Water tankers save the day at Millom

03 June 2016

Picture of a water tanker

A fleet of special water tankers saved the day in Millom yesterday (Thursday), helping keep water supplies on tap for more than 4,000 households.

The drama started in the early hours of the morning when a large water main burst near the Duddon Estuary.

The pipe, which is 10 inches in diameter, would normally supply water into the Millom peninsula area. It burst on the tidal marshes between the railway line and the estuary at Foxfield.

Engineers had to bring in a specialist digger and wait for the tide to go out before they could begin repairs yesterday afternoon. It was a race against time to get the pipe fixed before the storage reservoirs in the area ran low.

So United Utilities used seven ‘Water On Wheels’ tankers to pump supplies directly into the water network.

Paul Hodgson is the Service Delivery Manager at United Utilities and he explained what the repair team was up against: “The Duddon Estuary is a site of special scientific interest – it’s a very sensitive location due to the protected plants and animals here, like the Natterjack toad. The access onto the marshes is very tricky and the area is also tidal, so we could not just dive in and start repair work without thorough planning.

“We also had to liaise with Network Rail because of the close proximity to the railway track.

“This is when the water tankers really come into their own. They managed to buy us enough time to complete the repairs by keeping the system topped up.

“We were worried that water pressure might have dipped around tea-time due to the hot weather and the increased demand, but everything worked out and our customers were not affected.”

Residents in the areas of Lady Hall, Hallthwaites, Arnaby, Millom, Steel Green, Haverigg, Kirksanton, Silecroft and Whicham were sent texts and emails on Thursday to warn that the water pressure might drop temporarily.