Water has been returned overnight to the Copthorne area following the very complex operation to repair the burst water pipe.

Customers may notice their water appears cloudy or white, but this is not harmful. When a glass is filled and water clears from the bottom upwards, this means that it is a little more aerated than usual.

If the water looks brown in colour this too is not harmful. This happens when small particles of iron within the main are disturbed.

We ask that people simply run the water from their cold kitchen tap until it is clear. We have a video link here which explains this in more detail



Update 29 July 2021 

Thank you to everyone in Copthorne for your patience while we continue to clear-up the area surrounding the site where we had a burst water main.

The damaged pipe has been fixed and water supplies should be back to normal. Our team is now working on the excavated area and will be reinstating it with topsoil this lunchtime.

The road closure between the Copthorne Hotel towards the M23 junction will need to remain to ensure our teams can work safely.

A road sweeper will then work to clear the carriageway this evening and we hope to fully reopen the road by 6am tomorrow morning.

So what happened?


When a water pipe bursts South East Water’s pipe repair technicians work round the clock to restore the supply, but when the repair proves complex staff from all over the business are pulled together to use their collective experience to get the job done as quickly and safely as possible.

In this case, where it was possible, water was rerouted from other parts of the water network into the area which, although at a lower pressure, kept water flowing to the majority of taps. But, unfortunately, 200 of our customers were still without water.

As the location of this damaged main was in woodland, the company had a number of environmental issues to overcome before the excavation to reach the buried main could happen. Using a tree surgeon, a number of trees and vegetation had to be safely removed and once complete a 15-foot deep trench dug which continued for the 40-foot length of the damaged pipe.

We then had to call a specialist company to site to install box shuttering to stop the deep trench from collapsing onto our workers.

Once the site was cleared and the trench made safe, the actual repair took place and water was returned to the pipe. This has to be a gradual process to avoid excess pressure in the pipe which if happens can cause other issues.  

Thank you for your patience

Once again, we are really sorry for any disruption this burst water main has caused and would like to thank everyone for their patience while we carried out this vital work.


Not too late

Along with the bottled water station we set up at Copthorne Village Hall, we were out during the disruption delivering water directly to people on our Priority Services Register which also offers a wide range of other support. If you or someone you know could benefit from this service please go to:  www.southeastwater.co.uk/get-help/help-for-priority-customers/apply-for-our-priority-services-register  

We also have a map on the home page of our website where people can clearly see and issues in their area and report leaks. Our In Your Area map can be found here



Photos from site 

The damaged pipe

Location of the burst with tree surgeon working

Box shuttering

Old pipe end

New pipe

Launch Recite Me web accessibility software

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