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South East Water crews fix major main which burst in woods off Whitehall Road in Canterbury, leaving 24,000 without water

By KentOnline reporter

Repair crews worked throughout the night to fix a major water main which left an entire city without supplies after it burst yesterday morning.

The pipe, measuring half a metre in diameter, ruptured in a wooded area off Whitehall Road in Canterbury, causing taps to run dry in 24,000 homes and businesses.

South East Water worked through the night to repair the main

Water gushed from a crack in the pipe at about 4am. The leak was discovered about an hour later by a team from South East Water.

Properties were left with low water pressure or no supply at all, forcing the Archbishop’s School, on St Stephen’s Hill, to close for the day.

Technicians worked to change the flow of water around the city and re-start pumps, restoring supplies to all but six houses within a few hours.

The new pipe is fitted

South East Water's distribution manager Tony Hillocks said: "Although we re-routed supplies quickly following the burst, due to the high number of water pipes in the city it took time for all customers to have their water supplies restored.

"This was because we needed to protect the water mains system against further failures by releasing the water into the network slowly and in a controlled manner.

"We are pleased that by 9am almost all properties in and around the city had water flowing from their taps once again."

A trench was dug to access the main

Residents at six houses were still without a supply while the main was repaired, and were given bottled water.

It was initially expected to take a few hours to fix, but its size and awkward location made the job more complex.

It was fully repaired by 11.40pm yesterday, but engineers remain there today to tidy up the area.

The crack in the pipeline that caused havoc

Mr Hillocks added: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff and contractor who worked extremely hard and fast to restore supplies to so many customers so quickly.

"I would also like to thank all those affected by loss of water or low pressure for their patience and co-operation while we worked to restore supplies and we are sorry for any disruption caused."

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