Private water supplies

How to get the quality of your water checked and what you need to do if you provide or receive a private water supply.

A private water supply is water which is not provided by a water supplier (for example Affinity Water). The supply could serve one property or several properties. The owner of the private water supply has a responsibility to provide safe water to the users.

The source of the supply may come from a:

  • well
  • borehole
  • spring
  • river or stream
  • lake or pond
  • private distribution system (mains water privately distributed by a second party)

We monitor these supplies to check that they are safe to drink.
 

Types of private water supplies

The regulations categorise private water supplies into a number of categories.

Single household supplies

If your supply only serves a your household you can choose if you would like us to monitor the quality of your water.

We offer two types of assessment. We can:

  • take a sample and have it tested for bacteria, pH, conductivity and turbidity, and any other chemicals
  • carry out a risk assessment of your supply to check for any contamination

Small supplies and private distribution systems

For private water supplies supplying more than one dwelling, and private distribution networks, we are required to monitor the supply and carry out a risk assessment every five years. This will look at factors like where the water comes from, how well the source is protected, any possible source of contamination in the area, the condition of the pipe work, whether there is any treatment on the supply etc.

How often we sample the water and the list of things we test it for will depend on the outcome of the risk assessment.

Large supplies

For supplies providing more than 10m3 per day, or used in any commercial or public activity (such as rented properties, food businesses, schools etc.) we are required to carry out a risk assessment. This the same assessment as for small supplies. 

Large supplies must be sampled at least once a year.
 

Register a private water supply

You should register your water supply with us if you have:

  • a private water supply that may not be registered with us
  • recently moved to a property with a private water supply

To register you'll need to complete and send us the Icon for word New Supplies Questionnaire [25.72KB].  

Please also let us know if you stop using an existing private water supply so that we can de-register it.
 

New supplies

We'll need to test the water before you use it if:

  • you install a new private water supply
  • or start using one that has been out of use for more than twelve months
     

Cost of monitoring a supply

Our charges for sampling and analysis of a water supply will depend on the type of supply and what we find during the assessment.
 

If your supply fails the assessment

If your water does not meet the standards set by the regulations, we will investigate the cause and discuss the options for improvement. These could include protecting the water source from contamination, cleaning storage tanks, or installing disinfection equipment or chemical filters.

If necessary we will serve a Restriction or Improvement Notice. This will stop the use of any water which is found to be a potential danger to human health.
 

Further information

The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) has further information for consumers receiving a private water supply.

For help, or to request sampling of a single household or new supply, please contact our Environmental Health Team.

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