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Trying to prevent a wet patch: not as easy as I thought.


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A visit to the NSBRC taught me that I should ask the various Utility companies to come out and mark their services for me - rather than poke around below ground myself and see if there was smoke in these pipes or  wet stuff in those.

Got the paper work sorted out, got the official map for the water pipes. Asked for Mr Water Utility to pay me a visit, which he promptly did.

Me: Hi, I'm keen not to put a digger bucket through your pipes - would you be kind enough to tell me where the water pipe is?

Mr Utility:  Sorry mate, can't do that. Have you got our official map?

Me: Yes, I have: it's a bit vague. But you high-tech Utility people have got things like CAT scanners and stethoscopes and diving rods and all sorts like that. And, the key thing is you know what you are doing. I don't.

Mr Utility: Nahhh, we don't do that, 'aven't got a scanner and I gave away my last pair of diving rods the other day (I am not taking the pi55 here)

Me: so what are you suggesting then?

Mr Utility:  Just dig an 'ole son. (I'm an old codger of 63 you know!)

Me: But the point of me asking you here today is to get an authoritative opinion on where your water supply runs. What happens if I discover a pipe which isn't a water pipe, and, as a result of the misidentified pipe, I dig through yours?

Mr Utility:  Ah, well..... Just dig an 'ole..... it'll be reet.... 

Two days later, I get a receipt from United Utlities thanking me for prompt payment for £50. Deducted from my account.

Is my crossness justified?


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In short; yes but I'm not at all surprised! 

In our last place the "official" map from SWW showed our surface water and foul drains going up hill to join on to the main sewer. :) When we queried it they said "its only a guide".


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Reminds me of the first self build we did - it had fallen through before we came along as it was believed a gas main ran right through the middle of it. So in my ingenuity, I called the gas board complaining I could smell gas at the address. Unfortunately the gas man got to the house before I could and was walking around with the guy selling the plot (looking rather worried as he wondered around in his dressing gown at the thought of a gas explosion!). After it was decided there did nt appear to be a gas leak, I asked him where the gas pipe was, he duly found it with his detector at the side of the plot, I bought it the next week, and the rest is history.

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