‘Serious burst’ water main affects residents and schools

Downland Community School in Hassocks. Picture: Liz Pearce
Downland Community School in Hassocks. Picture: Liz Pearce

Residents in Mid Sussex may be experiencing water supply problems after a ‘serious burst’ on a large water main in the area, said a South East Water spokesman.

Two schools have also closed due to the burst.

Downlands Community School in Hassocks has closed for all of its lessons, apart from its GCSE exams which are still going ahead, said a spokesman from the school.

She added: “Unfortunately, the school is closed because we have no water but we are running GCSE exams.

“We have Spanish and PE exams today, so children sitting these exams are still expected to attend.”

The Windmills Junior School in Dale Avenue has also been affected and is closed today.

Water supply problems have been reported in the Barcombe, Ditchling, Plumpton and Chaley areas, according to a South East Water spokesman.

She said: “South East Water customers in the postcode areas of BN6, BN7, BN8, RH15 and RH17 are currently known to be experiencing problems.”

Bottled water is being made available in Ditchling Village Hall, Chailey School, Barcombe Village Hall and Plumpton College, added the spokesman.

Bottled water has also been delivered to vulnerable customers who have already registered with South East Water and those who have contacted the company with additional needs.

Andrew Ball, incident manager at South East Water, said: “The burst occurred on one of our 15 inch diameter water mains late last night.

“Our staff and contractors are on site preparing the area to start carrying out repairs to the damaged main. Due to the complexity of the burst main, we expect the repair to take at least six hours to complete.

“Our specialist technicians are also attempting to change the flow of water around our network of underground pipes to try and restore supplies to as many people as possible. However this may take time because we need to put water back into the network in a controlled manner to prevent further bursts occurring.

“Our priority is to get tap water supplies back on as soon as possible. We are working to get more bottled water delivered to all areas and we will keep residents updated on our progress.

“We would like to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience this emergency has caused, but hope our customers understand that we are taking all necessary steps to restore supplies as soon as possible.”

Updates and more information on the location of alternative water supplies is available here or by calling South East Water on 0333 000 0002.

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