Inkster blames Scottish Water for laying pipes too shallow after Hamnavoe flood
Around 30 houses lost their water supply after a digger broke a water main above Duke Street in Hamnavoe, Burra, on Saturday afternoon.
Householders below the street used battons and sandbags to divert the water that had flooded gardens and was coursing down the hill and along the road.
Ironically, the flood was caused by a digger that had been ditching in a field next to a house to divert water away from the property.
Householder and digger driver Ali Inkster, who owns Andrew Halcrow’s shop in Hamnavoe, said the hired digger crushed the plastic water main which was buried only 300mm on top of rock. A rock lying on top of the pipe broke it when he drove the digger over it.
He said: “The water main was not buried deep enough. I was digging a field drain, but I did not dig it up. It was the digger on top of the water pipe that crushed it.”
Scottish water have sent Mr Inkster a letter saying he will be liable for the cost of repairs, but have not yet sent him a bill.
Scottish Water declined to comment on the cost of the repairs but said that the flood had been caused by a “third party”.
The company stated: “We will always advise customers in advance of any planned work that may impact them such as an interruption to the water supply.
“The loss of supply in Hamnavoe on Saturday (19th) was the result of third party damage to a water main.
“We swiftly carried out a repair and supplies to the 30 or so properties affected by the burst were restored soon after.
“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this emergency repair work may have caused.”
But an unrepentant Mr Inkster said that it was all the fault of the water supplier as the pipes were not buried deep enough.
According to him, water pipes should be buried 800mm deep. He had exposed more of the pipework and some of it was only eight inches below the surface.
Mr Inkster said he phoned Scottish Water on an 0845 number around 1pm to alert them of the flood but the water board did not contact anyone in Shetland. When he phoned back he was advised that the job had been put on a list.
When there was no sign of anyone turning up from Scottish Water he contacted someone locally who used to work for the water board and also a couple of water engineers.
After that, workmen arrived to tackle the job. None of them, Mr Inkster claimed, had been contacted by the control centre hundreds of miles away.
Once the engineers started work, it only took an hour to fix the leak and the water was back on sometime around 5pm.
Mr Inkster, who is a vociferous Wir Shetland supporter and virulent contributor to social media platforms, said the flood was all the fault of centralisation and that is was another thing “we can thank da f***** Scotty for. Du can quote me on dat,” he said.