Farmers urged to get the professionals in to fix their pipes

3rd April 2019

Midlands water company Severn Trent has urged farmers to think twice before fixing water pipes they’ve damaged while working in their fields.

The plea comes after two recent damages in Shropshire, with the latest one seeing the farmer fixing the water pipe himself, only with a sewer pipe. The first damage was repaired with a non-hygienic pipe meaning that the whole system had to be repaired again and then disinfected and flushed so it was fit for use.

Rob Taylor, from Severn Trent’s Network Control team, said: “We know that farmers will tend to try and repair water pipes themselves but, on this occasion, it caused us a huge problem.

“If the farmer had got in touch, he would’ve had to pay for us to come out to fix it but, in the long run, it would’ve cost him a couple of thousand whereas us having to put a water pipe in and flush it out and clean it will end up costing tens of thousands.

“We know the temptation is always to try and sort it out but that’s not always the right answer when the health of, potentially, hundreds or even thousands of people is at stake.”

Once called out, water company engineers can assess whether there has been any danger of dirt getting into the pipe which would immediately lead to customers being put onto a do not drink notice until the pipe is thoroughly disinfected.

“We know that getting a bill for the repair isn’t what farmers want,” said Rob.

“But the fact is that we’re experts at what we do and it’s better for us to check and to repair than to take a risk and potentially have to pay tens of thousands of pounds and to put your neighbours out while we carry out our work.

“If it was an electricity cable or a gas pipe, you wouldn’t try and fix it yourself so we’d ask you to get the experts in if you do accidentally damage a water pipe.”