Residents' fight over hidden 20-year water leak

Martin Green
Image caption Resident Martin Green said he had known about the leak since he moved in 23 years ago, and has reported it to Severn Trent

Residents have been told they have just 28 days to fix a hidden pipe which has been leaking 1,000 litres of water an hour for 20 years.

Martin Green, 60, from Ventnor Rise in Sherwood, Nottingham, said he had reported the leak several times to Severn Trent over the years.

However, despite searching for it, engineers cannot point out exactly where the problem is.

The company said it was not responsible because the leak was on private land.

It added the leak was somewhere within the property boundaries of four homes meaning it could be under a garden, conservatory or even a house.

Image caption The leak is somewhere within the property boundaries of four homes

Mr Green said: "If the water board can't find it, what chance does anybody else have?"

He said he had been aware of the issue since he moved in 23 years ago because he can hear it when it is quiet.

"Over the years I have reported it to Severn Trent and they have not really been interested."

Following a recent engineer's visit, it was found the pipe was losing just under 1,000 litres an hour. Mr Green and his neighbours have not had to to pay for this water.

"From that we received a letter from them saying we had 28 days to repair the leak or they would be taking legal action, which I think is absolutely despicable."

Who is responsible when there's a water leak?

Image copyright Severn Trent
Image caption Severn Trent's guide to which water pipes are the customer's responsibility and which are the company's

According to Severn Trent's website, the company is responsible for any mains pipes and assets, which are normally located on the road or footpath..

Whereas the customer is responsible for pipes on private land.

A Severn Trent spokesman said: "We repaired the pipe [in 2014] as a gesture of goodwill, but the homeowner would have been told that this leak was their responsibility.

"If the leak is not fixed, we will write to the homeowner and eventually send an enforcement notice. This then allows our contractors to go onto the property and repair the pipe.

"The homeowner will then be invoiced for the repair."

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