Canning Town: Thames Water accused of ‘corporate irresponsibility’ after flats flooded

Residents were forced to evacuate after flooding  (Councillor Dr Rohit K Dasgupta)
Residents were forced to evacuate after flooding (Councillor Dr Rohit K Dasgupta)

A council leader has accused Thames Water of “corporate irresponsibility” after engineers burst a water main causing homes and businesses to flood.

Those affected in Hallsville Quarter, Canning Town, suffered flooding and a power outage last month.

At a meeting on Monday, Newham councillors heard that engineers damaged the water main during works, causing a second round of flooding.

Thames Water previously said the initial flood was due to concrete being found close to a sewage line, causing water to back up.

It left residents needing to pay for emergency accommodation in hotels for several days until they could regain access to their homes.

In comments reported by the BBC, Newham’s mayor Rokshana Fiaz said Thames Water had admitted its engineers had damaged the water main.

“I do want to say this: Thames Water is notorious in terms of its leaky pipes, and notorious in relation to its bungled-up maintenance programme that has led to a significant increase in water being lost in this day and age,” she said.

“It is right we draw our attention to the corporate irresponsibility of Thames Water."

The response came after Cllr Alan Griffiths, Labour councillor for Canning Town South, had asked if the council could confirm the cause of the leaks.

Thames Water has been repeatedly criticised over water leaks, although it insists fixing the leaks is its top priority.

The utility company is one of five under investigation by regulator Ofwat over “serious” concerns on how they manage wastewater treatment.

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “On the 16 November, our engineers were working on a water connection for the newly-built Hallsville Quarter development.

“During road excavations on Silvertown Way, Canning Town, vibrations from the work caused the mains water pipe beneath to burst. Our engineers were able to repair the burst pipe on the same day”.