After battling a brutal combination of harsh snow and icy winds last week, crews from the water company are now facing the difficulties of the rapid thaw which has taken place across the North East.
Although the recent spells of changing weather have caused disruption across the region, Northumbrian Water has been doing everything in its power to ensure that operations continue and that services carry on as normal.
With temperatures reaching lows of -16 degrees in some parts of the North East last week, workers have continued to serve their communities by providing water and wastewater services throughout the lockdown.
Martin Lunn, Head of Water Service Planning at Northumbrian Water, said: “As well as assisting with frozen pipes, bursts and leaks, our people have also been on hand 24 hours a day to help with the high levels of calls and contacts from our customers.
“We know that losing water supply can be difficult for our customers – which is why our people have been working harder than ever to minimise the risks where we can to prevent this from happening.
“Our people have incredible dedication and have made such a fantastic effort to keep the flow of great-tasting water going into homes, and I am very proud of them all.”
Across the North East, there are currently 180 members of staff on the ground actively looking for and repairing leaks caused by the thaw.
The chances of leaks and bursts in pipes are significantly increased when freezing or thawing happens and the pipe expands, forcing it apart. They can also happen in main pipes when there is ground movement or exertion, which is also something that happens with rapid changes in temperature.
Martin added: “As well as protecting your home, we would also like to encourage people who own other properties, such as businesses, holiday homes or farms to check for leaks.
“With being in lockdown, many properties have been left empty for a long time – but checking these properties for leaks can save owners both the hassle and the costs of damage.”
According to the Association of British Insurers, a burst pipe will cost on average £8,800 to fix. To protect your property, make sure to monitor for leaks and familiarise yourself with your stop-tap.
For more advice on how to best protect your home during the winter months, visit www.nwl.co.uk/winter