Road to close amid fuel leak water safety alert

A Thames Water bottled water station
Thames Water has set up bottled water stations [BBC]

A village dealing with a petrol station fuel leak that has affected water safety and led to an underground explosion risk has been told a road will close until repair works are completed.

Thames Water told more than 600 households in Bramley, Surrey, on Thursday not to drink their tap water after elevated levels of hydrocarbons were found in water samples.

The water company said it was now half-way through digging down to pipes that must be replaced.

It said Station Road would be closed from 4 June for the duration of the works.

A Thames Water spokeswoman said: “We are using special noise-supressing barriers to help reduce disturbance as much as we can while we carry out this essential work.

“Station Road will be closed from Tuesday for the duration of these works. We are very sorry for the additional disruption this will cause. It will mean there may be disturbance overnight and we will do our best to keep noise and additional disruption to a minimum.”

Regional operations director Tess Fayers told BBC Radio Surrey that the works were expected to be a "massive disturbance" for residents.

'Horrendous'

Bramley resident Evan Venn said residents were in "camping mode", drinking bottled water.

He said the main concern in the village was making sure deliveries of water supplies continued after some people had not received any.

"The traffic on Tuesday will be horrendous in this area," he added.

Ms Fayers said Thames Water was looking at making alternative transport arrangements and was moving towards overnight working.

Some businesses in the village have also received offers of compensation from independent water retailer Castle Water.

A warning on cover
Some warnings have been spray painted on the ground. [BBC/Daniel Sexton]

On Saturday, it emerged repair works could take up to four weeks - and that the petrol leak had led to an underground explosion risk after it impacted the Openreach telecommunications network.

On the radio Ms Fayers said three schools in the area had been impacted by the ongoing water issues, but they were all planning to open as usual on Monday.

Ms Fayers explained that Thames Water was making arrangements to ensure they were supported with "tanker supplies".

On Sunday, Conservative candidate for Godalming and Ash Jeremy Hunt said there was "confirmation" from Surrey County Council leader Tim Oliver that it was setting up "strategic gold command" for the fuel leak.

Thames Water works to replace a pipe outside the petrol station where the leak occurred
Thames Water said 616 homes were advised not to drink tap water as a precautionary measure [BBC]

On Thursday, 616 properties were told not to drink, cook or brush teeth with the tap water, or wash up with it or give it to pets, even if it had been boiled.

The water was safe for washing and flushing toilets, Thames Water said.

Two bottled water stations are open from 09:00 to 21:00 BST at Bramley Community Library, which is a walk-in site, and at Artington Park & Ride, Guildford, for those with cars.

Supplies are also being delivered to properties affected, Thames Water has said.

The fuel leak is from a petrol filling station owned by Asda, which said it inherited the problem when it bought the site.

Residents have complained about the issue since 2021 and Thames Water has carried out additional water sampling since October 2023.

Thames Water said it “would like to reassure its customers that the village water supply has been safe to drink up to this point”.

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