People evacuated after pipe bursts in Huyton

Scores of homes and businesses were evacuated in Merseyside after a water main burst, sending a plume of water 40ft (12m) into the air.

The pipe burst at the junction of Lincomb Road and Liverpool Road in Huyton on Monday morning.

Nearby homes were dwarfed by the column of water gushing out of the 42in (107cm) main.

United Utilities has apologised for the burst - which is the fourth in five years in the Huyton area.

Further burst

But the company said it was too early to establish a link between the leaks.

A company statement said: "Following previous bursts along this stretch of Liverpool Road, United Utilities carried out a £7m water main refurbishment in 2009.

"A full investigation will take place to find out why a further burst has now happened."

Rev John Crawford, minister at the Trinity joint Anglican and Methodist Church, said local people were fed up.

"People are very, very upset, they are very, very frightened," he said.

"There's one lady, she has been flooded three times before and was absolutely terrified to leave her house."

Engineers had isolated the large water main by 1730 BST.

United Utilities said it was hampered by "the sheer volume of water and by the amount of damage that was caused to the road surface".

Its customer support staff, claims assessors and clean-up crews have moved into the flooded area as the water drains away.

Colin Maloney, United Utilities' network operations director, said: "This is a horrendous experience for those householders who have been flooded and our absolute priority is to see that they get all the help and support they need, today and over the coming weeks.

Low pressure

"It is too soon to say exactly why this burst has happened, but we will be carrying out thorough investigations."

A help centre has been set up at The Gate on Princess Drive, Huyton, staffed by United Utilities and Knowsley Council employees.

The company said some residents in and around Liverpool city could notice temporary low water pressure or a loss of supply as engineers re-route water supplies to all customers.

It added that some residents may also notice a slight orange/brown colour to their water supply.

United Utilities said this was caused by harmless sediment which normally lies at the bottom of water pipes and which can get stirred up due to the changes in pressure when a main bursts.

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