe.
This has been a major incident for the company and our priority remains getting water back to our customers as soon as possible.
When the pipe burst it caused a great deal of flooding – up to waist deep in certain places – and we have had to pump this water away before we’ve been able to control the water flow in our network and reach the broken pipe.
Where possible we were able to re-route water around our network of underground pipes restoring supplies to areas of Eastbourne, Polegate and Sovereign Harbour yesterday evening.
Unfortunately approximately 3,000 properties in Hailsham remain without water this morning but our crews are working extremely hard to repair the pipe as quickly and safely as possible.
Once the repair to the pipe has been completed it will take some time for water to fill our extensive network of underground pipes in the Hailsham area but we are hopeful supplies to all customers will be restored later this afternoon.
Overnight the company has been restocking bottled water supplies which customers can collect from Hailsham Leisure Centre, Vicarage Lane, BN27 4HB. These supplies will continue to be restocked throughout today.
It is very difficult to estimate when these repairs will be complete but we hope that water will have returned to Hailsham by mid-afternoon.
I would once again like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience and thank them for their patience as we work hard to complete repairs for all customers.
South East water says customers in Hailsham are still experiencing no water but other areas affected will start seeing their water returning shortly.
Engineers are on site at a burst main on the A22 at the Diplock roundabout junction. South East Water has apologised to customers for any inconvenience and is providing free bottled water to customers at Hailsham Leisure Centre Car Park.