Try asking anyone at Thames Water or Waverley a question and getting an answer this quick!


We respectfully suggest you don’t listen to the audio if you have  a weak bladder!

Two days ago one of our followers asked another of our followers a question regarding Cranleigh’s collapsing water pipes…

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Dear Waverley Web,

Thames Water’s tests were purely on samples of pipe (samples of broken pipe that had been collected from areas of pipe that had burst). The tests were done to establish if the pipes were made from white (crysotile) asbestos or blue (crocidolite) asbestos.

Asbestos fibres enter the water supply in two ways:

1. As pipes near the end of their design life, the inside surface gets worn away exposing and releasing free fibres. This process is called “exfoliation”.
2. When pipes burst, there is a sudden potential for volume fibre release. Eventually, when the burst gets repaired, often several hours later or in the coming days, Thames Water flush out the the pipe runs in the vicinity, but by then loose fibres would already have been dispersed deeper into the the network.

Thames Water and Cranleigh Civic Society have discussed doing tests to find out the concentration of asbestos fibres in Cranleigh’s water supply network. It would involve a lot of test samples from around the village over a long period to get accurate results. We already know that 29.6% of the drinking water supply pipes in Cranleigh are old asbestos cement pipes (though we don’t know how much is white asbestos and how much is made from blue asbestos), so if the results confirmed the presence of free asbestos fibres in the network, so what? It’s not going to surprise anyone.

Kind regards,


ps I used to work at the Building Research Station in the 1970’s / early 1980’s researching new materials to replace asbestos fibres, so I understand the issues here.

Is anyone out there listening to ANYTHING that the civic society says on behalf of the people of Cranleigh?

No – it’s not the heavy rain or Irma – it’s just the Cranleigh scourge – more burst water pipes!

6 thoughts on “Try asking anyone at Thames Water or Waverley a question and getting an answer this quick!”

  1. I admire the energy Adrian puts into the work he does, however, surely if his research indicates there is a possibility of asbestos fibres in the water Thames Water should investigate and test the water- no matter how involved the process. I fear that without evidence of fibres in the water the work he has done to date will be in vain. Maybe get a petition up to compel Thames Water to start the tests?

  2. We wholeheartedly agree. Surely following the Flood Forum and the claims made there, any self respecting water authority would, as a matter of urgency, have undertaken investigations to ascertain whether there were dangerous fibres in the water supply. This whole business smacks of Erin Brockovich and Cranleigh people should be banging on the doors of Thames Water demanding these tests are carried out before new homes are connected.
    What is the matter with the people over there in the East – are they all asleep, that is unless they are campaigning to stop development at Dunsfold Park then, as we are all very well aware – they are wide awake!

  3. I’m afraid I don’t agree. You have posted a few times posing the question why isn’t the CCS being listened to on this issue? It’s probably because they have admitted that they don’t have the evidence that asbestos fibres are present in the water supply. They need to get the evidence to back up their concerns. Without that I suspect their comments on this issue can’t be taken seriously by authorities despite all of their hard work.

  4. Surely it is not the CCS’s job to carry out the necessary testing – it is the job of Thames Water. to satisfy itself and others that there’re no blue assets fibres in the drinking water. Maybe it, (TW) is not concerned, but we understand there is very real concern among the residents of Cranleigh. Thames Water has a duty to respond to the concerns expressed by local people!
    Perhaps someone should suggest that an independent analysis of the water supply is carried out. Perhaps when house prices start to drop – or the new homes remain vacant – someone somewhere will do something.

  5. The CCS assert that fibres in the pipes will lead to fibres in the water supply if those pipes burst, but they have no non- circumstantial evidence to back that claim up. I suspect that’s why authorities aren’t taking action – because they can’t without the evidence. To get the evidence they need to convince TW to do the testing or pay for an independent expert to carry this out. I imagine without taking one of those two courses of action their argument on this topic has run its course and their hard work to this point will be in vain. That’s why no one appears to be listening to them on this point.

  6. Perhaps the residents of Cranleigh and all the other towns and villages should all get together and fund an independent expert to carry out the testing. After all it is in their interest – isn’t it. We here at the Waverley Web would be drinking bottled water if we lived in the areas affected.
    And, how do we know this doesn’t affect other boroughs and districts elsewhere in the country?

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