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Severn Trent prosecutes Warwickshire Company for illegal hydrant use

Wednesday 18th April 2018

Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted a Warwickshire-based company for illegal hydrant use.

Wilkinson Environmental, based in Carlyon Industrial Estate in Atherstone, Nuneaton, pleaded guilty to five offences of illegal hydrant use after being caught by a member of the public taking water illegally in Shifnal, Kidderminster, Leamington Spa and Redditch.

The company has now been ordered to pay a total of £4,782, made up of a £1,742 fine, £3,000 in costs and a £40 victim surcharge.

Dan Littlewood, from Severn Trent, said: “Not only did this company illegally use our hydrants, they also removed a locking cap that stops people from using them, so they knew they shouldn’t be doing it – hopefully after landing in court, they won’t be doing it again.

“Our customers pay for their water, so companies should too. Not only are they not paying for it, they’re also potentially making our water murky or even stopping our customers from getting supplies. These companies are not trained to use our hydrants properly, which also puts people at risk in emergencies, as the fire and rescue services relies on our hydrants and, if they’re broken, it could have serious consequences.

”Since the start of 2016 Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted over 50 companies and written more than 160 warning letters to firms that have been caught illegally using hydrants. “Whether it’s for cooking, cleaning or just having a cup of tea, it’s really important that water’s there when you need it. So we’ve made it easy to spot those using our hydrants illegally by teaming 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.

”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: “No one wants to have murky water, and illegal hydrant use is one of the major causes of murky 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 anyone does ever experience murky water, 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 visit http://www.stwater.co.uk

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