Toppesfield Limited has been fined nearly £3,000, including costs, after being found guilty of illegally using Severn Trent hydrants in Birmingham.
The company had used an illegal standpipe to take water from Severn Trent hydrants for their own purposes without permission or payment, activity that can lead to damage to the hydrants, loss of supply or discoloured water for customers.
Lee Rawlings, Severn Trent water fittings senior technician, said: “Illegal use of our hydrants is a real problem for us and so for our customers. Anyone who illegally uses a hydrant is only thinking of themselves and not of the potential effect on our customers – no-one wants discoloured water because a company decides that it’s above the law. Also, why should these people be able to get water for free, when we all have to pay for it?”
Since the start of 2016, Severn Trent have successfully investigated more than 50 instances of illegal use of hydrants – with many of these investigations leading to formal cautions or even criminal prosecutions.
Severn Trent are calling on customers to keep a lookout for unauthorised use that can lead to discoloured water for thousands of homes and businesses.
And, to make it easier to spot illegal use, Severn Trent has joined forces with Aquam Water Services to make sure that all authorised standpipes are painted bright green and feature the Severn Trent and Aquam logos.
If you see someone you believe is using an illegal standpipe from a Severn Trent hydrant:
Don’t approach them; Note down where they are and when it is; Make a note of the details of the vehicle; Take a picture showing the vehicle and the standpipe attached if you can do it safely; and then email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the new standpipes, Severn Trent has also been busy fitting tens of thousands of new locking caps to the hydrants which can only be unlocked with special equipment. To date, more than 30,000 locking caps have been fitted across the network. This hopefully should put an end to people using and opening the hydrants without permission, making water supplies across the region much more secure.