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West Midlands company fined thousands of pounds for illegal use of Severn Trent hydrants

Friday 25th August

A West Midlands company has been fined thousands of pounds for illegally using hydrants following a successful prosecution by Severn Trent.

Drain Clearing 247 Ltd, based in Neachells Lane in Wolverhampton, was handed a fine of £5,301.33 at Telford Magistrates Court yesterday (24 August) after admitting illegally using hydrants on two occasions – once in Telford and again in Coventry.

Severn Trent is now calling on people across the region to be hydrant heroes and to report any suspicious hydrant use. People or companies using hydrants illegally can lead to customers getting discoloured water or losing their supply altogether.

Dan Littlewood from Severn Trent, says: “We know how important it is for our customers to have access to clean water when they need it and nobody should receive discoloured water as a result of others thinking they’re above the law.

“It’s not only our customers who are affected, in many cases the illegal use of hydrants results in them being damaged and could mean that the fire service are unable to use them in an emergency. That could have devastating consequences.”

Since the start of 2016 Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted 28 companies and written more than 100 warning letters to firms that have been caught illegally using hydrants. A further 20 companies are currently under investigation.

“To make it easier to spot those using our hydrants illegally, we’ve teamed up with Aquam Water Services,” said Dan. “This now means all of our authorised standpipes are painted bright green and feature the Severn Trent and Aquam logos. So, if anyone sees our hydrants being used by someone using anything other than a bright green standpipe, please let us know.”

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 company name;

•    Take a picture showing the vehicle and the standpipe attached if you can do it safely; and then

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

In addition to the new standpipes, Severn Trent has also been busy fitting tens of thousands of new locking caps to hydrants which can only be unlocked with special equipment. To date, more than 30,000 caps have been fitted across the network.  This should put an end to people using and opening the hydrants without permission, making water supplies across the region much more secure.

Dan added: “Illegal hydrant use is one of the major causes of discoloured water in the Severn Trent region as the draw of water through the hydrant can disturb harmless sediment that normally sits at the bottom of the pipe.  If customers do ever experience their water being discoloured, simply run the first mains fed tap at a gentle rate for 20 minutes and the water should clear.  You may need to do this a few times to completely clear the water.  It’s nothing to worry about, and this simple advice may avoid the need for you to call us.”

For more information about discoloured water click here.

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