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Private water supplies

A private water supply is any water supply which is not provided by a water utility company. The source of the supply may come from:

  • Wells
  • Boreholes
  • Springs
  • Rivers or streams
  • Lakes or ponds
  • Private distribution systems (mains water privately distributed by a second party)

Advice for private water supplies at risk from flooding

River or surface water flooding can contaminate domestic or commercial water supplies which can be a potential risk to health. If your supply has seasonal water quality variations or is based in an area affected by flooding you should:

  • ensure your Water Safety Plan is up to date, so that you and your consumers are aware of what to do if there is a problem with the supply
  • regularly inspect chambers and submerged tanks for signs of water getting in and make repairs where appropriate
  • complete chamber covers above ground level, with at least 150mm clearance on all sides (higher clearance may be necessary depending on your supply risk assessment)
  • schedule additional maintenance, particularly of disinfection systems and filters
  • treatments may be ineffective if cloudy water reaches points of use or flooding of chambers is evident. Boil water for drinking and cooking purposes. Extreme events may require an alternative source of water to be used.

If you have any questions or concerns email us at: 

Register your private water supply

All private water supplies must be registered with the council for inclusion on the public register.

To register please email your contact details, a brief description of the supply and location to: 

Requirement for water supply risk assessment and sampling

The Private Water Supply Regulations 2016 (as amended) require every relevant supply to have a risk assessment done by the council. Risk assessment helps to find potential hazards to human health and likely failure of national drinking water standards. The risk assessment will involve surveying the supply source through to point of use to find factors that could contaminate the water supply.

The following are the risk assessment and sampling requirements for each supply:

Single private dwellings

Do not require routine monitoring or a risk assessment, unless tenanted. However, a sample or risk assessment can be undertaken on request.  

Small domestic supplies

The amount of monitoring will depend on the outcome of the risk assessment. However, it will be a minimum of once every five years. Supplies will be sampled for five basic issues and anything else that results from the risk assessment.  

Private distribution systems

Monitoring must be carried out according to the outcome of the risk assessment.  

Large supplies or commercial premises

Both check and audit monitoring are required on these supplies, the frequency of which will depend on the volume of water used by the supply and the outcome of the risk assessment: 

  • Group A monitoring ensures the wholesomeness of the water
  • Group B monitoring determines whether the water supply meets the relevant standards

Change in advice and guidance on nitrate levels

In 2019 Public Health England reviewed and changed their guidance in relation to nitrate in drinking water in light of the new health based information:

"In light of more recent concerns over potential effects on the thyroid expressed by the WHO and Health Canada and because total intake from water and diet could exceed the ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake) for adults above a water concentration of 50 mg/l we do not recommend that anyone should regularly consume above 50 mg/l."

The revised concentration of 50mg/l for taking action in all cases is effective immediately.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate updated its guidance on nitrate following these changes.

Fees for private water supply services

The following table shows fees and services we provide:

Private Water Supply Services


Risk assessment (fee per hour)


Sampling (each visit, fixed fee), or investigation


Granting and Authorisation (fixed fee, plus hourly rate applies)


Sampling Analysis


Taken under Regulation 10

Price on application

Taken during Group A monitoring

Price on application

Taken during Group B monitoring

Price on application

Disclaimer: The council cannot confirm a set cost in relation to sampling. All costs are subject to variation dependent on suggested testing.

Investigation and action in event of a water failure

Any sample that fails to meet the drinking water standards laid out in the Private Water Supply Regulations 2016 (as amended) will result in the supply being investigated by the council to determine the reason for this failure.

If you are concerned about potential contamination of your supply please contact your water provider or the council for advice.

In the event of failure or risk assessment, where a supply is found to be unwholesome or a potential danger to human health, a notice will be served restricting the supply. The notice will be specific for each supply that has a failure of standards. Failure to comply with a notice may result in prosecution in a Magistrates Court.

Useful contacts

The Drinking Water Inspectorate: 

Email us at: