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Advice for customers during the current freeze and forthcoming thaw

22 December 2010 9:20

NI Water has mobilised resources to address any issues which might arise from the ongoing extreme weather conditions.

It is our priority to ensure customers are kept in water supply, and should they experience problems that we respond as quickly as possible.

In many cases, our engineers have been working around the clock, in freezing conditions, to ensure that customers are kept in supply.

We have recorded an increase in call numbers, however this is something that we are prepared for.

An increase in water usage in areas throughout Northern Ireland has been recorded. This is due to a number of reasons, primarily burst pipes in vacant buildings, and bursts on land that landowners are not aware of. NI Water would urge the public, particularly schools and businesses (including farms, estate agents, landlords, caravan parks etc.) to protect their properties as the extreme weather continues.

Many businesses and schools may take the decision to close for the holiday period, however, it is vital arrangements are made to protect the property during the closure period. If heating is not circulating around properties, the pipes will freeze and most likely burst. This can cause major devastation including a costly clean up bill and put a school or business out of action for weeks.

NI Water’s top tips for avoiding frozen pipes include:

Know where your meter is and check it regularly. A dramatic increase in water usage could be a sign of a leak on the property;

Get to know the pipework within the property;

Locate your stop valves;

Ensure that pipes are properly protected with lagging;

Fix any dripping taps;

Please do not run taps. It causes wastage of water;

Isolate supplies not required over the winter period;

In the case of schools and businesses, when not in use (including weekends) during freezing weather conditions consider having some heat in buildings to stop pipes freezing;

Write down the name and contact details of a SNIPEF (Scotland and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation) plumber;

For businesses with a meter; to check if your supply pipe is leaking, turn off all taps/appliances that use water. Make sure no water is going down into cisterns or storage tanks. Then read dial on meter and leave for 1 hour. If second reading is higher then there may be a leak;


NI Water’s Advice During the Thaw:

If you are out of water, first check with your neighbours. If they HAVE water, it is likely that the problem is with your internal pipework. Call a plumber to have the problem fixed.

If your neighbours are WITHOUT water, it could be a burst watermain. Call Waterline on 08457 440088 to report the problem.

You are our eyes and ears – if you spot a leak or a burst pipe, don’t assume we know abut it, we depend on the public to alert us to leaks. Please call Waterline so we can fix the burst as soon as possible.

If you do have a problem with your water supply and you have checked that it is not just your property affected, phone Waterline on 08457 440088. Our engineers will try to reach your reported issue as quickly and safely as they can. The health and safety of our workforce is a priority as they travel and work in these terrible weather conditions. Staff have already responded to nearly 300 burst watermains throughout Northern Ireland since the start of December and continue to repair them as quickly as possible.

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