Private water supplies

Drinking water regulations consultation

A consultation was carried out in September and October of 2017 about proposed changes to the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2016. The responses to the consultation are now available.

We have to sample the quality of private water supplies - water obtained from a borehole, spring, well or reservoir.

These private water supplies must meet the same standards as mains supply water, including:

  • Commercial and larger domestic supplies - a full risk assessment must be carried out at least every five years; sampling and analysis must be done at least annually
  • Smaller domestic supplies - a full risk assessment and sampling and analysis must be carried out every five years
  • Private Distribution Systems - park homes sites, holiday campsites, etc.  A risk assessment must be carried out and a sampling programme devised based on the results

There is no requirement for us to investigate supplies to a single domestic dwelling, unless the householder requests it, or we find out that the water is a risk to health.

More information is available on the Drinking Water Inspectorate's (DWI's) website.

The Regulations set out the frequency of sampling, depending on the size and use of the supply. For example, a supply serving a cafe will be tested more frequently than a supply serving a private household.

We will do a full survey of the supply and then decide which laboratory tests need to be done. Here is a full list of pollutants that may be tested.

We charge for work done to ensure the safety of private water supplies.

Results are usually available in 14 days for bacterial tests and 28 days for chemical tests.

We look at the whole supply system from catchment (borehole, spring, watercourse, lake) to tap. We identify any risks to the quality of the water from:

  • Livestock
  • Wildlife
  • Agriculture
  • Neighbouring sewage treatment plant
  • Surrounding land
  • State of storage tanks
  • Pipework
  • Any current treatment.

If a water supply fails a quality test, we will discuss with you how to improve it. If necessary, we will serve legal notices that require the water supply to be improved.