Water

Northern Ireland Water (NI Water) provides water and sewerage services for consumers in Northern Ireland.

The Consumer Council is the representative for water and sewerage consumers.

How to protect yourself

The law sets down certain standards which NI Water must keep to. This covers issues such as water quality, treatment of waste water, and new connections to the water and sewerage system. The economic, environmental and quality regulations make sure NI Water keeps to the rules that have been set out.

NI Water is required to set out standards of performance. These include how NI Water respond to complaints and enquires, offers customers connection to the water and sewerage networks, responds to incidents and provides water efficiency advice. The standards of performance are set out in NI Water’s Codes of Practice and Customer Charter, which can be found at https://www.niwater.com/information-leaflets/

NI Water’s Customer Care Register

NI Water provides a range of free additional services to consumers who have a disability, are an older consumer, have a serious medical condition or those who need extra help for any other reason. To sign up to the Customer Care Register contact Waterline on 03457 440088 or [email protected]

How to complain

If you or anyone you represent is disappointed with any NI Water’s services, you can complain to them via telephone on 03457 440088, email at [email protected] or by post at Northern Ireland Water, PO Box 1026, Belfast, BT1 9DJ.

If you are not happy with the outcome, contact The Consumer Council.

Pollution

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency provides an emergency pollution hotline which you can use at any time to report pollution such as untreated sewerage in rivers or along the seashore. Telephone the Water Pollution Hotline on 0800 807 060 or email [email protected]

Flooding

The Flooding Incidents Line is Northern Ireland’s single telephone number for consumers to report any flooding problems. You can contact the Flooding Incidents Line 24 hours a day on 0300 2000 100 to report any flooding incidents such as problems on roads, burst mains or blocked drains. Your details will then be passed onto the most appropriate organisation to deal with the issue.

Water and Frozen Pipes

When we experience freezing temperatures it is possible that water pipes can freeze and burst. You are responsible for the pipes within your property. Below are some simple steps you can take to help avoid frozen pipes and what you should do if you have a burst pipe.

Being prepared and avoiding frozen pipes

  • Make sure pipes and tanks are insulated in unheated areas like lofts, roof spaces, garages and outbuildings;
  • Know where the internal stop tap/valve is and how to turn it off (usually under the kitchen sink or in a downstairs bathroom or cloakroom);
  • NI Water has a video on their website showing you how and where to look for pipes that can potentially freeze, and how to turn off your water if a burst happens; Watch the video at www.niwater.com/winter-films/
  • Fix dripping taps as a trickle of water can freeze and block a pipe;
  • Get your boiler serviced regularly by a qualified plumber;
  • Keep the contract details of a qualified plumber handy in case you have an issue. NI Water recommends using an Approved Plumbing Contractor. Details can be found at www.needplumber.org or by telephoning Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation (SNIPEF) on 0131 556 0600; and
  • If you are going away leave a key with a neighbour, friend or family member who can check your home for frozen pipes. Show them where the internal stop tap/valve is and how to turn it off.

If your pipes freeze

  • Turn off your water supply at the internal stop tap/valve.
  • Thaw along the pipe starting at the end nearest the tap. Wrap warm cloths/hot water bottles around it or use hairdryers at its lowest setting. Do not heat the pipe too quickly or use a naked flame as this could cause them to burst.
  • Do not leave taps dripping or running as the pipes below may be frozen.
  • Call a qualified plumber and ask for advice.

If a pipe bursts

  • Turn off your water supply at the stop tap/valve.
  • Use towels to stop escaping water.
  • Turn ON all taps to reduce flooding.
  • Call a qualified plumber.
  • When the burst pipe has been fixed remember to turn OFF all your taps.
  • If you see a leak on a road or footpath report it to NI Water’s Leakline on 0800 028 2011.

For more information contact Waterline on 03457 440088 or visit www.niwater.com

Insurance

You should make sure your property and contents insurance covers severe weather conditions. Read your policy to see how you are covered. If you are not covered, contact your insurance company and amend your policy or shop around for a new policy. If you cannot find your policy, contact your insurance provider who will send you another copy, or advise you on what your policy covers.

Keep your insurance documents, along with a torch and a few other essentials, in a waterproof box in case of an emergency flood or leak.

If you have a complaint about how you insurance company is dealing with your claim, tell the company first to give them the chance to put things rights. If you are still unhappy, contact the Financial Ombudsman Services on 0800 023 4567 or visit www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk