Jamie Mason

Anglian Water staff will be on call over the Christmas holidays ready to respond in case of emergency. 

While the company works year round to reduce the risk of leaks and bursts, technicians are on standby at all times to react if the worst happens. Last Christmas period residents near Caistor St Edmund in Norfolk were affected by a burst just outside a water treatment works.

Hundreds of staff were called in to work and engineers worked around the clock in freezing conditions to the fix the pipe. During the incident 11 large capacity tankers filled local water towers and topped up the 46 storage tanks which were deployed. Additionally, Anglian Water staff delivered more than 200 tonnes of bottled water to the area, giving out more than 42,000 litres to customers.

Hundreds of Anglian Water employees will be working again this Christmas to keep things ticking along so families of customers across the region can enjoy the festive season.

Jamie Mason, from Ipswich, is a water recycling technician with a patch covering most of Suffolk and parts of Essex. He’s on call this Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but says it’s all part of the job.

“It’s my first Christmas on call,” he said. “I’ll be turning my phone on at 8am to see if there are any jobs – it’s more than likely there will be something when you consider the size of the region and the thousands of miles of pipes and pumping stations we have. We have had Christmas Day jobs for the past two years.

“I don’t mind being called out. I just hope I get to see my little boy opening his stocking first thing. And hopefully I’ll be somewhere near Ipswich at lunchtime so I can come home and eat Christmas dinner.

“We take it in turns in the team, and we’re all happy to be available over the holiday. It would really ruin someone’s Christmas if there was a blockage or a sewer leak affecting their property. We’re a bit like the fourth emergency service – if we need to clear a pipe or fix a leak, we’ll be there as quickly as we can.”

Jason Barrett, a network technician on the water supply side of the company, will be on call covering Lincoln, Scunthorpe and the surrounding area on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. And it’s something he’s familiar with having being called out to Christmas emergencies while working for one of Anglian Water’s contractors, Clancy Docwra previously.

“I was just sitting down with the family for Christmas dinner one year and I got the call,” he recalls. “Then that was me busy for nine hours – there was a leak and we had to get in there and fix it as quickly as possible. When I got home my dinner was sitting waiting for me in the microwave.

“When you do this job, you know what to expect and you have to plan your holiday around it. If there’s a burst water main then we have to get out there straight away and see to it – we can’t leave it. So I’ll be sat with my phone right next to me on Christmas day and fingers crossed I’ll get to eat my dinner while it’s still hot this year!”

And it’s not just staff on the ground fixing burst and clearing pipes, customers with any problems can get hold of Anglian Water’s team manning the phones and also now on social media over the holidays.

The social media team will be in the office on non-bank holiday days over Christmas – but if there is an incident at any other time they are on standby to make sure we communicate with customers and keep them updated.

Gina Vasey, from the Digital Customers Service team, said: “Just like all of our customers, I’m hoping Christmas goes off without incident. However, myself and the rest of the Digital Customer Service team will be on standby this year to make sure someone gets out to you if you need us and to keep you informed of incidents that could affect you.

“We understand how important it is for you to be able to contact us easily so as well as our 24/7 operations contact centre, we’ll also be available on Twitter and Facebook.

“I’ll be spending Christmas day with my family but as my dad, his wife and my sister all work for Anglian Water, I’m sure they’ll understand if I need to leave the party!”

If you have a general enquiry during between 8am and 8pm call 03457 91 91 55. But if you see a leak or a there is a problem with your water supply call Anglian Water’s emergency line 03457 145145 which is manned 24/7 through Christmas and New Year.