Investigation into mystery of St Albans water flow

Geoff Dyson, Jennie Hill, cllr Edgar Hill and cllr Sandy Walkington

Geoff Dyson, Jennie Hill, cllr Edgar Hill and cllr Sandy Walkington - Credit: Archant

Frustrated residents dread the onset of icy weather - if a mysterious water flow outside their homes is not resolved by then.

For months, water has bubbled up from the ground and streamed over the footway and into the road in Romeland, St Albans.

And there seems to be no immediate relief at hand with Affinity Water, the county council, the district council and the Environment Agency all turning up to take a look at it but no-one managing to resolve it.

In fact it is now flowing at such a rate that it fills a bottle pretty quickly - though no-one is keen to sample it.

County councillor for the area, Sandy Walkington, said: ‘Initially Affinity Water denied it was theirs, claiming there was no trace of chlorine in the water. But as residents pointed out, filtering water through stones and earth will remove chlorine.

“Jokingly I tried to interest the Dean in a new Holy Well as a place of pilgrimage next to the Abbey but it’s not cathedral land and a miracle would help!

“Joking aside, the flow of water has prevented the overdue completion of much needed repairs to the Romeland footway and the sheen of water across the road is potentially very hazardous once winter comes.

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Sandy added: “Affinity Water are now digging holes nearby but don’t seem to have found anything. So Highways are having to plan a new by-pass drain to deal with the flow. It’s literally money down the drain.

“Affinity plan to make water meters compulsory to save water - it’s time they sorted out this leak and others like it.”

A spokesperson for Affinity Water confirmed that the company was aware of a potential leak on a strip of land in Romeland and technicians had conducted extensive checks in the area which had found the problem to be intermittent.

That was a sign of a drainage issue after heavy rain and not a leak on any of the Affinity mains in Romeland, he went on..

The spokesperson added that investigations would continue on a communications pipe in George Street after Affinity had obtained emergency powers to dig in the area.