Air valves to relieve pressure on Hailsham’s water pipes


In an attempt to prevent burst water pipes deep underneath the A22, new air valves are being installed on water pipes in the Hailsham area.

On May 10, a burst on South East Water’s large 18-inch diameter water main at the Diplocks Roundabout, led to 4,500 properties in Hailsham going without water.

Following that incident, the company carried out investigations into why it happened which revealed trapped air caused the three meter long split in the pipe.

Chris Love, South East Water delivery manager, said: “When air gets caught in water pipes it can cause dramatic changes in pressure which cause bursts.

“By installing air valves at high points in the surrounding area, any trapped air can be released before it causes a problem at lower levels.”

The first valve will be installed on March 29 at the Cinderford Lane, Cow Beech Hill junction in Stunts Green with work taking approximately three days to complete.

Temporary traffic lights will be installed to safely guide motorists around the working area. Further valves will be installed in nearby private land over the coming months.

At 5am on Sunday, May 10 last year, the pipeline beneath the A22 at Diplocks Roundabout burst, requiring one of the most challenging repairs the company has had to carry out.

The water main was buried deep underground and a three meter section of split pipe had to be cut out and replaced.

Although the company re-directed as much water as possible around its extensive network of underground pipes, approximately 4,500 properties were without water until the repair was complete.

Repair teams worked day and night to replace the damaged section of pipe with supplies being restored during the evening of the following day.

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