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Plugged: ‘One of biggest ever leaks’

Thames Water says three million litres a day were being lost from pipe under Bloomsbury road

30 August, 2019 — By Tom Foot

THAMES Water has admitted to discovering a major leak that was shedding three million litres of water every day.

Water was found to be escaping from a 16-inch cast iron pipe 2.5 metres beneath the ground in Bloomsbury.

Thames says it currently has a “record number of leaks” in its network.

Tim McMahon, head of water networks at the company, said: “This is one of the biggest underground leaks we’ve ever found, and it was great work by the teams to repair it. Three million litres a day is a significant amount, so we’re delighted to have found it and plugged it.”

Thames Water is a profit-making company but in November 2017 was forced to suspend dividend payments to shareholders “to prioritise investment”. It said it was spending more than £1million every day to reduce leakages.

The pipe in Bloomsbury was spewing water into a “void underneath the road” before flowing to a surface water sewer and back into the River Thames, a spokeswoman said.

• Meanwhile, West­minster Council has warned residents to think about what they are putting down the drain after discovering a Buzz Lightyear – from the film Toy Story – stuck in a pipe. The council is now in charge of housing again after cutting ties with its management contractor, City West Homes.

Housing lead councillor Andrew Smith said: “Cleaning out drains helps us to avoid future problems, like leaks during winter. Finding Buzz was a big surprise to the team, but it just shows the challenge we are facing.

“Clearly this was a mistake, but sadly items like nappies and wet-wipes are flushed intentionally, which causes huge problems.”


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