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Thousands left without water after mains burst; Bottles taken to affected areas to ensure supplies were maintained.

Byline: Lisa Jones

THOUSANDS of homes in South Wales had their water supply cut off after a water main burst, spewing thousands of gallons of water across a road.

A leak in the 22-inch drinking water main between the villages of Treharris and Trelewis had been due for repair from 9pm last night.

But before workmen could get to that leak the water pressure punched a larger fracture in the pipe at 6pm, sending supplies cascading down the trunk road between Nelson and Bedlinog.

A spokeswoman for Welsh Water told the Echo that around 4,000 properties had their water cut off, but engineers were working to restore supplies as quickly as possible.

Work in Gelligaer meant supplies there were due to be restored by around 8.30pm, cutting the number of homes affected to around 2,700.

Residents of Trelewis, Treharris, Edwardsville, Pentwyn, Quakers Yard, Trelewis Stormtown and Trelewis Millbrook remained without water.

Mum-of-one Leah Bennett, 21, lives about 200 yards away from the flood.

Last night she was unable to wash her three-year-old daughter Ellie Marie Carter or give her a drink before bed.

Leah said: "The road under the bridge is completely flooded. I would say there's about a foot of water. The way it's coming out of that hole is frightening. I didn't think it could come out so quickly. It's all running down into this woman's garden and she's got horses.

"There are lots of workmen standing round doing nothing and everybody's asking them questions.

"The road to Treharris is completely blocked."

Gordon Caldecott, editor of the Echo's sister paper the Merthyr Express, was en route home to Nelson, but was diverted.

He said: "I came into about three miles of traffic which was being diverted through Quakers Yard and Nelson to get towards Trelewis and Bedlinog. There's effectively a lake across three quarters of the road."

The Welsh Water spokeswoman said it was anticipated that the remaining houses would be reconnected to the grid by 6am today.

Water bowsers and bottled water points were being set up across the affected villages to ensure supplies were maintained throughout the night.

The spokeswoman added: "As soon as we have repaired the leak, we will get supplies back on, but when the system returns back to normal there is a risk that tap water may be discoloured. If this does happen we advise that people run their taps until the water runs clear.

"We have advised the local authority that we are carrying out this work and have also been in contact with customers registered on our additional needs register."

A 24-hour advice line is open on 0800 0520130.


* Water main bursting between Trelewis and Treharris causes flooding and the loss of water for local residents. Inset, mum Leah Bennett with her daughter Eliie Marie PICTURE: Patrick Olner
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 20, 2009
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