Drinking water

Environmental Health Officers look at these areas of water quality.

Private water supplies

The Private Water Supplies Regulations (England) apply to all private water supplies intended for human consumption. This includes water for domestic purposes such as drinking, cooking, food preparation and washing, as well as water used for food production purposes.

Private water supplies include:

  • Water from a well or borehole or spring, which is supplied from someone other than a Water Undertaker or Licensed water supplier.
  • Water supplied by Water Undertaker or Licensed water supplier, which is then further distributed by another person (a private distribution network).

Our responsibilities

The Private Water Supplies Regulations require councils to:

  • Complete a risk assessment of all Private Water Supplies (PWS).
    This does not apply to supplies serving single non–commercial properties, unless a risk assessment is requested by the owner.

  • Keep records of all PWS including Private Distribution Systems.
    The Regulations set out procedures councils must follow if it considers a PWS is unwholesome, including a requirement to investigate the cause and inform the PWS 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.

  • Liaise with thePublic Health England to seek advice on whether there is potential danger to human health.

  • Monitor supplies
    The Regulations, give a clear indication of the monitoring requirement.

  • For small supplies of less than 10m3 /day the monitoring is based on the conclusions of the risk assessment.

  • Larger PWS, greater than 10m3 / day and any supplies that provide water for commercial activities will require check and audit monitoring from the first year.

Making improvements

Where a PWS requires improvement councils will liaise informally with PWS owner/users to prevent a potential danger to human health. If there is an immediate public health issue or the informal approach does not achieve this there are other options, including the serving of notices.

Private water supply charging policy

Councils can make reasonable charges, to cover their costs for carrying out their duties under the Regulations; Schedule 5 of the Regulations set the maximum limits which may be charged.

The Council charges for the officer time taken and any additional costs such as laboratory analysis which are required under the regulations.

For the private water systems fees (pdf)

For more information on what the regulations mean for owners and consumers (DWI website).

Mains water

Includes manufacturers of foods and drinks as well as occasionally looking at domestic supply.

Where necessary we examine the quality of the mains water in our food manufacturers. We may also occasionally become involved in the testing of domestic mains water in addition to the statutory water undertaker. The Drinking Water Inspectorate, who are the national body for ensuring the quality of water, provide an annual publication titled 'How Good is Your Drinking Water'.

The water industry has produced a guide to help you enjoy the quality of tap water. It gives a few simple ways of keeping your water in tip top condition and avoiding some common problems that can affect the taste and quality of your water.