News

Birmingham company prosecuted for illegal hydrant use

Monday 18 February 2019

Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted a Birmingham based company for nine offences relating to illegal hydrant use.

M.V. Kelly Ltd, of Amington Rd Birmingham, pleaded guilty to all nine offences which were made up of four statutory offences, and five regulatory offences. 

The company illegally attached unauthorised and on occasions makeshift standpipes to the network four times making up the statutory offences, and these connections also constituted the five regulatory offences under the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999.

This type of illegal hydrant use not only gives incorrect measurements of the water taken from the network, but also carries a risk as on occasions the standpipes did not have the correct back-flow prevention fittings. 

The offences were carried out last year across Shropshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire between July and August.  

The company now has been ordered to pay a total of £7284.80, made up of a £2740 fine, a victim surcharge of £170 and costs of £4374.80.

Dan Littlewood, from Severn Trent, said: “We’d warned this company before about their actions, so they know what they were doing was wrong. They’ve showed a complete disregard to the law, and to the potential problems our customers could have faced by repeatedly accessing our network illegally. They also attached a makeshift standpipe to our water network, which was massively irresponsible, and we’re really lucky these actions didn’t create bigger problems.

“It’s so important that anyone who needs to access the water network does so with the correct training and equipment. Not only can using the wrong type of standpipe cause our customers’ water to be murky or not there when they need it, it can also carry huge implications for the Fire and Rescue Service if hydrants are broken and they can’t use them in emergencies.”

Since the start of this year Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted more than 80 companies and sent more than 180 warning letters to firms that have been caught illegally using hydrants. 

Dan added that Severn Trent is making it easier to spot illegal hydrants with all authorised standpipes now painted bright green and featuring the Severn Trent logo.

“We never want our customers water supplies to be at risk, so we’re really working hard to crack down on illegal hydrant use,” adds Dan. “We want to make sure our customers water is always there when they need it so we want businesses to use approved standpipes and work with us to have the proper training they need access to our hydrants correctly and legally.”

If anyone sees someone they believe is using an illegal standpipe from a Severn Trent hydrant, the company has also issued the following advice:

•    Don’t approach them;

•    Note down the location and the date;

•    Make a note of the company name if possible;

•    Take a picture showing the vehicle and the standpipe attached if it can be done safely;

•    Send the details to waterregulations@severntrent.co.uk

 Any company needing to discuss their site water supply can email Dan and the team through waterregulations@severntrent.co.uk.

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