SWW's prosecution threat for customers connecting unauthorised standpipes
South West Water (SWW) has warned that customers who steal water from its public supply network face the risk of prosecution, saying a standpipe hire service is available instead.
The warning follows the prosecution of a plant hire company at Plymouth Magistrates Court. Jet Plant Hire, based in Evesham, contravened the Water Industry Act 1991 after using an unauthorised standpipe to access the water supply via a hydrant in Bell Close, Plympton, on June 21, 2016 without SWW’s permission.
Jet Plant Hire pleaded guilty to three offences at Plymouth Magistrates Court on January 10, 2017. The company was fined £1,320, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £66 and costs in full of £1,277.16.
Bob Taylor, South West Water's operations director for drinking water services, said: "Connecting unauthorised standpipes to our network is an issue we take very seriously. It creates a potential risk to water quality, which could result in public health issues and damage our infrastructure.
“It can also interfere with our customers' supplies or fire service activities. We monitor the use of our network closely and will take action against anyone who is detected making unauthorised use of a standpipe."
SWW said only authorised standpipes can be connected to its infrastructure at approved locations. Unauthorised use could result in a fine of up to £3,000 for each incident. To help all customers, including charities and community organisations holding outdoor events, South West Water has set up a special standpipe hire service with Aquam Water Services.
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