Water company Severn Trent says that illegal use of standpipes is a real problem that it is trying to clamp down on
So far this year Severn Trent has investigated more than 70 instances of illegal use of its hydrants – with many of these investigations leading to formal cautions or even criminal prosecutions.
This week Ibstock-based Go Plant, which specialises in street cleaning machinery, was ordered to pay £4,064 (including costs) at Leicester Magistrates Court.
Go Plant had been caught several times using an illegal standpipe to take water from Severn Trent’s hydrants for its own purposes without permission or payment, it was alleged.
Dan Littlewood, water fittings senior technician at Severn Trent, 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?
“While it is important that we prosecute companies who do break the law, we recognise the very considerable efforts that Go Plant have now made to ensure compliance and we hope that other companies will follow their lead. They have now agreed to hire 85 standpipes from us so going forward there’ll hopefully be no more issues.”
Severn Trent has now fitted locking caps to 30,000 hydrants across the network.