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United Utilities Triumph Again.

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Mullardman, Jun 12, 2021.

  1. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    When I moved into this new build house in 1976, there was still a trench where the pavement/sidewalk should be. The builders simply filled it in temporarily for us to be able to access the drive and move in.
    A little while later they actually laid the pavement.

    Later still, it transpired that some genius had arranged for every house to have its 'streetside' water stop valve positioned on the pavement exactly where it would get driven over daily by vehicles accessing house drives. In my case, for some reason, the stop valve was not positioned in a proper chamber beneath a cover, but inside a few bricks piled up to form a rough 'box'. Of wasn't long before that crumbled, but since I had no cause to inspect it.. I was unaware. Nine years later, when the rising main inside my integral garage 'popped off' ..naturally below the 'house side' stop valve.... it took me some considerable time to access the street side valve and shut off the water...
    Despite not being a plumber.. I soon worked out that whoever had attempted to fix a plastic 1" pipe, which had been terminated with a 45 degree cut, to a copper rising main...was on a hiding to nothing. Hence the catastrophic leak. I simply cut the end of the pipe correctly and using the original olive and fittings, put everything back together. That was 1985.

    At some point after.. the water company came along and fitted a proper chamber under the streetside stop valve, and repaired the dip in the pavement.

    Last year... during lockdown..I decided to fit an outside tap, plumbed directly off the rising main in the integral garage. Being forewarned and therefore forearmed, I made sure to clear the little streetside cover, make sure it was capable of being opened and check that the brass tap below was accessible and turnable.

    It was well that I did so, because during subsequent plumbing operations in the garage, the water main parted company again.. below the house side stop valve. I was able to shut off the water in seconds and then completely renew the internal stop valve and coupling.

    When I finally turned on the water at the street side valve I noticed that the chamber was filling with water. I assumed it was due to a leaky packing gland in the stop tap.. but decided to ignore it.. as I'd had enough of other people's plumbing cock ups.

    However... none of the above is important right now....

    Last Tuesday we returned from lunch with friends, and noticed bright blue spray paint around our street side water stop valve. I wasn't much concerned.

    Yesterday.. two chaps turned up with a truck and a small digger type machine in tow. They parked across both mine and my neighbour's drives and started operations. Neighbour enquired as to how long they would be because he needed to go out in 10 minutes. They cheerfully agreed that they would move their vehicles whenever neighbour needed to move his car.
    I enquired similarly and they informed me that I would be able to move my car, but that once they had finished their work, Mrs Mull's car would be trapped on our drive, because they were only there to dig a hole and change the stop valve.. The pavement would be made good 'in a couple of days' another crew. Mrs Mull took the opportunity to move her car onto the street.

    I politely suggested to the workmen that it might have been a good idea for United Utilities to actually give me some form of warning of their intentions.. not least because I might ell have been out when they arrived..with who knows what consequences..

    The workmen agreed wholeheartedly and explained that United Utilities policy of not informing residents in advance, of inconvenience to which they were to be subjected...often resulted in them being subject to hostile reactions from residents.

    Incidentally, it turned out that the water leak was in the join between the stop valve and the blue plastic 'supply side' water main.

    Shortly afterwards...the workmen left. They had replaced the stop valve with what looked like an all plastic alternative, left the contents of the hole on the side of the pavement adjacent to the hole, surrounded the hole and its contents with an 8 foot by five foot arrangement of bright yellow plastic barriers and sited a total of four signs over an approx 100 metre stretch of pavement, indicating 'Footpath Closed'. All of this in a Cul De Sac with 6 houses.....

    And yet somehow.. United Utilities had not provided said workmen with the means to backfill the hole and make a simple patch repair to the pavement.

    As you can probably deduce from the above... I am lost for words... :rolleyes:
  2. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    A wonderful rant
    Mullardman likes this.
  3. billo

    billo pfm Member

    phone them up every day to tell them there is a leak from the mains outside your house, maybe one day they might come with material to fill the hole in on the call out.
    Mullardman likes this.
  4. PaulMB

    PaulMB pfm Member

    Come and live in Rome. You don't know how lucky you are!
    Mullardman likes this.
  5. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    misplaced expectations. I am surprised they actually work for UA, and not on behalf of UA.
    Mullardman likes this.
  6. cctaylor

    cctaylor pfm Member

    These days the filling of holes dug by utilitiy companies tends to be done by specialist teams. The stuff dug out is generally replaced with a graded aggregate to prevent sharp stones damaging the service pipes and cables, the tar for the surface often comes in a "hot box" to provide a better longer lasting repair.
    Mullardman likes this.
  7. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr neither here nor there

