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Cornish companies fined for putting public water supply at risk

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Unscrupulous businesses in Cornwall have been prosecuted for illegally taking water from South West Water's network.

South West Water has previously urged customers to take advantage of its standpipe hire service rather than run the risk of prosecution, but last week two more companies were in court for unauthorised use of hydrants in Cornwall.

GP Wherry, trading as A1 Quick Flow, a drainage consultant from St Austell, contravened the Water Industry Act 1991 section 174 after using an unauthorised standpipe to access the water supply via a hydrant in Roche on 1 October 2012 without permission of South West Water.

Similarly E Roberts Contractors Ltd, road surfacing contractors from St Columb, also used an unauthorised standpipe to access the water supply via a hydrant in Trelowth on 28 January 2013.

Bodmin Magistrates Court fined both companies £1,500 at the hearing on Wednesday 17 April 2013. E Roberts Contractors Ltd was also ordered to pay costs of £1,515.18 and GP Wherry was ordered to pay costs of £1,977.18.

A spokesman for South West Water 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 could damage our infrastructure. It can also interfere with our operations 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."

Only authorised standpipes can be connected to South West Water's 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 Jewson. For your nearest branch call 01392 446068 or 01726 68233 or visit http://www.jewson.co.uk/branch-locator/

Notes to editors

  • South West Water provides water and sewerage services to over 1.6 million people across Devon, Cornwall and parts of Somerset and Dorset
  • South West Water operates over 630 sewage treatment works and 29 water treatment works
  • South West Water maintains 14,800km of public sewers and 15,101km of water mains
  • We supply our customers with around 349 mega litres (79 million gallons) of drinking water every day
  • On average, half a billion litres of sewage arrives at South West Water's treatment works every day.
  • In 2014 South West Water will submit its business plan for the years ahead to the UK water industry regulator Ofwat. We are inviting customers to find out more and tell us what they think our priorities should be at www.southwestwater.co.uk/waterfuture

Published: 24 April 2013

For further information please contact:

Press Office
South West Water

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