Shropshire Council

How do private water supplies regulations affect me?

Large supplies and supplies to commercial or public premises

This applies to large private supplies of ten cubic metres or more (10m3 or 2200 gallons) per day, and to private supplies where the water is used for a commercial activity or to public premises. For these supplies, we're required to undertake a risk assessment of each supply within five years. We're also obliged to carry out check sampling for up to 17 parameters, and audit sampling for up to 46 microbiological and chemical (including pesticides) parameters, at a frequency determined by the daily volume of supply.

Other supplies

This applies to any supplies which provide an average daily volume of fewer than ten cubic metres (10m3 or 2220 gallons per day), excluding supplies to a single dwelling. For these supplies we're required to undertake a risk assessment of each supply within five years, and carry out check and audit sampling at least once every five years, or more frequently if the risk assessment shows that it's necessary.

Single private dwellings

This applies to a private supply that serves a single private dwelling not being used for a commercial activity. We'll sample these supplies and carry out a risk assessment if the owner or occupier of the dwelling asks us to.

Private distribution systems

These convey water to individual premises within a site, for example holiday campsites, caravan parks, private estates etc. In such cases, the site owner or manager, not the water undertaker, is responsible for the supply, which is provided to premises through a private distribution system, and for the quality of the water supply at consumers' taps.

Such systems aren't monitored by water companies as part of their compliance monitoring programme. The regulations apply to the water supply from the point at which a water undertaker’s responsibility ceases, and the distribution system from that point becomes a 'private distribution system' under the regulations. For these systems we're required to sample in accordance with a sampling programme, to be decided by the results of the risk assessment.

Risk assessments

The regulations impose a duty on local authorities to carry out a risk assessment on all supplies, with the exception of those serving a single domestic dwelling, within five years from 1 January 2010, and subsequently every five years.

Water sample failures

Should a water sample fail bacteriological or chemical standards, we're required to undertake an investigation to determine the cause of the failure, and in the case of a supply which is a potential danger to human health to serve a notice to specify what steps must be taken to protect human health. Informal help and advice will be given in all cases.

Where a private supply is unwholesome only because of a failure of one of the chemical parameters, we have the power to grant an ‘authorisation’ to allow the supply to continue to be used as a temporary measure for no more than three years while remedial action is taken. An authorisation can only be granted if the supply isn't a potential danger to public health, and the supply can't be maintained by any other reasonable means.