    Who decides whether the patch to the pavement is inadequately rolled so it stands proud and tests your suspension, or the hole is inadequately back filled so it sinks and creates a semi-permanent puddle? Will that be UU, or is it left to the contractors’ discretion?
    Mullardman likes this.
  8. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    Mull, count yourself lucky! Southern Water's contractors who do this stuff round where I live have repair teams who compete with each other to see who can make the job last longest, with the objective being to ensure that any job will include at least one full Sunday and Sunday night's work. This information was cheerfully volunteered to me by the leader of a daytime crew who were repairing a branch main stop-valve in the road outside my house, when he told me that the night time crew with their compressors and flood lights running all night and keeping me awake, hadn't actually done anything in the expectation that they would get another nights work out of the job, and that this was SOP!
    Mullardman likes this.
  9. Jamie

    Jamie pfm Member

    Don't worry too much. As soon as it is finished, a gas or electricity company will come and dig it up again.
  10. MJS

    MJS Technical Tinkerer

    I think I live in the leakiest village in Bucks.
    Anglian Water, to their credit, did write to us yesterday detailing all the work they're about to do outside our house and further down the street. They even gave us a couple of weeks notice.
  11. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    Thank you. Must admit I'm rather proud of it and hoping to get a nomination for the Meldrew Award.
    Sue Pertwee-Tyr, Woodface and MikeMA like this.
  12. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    We had a water leak in the pedestrian alley outside our house. It gives access to several properties up behind us (no car access there at all). Severn Trent turned up to look at it. Then 'suggested' that since it was only my household supply affected by the leak that it would be on my shoulders to fix. I did not have to look at him very long before he decided that in the interests of the general public, they had better get on and do it anyway. So an hour or two of heavy pneumatic noise and it was done. But they left the hole for another team to deal with. Along the way that had damaged a brick built ventilation thing that supplies fresh air to my basement.

    Said fill-in-the-hole team turned up a few days later - repaired the brick damage and relaid the path - but put the slabs down the wrong way!. A neighbour complained before I did and they came back another week later to re-do the job. Sigh.

    Then it rained and I had water in the basement - the 'slab' on top of the brick air vent had not been sealed to the house wall properly. I stripped off the poor sealant and made a really neat job with a tube of black sealant I had knocking around - been perfect ever since.

    Of course the alley-way surface is still not 'right', there is a cracked paving slab (cripes those things are super heavy!) but there you - we will live with it now.
    Mullardman likes this.
  13. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    I have just informed UU of my delight in their current activities.

    MikeMA likes this.
  14. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    Excellent use of paragraphs which seems to elude a few on here;)

    I always find it ‘amusing’ how little the various utility companies liaise with each other.
    Mullardman likes this.
  15. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    Or their customers...
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
  16. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    Two blokes just turned up in a huge wagon. They scooped up the contents of the hole.. filled it with some sort of aggregate, wackered it down to a depth measured with a measury thing, fitted a 'chamber' and lid over the stop cock, reduced the number of barriers from 5 to 4, brushed up a bit and left.

    I'm now wondering whether the re-surfacing will be done by a single crew.. or whether it will involve one visit to deliver tarmac, one to put it in the hole, one to level/finish it and a final one to pour a bit of tar sealer around the join.... :D
  17. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr neither here nor there

    I’m trying to work out how you scoop up the contents of a hole?
    lordsummit likes this.
  18. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    It's a question of semantics...or possibly even philosophy..
    I suppose strictly speakng they were only the contents of the hole until they were removed from it and piled up neatly next to it.. whereupon they became the former contents of the hole, and simultaneously the present constituents of a mound of rubble..which, coincidentally was identical in mass to that material which had been removed in the creation of said hole.
    However, said mound of rubble/former contents of the hole were scooped up and taken away by the stout yeomen who arrived today. Said yeomen then partially re-filled the hole with other described above..etc.. blah..
  19. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    when is a hole not a hole? when does a not a hole become a hole?
  20. Space is the Place

    Space is the Place pfm Member

    UU only make half a billion pounds a year profit, they dont have the resources to fill in your hole in a single day Mull.
    Mullardman likes this.

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