Stoke based Drainage Consultants Limited has been fined by Severn Trent for illegally taking water from a fire hydrant. The company has been ordered to pay more than £3,000 in fines and legal costs.
It was in June last year when a Severn Trent employee spotted a member of Drainage Consultants Limited taking water from a hydrant with an unauthorised standpipe at Scotia Business Park in Stoke. Severn Trent decided legal action was necessary because of the impact the drainage company’s actions could have had on its customers’ water supply.
Emma FitzGerald, managing director for wholesale operations at Severn Trent, commented:
“Fire hydrants are put in place mainly for the fire service to use in an emergency when they need water to put out a fire, and potentially save lives. They should only be used by responsible companies who have obtained an authorised stand-pipe, and are trained to use the equipment safely. I would like to reinforce the message that tapping into the water supply like this can cause huge problems such as discoloured water and could significantly compromise the quality of the water our customers receive. This is not acceptable behaviour which is why we had to take action.”
The case against Drainage Consultants Limited was heard at Stockport Magistrates Court, following a prosecution brought by Severn Trent for a breach of the Water Industry Act 1991. It is a criminal offence under section 174 of the Act to take water without the consent of the water undertaker.
This is the first time Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted a company for taking water from a fire hydrant with a standpipe, and the water company hopes this will stop others from doing the same.
“We work very hard every day to make sure the quality of the water our customers receive is of the highest standard, so it’s frustrating when company’s like Drainage Consultants Limited put that at risk, which is why it was important we took action. We’re pleased with the outcome and we hope it will help discourage others from doing the same.”
Anyone wanting to gain a legal connection to Severn Trent’s water supply with a standpipe just needs to contact the company directly at www.stwater.co.uk. In addition if you spot someone trying to connect illegally then you can report it by calling 0800 783 4444.