Water leakage is common and expected at some point in any water supply system, especially in Dublin, where the water networks are at about 50 years old or older. Many of the pipes in these systems are worn out and prone to leaks, bursts, and low water pressure due to overuse. Studies show that about 1200 kilometres of the networks are over half a century old.
A good thing to note, though, is that the Dublin Region is very proactive in dealing with and treatment of water leakage since the mid ’90s through its Active Leakage Reduction Programme and the Watermains Rehabilitation Programme. This has resulted in reduced leakage levels from 43% to 29% from 1997 to 2009.
What is the Active Leak Reduction Programme?
The programme’s goal is to identify and repair leaks along the City of Dublin’s about 2,400 kilometres of water pipelines. Many of the leaks are invisible to the eyes as they don’t rise to the surface. They run to the ground instead, which results in a considerable volume of water loss.
Dublin City presently splits into 30 Supply Zones; each of these zones is subdivided into approximately 200 District Metered Areas (DMAs). The water consumption in these DMAs is closely monitored with the telemetry system. This system provides real time data on water flows and pressure across the City and the Region. If there are significant increases, these will be investigated, and if there is no obvious reason for the said increase, the Leakage Team will then carry out leak detection tests.
Since most leaks do not rise to the surface, and instead run to ground, these are detected using sophisticated listening devices that pick up the noise the water makes as it leaks from a pipe. This detection activity is best carried out at night when everything is quiet, and there isn’t as much noise in the pipes from water use.
What causes these leakages?
Most leaks are usually the result of one or a combination of the following:
- The age of the pipe’s network – about half of the network dates back to pre-1940s
- The pipes freezing during winter
- Daily or common occurrences such as traffic, excavations, and excessive water pressures
Now, how do I report a leak if I see one?
If ever you want to report a fault or seek an emergency repair for burst pipe on the street in Dublin, you can contact Irish Water at 1890 278 278 or visit their website: www.water.ie. When reporting a leak or burst pipe, provide as much detail as possible. Here is the following information that is required:
- The location (including the closest premises, the number of the street, or the nearest junction)
- The origin (footpath, road, or private property, etc.)
- The nature of the leak (i.e., is the water flowing or is it stagnant in a puddle)
What happens after I report the leak?
After reporting a leak, it will be sent through to an Inspector at Dublin City Council for further investigation.
All reported bursts and leaks are inspected to determine the severity and to assess what equipment will be needed for the repair work. In most cases, what appears to be just a leak can be due to a blocked drain. In these cases, the job is passed on to the Drainage Services Division for further investigation.
If it is a mains water leak, a repair crew will be sent out. The leaks are prioritised according to the following:
- The safety implications
- The damage to property
- The number or type of premises without water
- The volume of water leaking
- The traffic implications (since most are on the street)
Once the burst piper or leak is identified, the repair crew will then do the following measures:
- Isolate the break
- Redirect the water (if possible) so the number of properties affected will be minimised
- Excavate the broken main
- Cut out the broken section
- Replace the section of main
- Recharge and flush the main
- Provide interim or permanent reinstatement to the main
Water may be redirected from the other mains when a burst pipe or break occurs; this is to minimize the number of properties without water or with low water pressure. If the water supply is expected to be cut off for an extended period of time, a temporary water supply will be supplied from water tankers.
At times, it may not always be possible to carry out the repairs right away since:
- It may take time to locate the exact source of the burst pipe or leak.
- For many major customers, the water supply is critical (e.g., hospitals). Where it is necessary to stop water supply to assume repairs temporarily, the work is scheduled according to the needs of those affected so that impacts on the customers are minimised.
- The property owner is responsible for the repair of breaks or leaks found on private property (contact Stronge Plumbing & Heating for this)
- Some access restrictions (e.g., cars parked over the break or leak)
- Permission needs to be sought if the main road needs to be temporarily closed to fix a break or leak, or if traffic restrictions need to be put in place
The Plumbing A-Team
Stronge Plumbing & Heating aims to cater for all your plumbing and heating needs with the highest quality of work possible. People often take for granted burst pipes and leaks, but what they don’t know is that the longer you wait to get it fixed, the more damage and the more costly it will become. To report a burst pipe on the street anywhere in Dublin, contact Irish Water at 1890 278 278 or visit their website: www.water.ie.
Trust our professional and experienced plumbers for any plumbing or heating needs. Stronge Plumbing & Heating is fully insured, accredited, and are the A-Team in this line of business. As we continue to grow our business and provide you with a quality service in all areas, we appreciate your referrals and word of mouth.
At Stronge Plumbing & Heating, we will give you an honest and direct quote. Get a no obligation quote for your burst pipe fix in Dublin on (01) 531 2220 or 085 855 6111 now!