THE THAMES Water trunk main which burst and flooded a north London underpass causing widespread traffic disruption last March had been leaking for years, according to an engineer's report published this week.
The report by consultant Ellis and Moore was commissioned by the owner of the nearby Ace Cafe to look at structural damage caused to his building by the failure. It says: 'It is reasonable to conclude that water leaking from the water main has been affecting the property of the Ace Cafe for many years.'
The report's conclusions support suggestions by the defence research centre DERA that the 1.5m diameter trunk main might have been leaking for some time before the burst (NCE 22 April).
DERA had been commissioned by Thames Water to examine the condition of holding down bolts on a hatch that failed, leading to the flood. It concluded that the burst was caused by failure of the bolts due to corrosion over a period possibly as long as 30 years.
Thames rejected the findings of the latest report, saying that it had carried out an inspection on the pipe 18 months before the burst and found no leaks.