Private water supplies
A private water supply is any supply which is not provided by a water company, such as Severn Trent Water. The water may come from a spring, well, bore-hole or stream. Every home should have a supply of good clean water to be fit for people to live in.
The Private Water Supplies Regulations 2009 (the Regulations) apply to all private water supplies intended for human consumption. This means they apply to water for domestic purposes (e.g. drinking, cooking, food preparation and washing) and water used for food-production purposes.
These supplies include:
- Water from a well or borehole or spring, which is supplied from someone other than a Water Undertaker or Licensed water supplier, or;
- Water supplied by Water Undertaker or Licensed water supplier, which is then further distributed by another person (a “private distribution network”).
The Private Water Supplies Regulations 2009 can be found on the OPSI website.
New private water supply regulations - what you need to know.
The regulations aim to protect health and they require the same quality standards as the mains water supply. They require each supply to undergo a risk assessment so that the monitoring regime is tailored to the risk it presents as a result of factors such as the source of supply, the area it is abstracted from and the number of consumers. The regulations affect all private supplies although those serving a single dwelling will only be risk assessed and sampled upon request. The Council has to complete the risk assessments for all supplies within its district (except supplies to single dwellings) and there is a duty on the Council to regularly monitor supplies used as part of a commercial or public activity and for village estate supplies which service 50 or more persons per day.
The Council must charge for this work
Details of the fees are given in the Council's Fees and Charges list. The charges listed are the maximum cost that will be charged. In all cases the actual charge will reflect the reasonable cost of providing the service.
The standards have been determined according to various factors. For instance, where chemicals might affect health, standards have been set based on acceptable values for lifetime exposure. Some standards also allow for the nuisance value of chemicals which affect taste, odour or appearance of a supply. Some standards have been set because the presence of certain bacteria or chemicals can indicate the presence of other, more hazardous substances. The Council has a responsibility for holding information on all private water supplies in our District and the Regulations include rules on how often samples must be taken and what the water must be tested for.
Action by The Council
The Regulations set out procedures Local Authorities must follow if it considers a supply is unwholesome, including a requirement to investigate the cause and inform the user/s if the supply constitutes a potential danger to human health and give such user/s advice to allow them to minimise any such potential danger.
Where a private water supply requires improvement the Council will where practicable liaise informally with supply Owner/Users to prevent a potential danger to human health. If an informal approach does not achieve this then there are other options in the Regulations, including the serving of notices.
To Find Out More
Advice on private water supplies can be obtained from the Drinking Water Inspectorate .
This is a link to their leaflet entitled New Private Water Supply Regulations – what do they mean for owners and consumers?
Please contact us if your home or business is served by a private water supply and you would like more information, or would like to arrange a test, or simply wish to check whether you are already on our register.
Tel: 0115 907 2244 ext 3820