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Private water supplies

A private water supply is any water supply not provided by a licensed water company. This can include water from wells, springs and boreholes.

The Private Water Supplies Regulations 2009 make sure water from private water supplies are safe for people to drink.

Categories of private water supplies

Private water supplies are categorised into four types:

1.      Large Supplies – supplies with commercial uses or large domestic supplies - i.e. those using more than 10m³/day or supplying more than 50 people a day on average.

2.      Small supplies – supplies with two or more domestic premises but with no commercial premises. Usage less than10m³/day and fewer than 50 people a day supplied on average.

3.      Supplies to single domestic property

4.      Private distribution networks - the scope of the regulations has now been broadened to include distribution networks, where water is further distributed beyond the responsibility of the licensed water company. Distribution networks may include water that is further distributed on caravan parks, large industrial estates or country estates or where water is further distributed by tanker.

Council functions

The regulations place duties upon councils to:

  • Risk assess private water supplies - The risk assessment considers the whole supply from the water source to the tap and aims to identify whether there are any risks to the wholesomeness of the water.  Factors such as livestock grazing, wildlife activity, nearby industrial processes, condition of the network and storage tanks and effectiveness of water treatment are taken into consideration. Risk assessments must be completed by 2015.
  • Monitor private water supplies - Water samples will be taken and analysed to check that chemical and microbiological parameters are within permitted levels:
    • Large supplies should be sampled at least twice a year depending upon the outcome of the risk assessment
    • Small supplies should be sampled at least once every five years
    • Single property supplies can be sampled on request.
  • Inform consumers if there is any potential risk to health from a water supply and offer advice to minimise any potential danger
  • Investigate any failures causing water to be unwholesome. If a private water supply is thought to constitute a potential danger to health, legal notices may be served to improve the water supply or prohibit/restrict the water supply.

Councils can make reasonable charges to cover the costs of carrying out the above duties, subject to the maximum amounts set out in the regulations.

For more information, please contact us 01530 454556

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