New regulations relating to drinking water supplied from wells, boreholes and other private water supplies, came into force on 27 June 2016. These were amended by a subsequent amendment Regulation known as the Private Water Supplies (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 and these came into force on 11 July 2018.
The regulations require local authorities to routinely sample supplies, to investigate failures of microbiological or chemical parameters and to conduct risk assessments.
If your property is served by a private water supply, we recommend that you have your supply serviced regularly, by a qualified water engineer.
A private water supply is any water supply which is not provided by a water company (water undertaker) and which is not be considered to be a 'mains' supply. Private water supplies can be obtained from a variety of sources including springs, wells, boreholes, rivers, streams, lakes or ponds. All private water supplies can pose a potential threat to health unless they are properly protected and treated.
Unlike mains water supplies, many private supplies are not treated to remove contamination. You may not be able to tell whether your water is safe as contamination may not be obvious (contamination isn’t always recognisable as a taste, colour or odour).
A private water supply must not be brought into use or used until the local authority is satisfied that the supply does not constitute a potential danger to human health. Notify us of a new supply by sending us an email or by completing an online form.
A risk assessment is a check on the condition of the supply. It involves looking at the source of the supply, the surrounding area and anticipating what might lead to contamination. It will also involve looking at storage tanks, pipework and treatment systems. The risk assessment identifies any actual and potential hazards that may affect the health of those drinking the water, so that improvements can be made to ensure the quality of the water supply and safeguard the health of those using it.
For domestic supplies, in order to aid the risk assessment process we have devised a Record Book which you can print and complete in order to keep an information record about your private water supply. Often during the Risk Assessment process, there are no records available which almost certainly means the supply will be categorised as Very High or High Risk, and the frequency of Risk Assessment and/or Sampling can be increased as a result (meaning further cost to the owner of the property). Therefore, we hope that this record will help to reduce the risk.
The risk assessment criteria is provided by the Drinking Water Inspectorate on behalf of the Secretary of State.
For the costs of Risk Assessments, please see the Guide to Fees and Charges below.
If your well or borehole serves only one property, you will be classed as a 'single domestic property' and therefore are not required to have routine sampling by us under the new regulations. However, you can contact us to request that we visit to risk assess or sample the supply.
We also recommend that you have your supply serviced regularly, by a qualified water engineer.
These supplies will be required to be sampled on a routine basis as determined by the regulations and in line with the risk assessment rating.
Commercial premises - include hotels, guest houses, restaurants, cafes, B&B’s, holiday let accommodation, caravan sites, camp sites, temporary sites such as show grounds and festivals.
Public buildings - include schools and colleges, nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, village halls, church halls and libraries.
Large supplies - includes private water supplies which supply water to domestic properties only, and provide in excess of 10m³ per day of water.
Small supplies - include domestic properties where a private water supply provides less than 10m³ per day, or serves less than 50 persons. This includes all supplies which serve two or more domestic properties.
This list is not intended to be exhaustive, and if you feel that your water supply should be sampled and risk assessed, please contact us to discuss this.
If a meter is not available to estimate how much water is used per day, 0.2m³ is multiplied by the amount of people using the supply. For example, for 12 people using a water supply 12 x 0.2 = 2.4m³ per day.
It is likely that you have already been contacted if we are aware of your premises having a private water supply. However, if you have not been contacted, it may be that we are not aware of your supply and we would therefore be grateful if you would contact us.
If you have never received any correspondence from us relating to your private water supply, we may not know of its existence and we would therefore be grateful if you would contact us.
The regulations allow the Council to charge fees for its activities in ensuring that private water supplies serving our district are wholesome.
We strongly recommend that private water supplies and their distribution and treatment systems are properly maintained to prevent contamination of your drinking water.
Wells and boreholes should be suitably covered and protected. Loft or other storage tanks should be checked and cleaned when routinely. Any treatment systems such as ultra-violet (UV) and reverse osmosis/ or cartridge filters should be checked and maintained in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions and guidelines.
We recommend that your supply and its equipment are serviced regularly by a qualified water engineer. Names of companies who carry out this kind of work can be found on Yell.com or in the Yellow Pages under 'Pumps and Pumping Equipment' or 'Water Treatment'.
All water supply queries and emergencies should be raised directly with the water company that supplies you:
Complaints about the service received from mains water companies should be directed to the Consumer Council for Water.