Calling hydrant heroes to help tackle the standpipe bandits

30 June 2016

In a bid to reduce discolouration in water for our customers,  today we've launched a clampdown on illegal use of our 300,000 fire hydrants across the Midlands.

this is a picture of pipes


Since the start of 2016, we've successfully investigated 50 instances of the illegal use of Severn Trent hydrants – with many of these investigations leading to formal cautions or even criminal prosecutions. We're now calling on our customers to be our eyes and ears by keeping 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, we've 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.

Dan Littlewood, water fittings senior technician at Severn Trent, said: “Companies and individuals that use our hydrants illegally can cause significant problems, including discolouration in our customers’ water because they simply don’t care about what their actions might result in.

“When we work with official users of our hydrants, which range from fire and rescue services to housebuilders, we make sure they’re aware that they can have a very real impact on our customers’ lives and we can educate them on how to use them properly.

“For us, water quality is an absolute priority so we really need everyone to become a hydrant hero and keep an eye out for anyone using an illegal standpipe because it could be your water they’re affecting.”

If anyone sees someone they 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
  • Send the detail to

In addition to the new standpipes, we've 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.