A private water supply is any water supply not provided by a licensed water company i.e. Severn Trent Water. 

It can include drinking water provided from a borehole, well, spring or river source.

Drinking Water Inspectorate Guidance

Private Water Supplies (England) Regulations 2016 (as amended)

What are the implications of the Private Water Supplies (England) Regulations 2016 (as amended)?

The Private Water Supplies (England) Regulations 2016 (as amended) cover all private water supplies and private distribution systems. They came into effect in June 2016, replacing The Private Water Supplies Regulations 2009 which came into effect in January 2010, and look to safeguard public health by ensuring that supplies are wholesome, meaning safe to drink, and sufficient.

These were further amended in 2018 to reflect changes in radioactive monitoring and reduction to testing chemical and some biological parameters.

Private water supplies are categorised into four groups:

  1. Single private dwellings
  2. Small domestic supplies supplying fewer than 50 people
  3. Large domestic supplies supplying over 50 people or serving commercial premises, including B&B's, food businesses, public buildings and holiday/private lets
  4. Private distribution systems where mains water is used to supply a primary residence, then is further distributed via a private network of distribution pipes to one or more privately owned, secondary premises.

Risk assessments and sampling requirements

The regulations require the council to carry out a risk assessment of private water supplies at least once every five years. This involves surveying the supply to identify potential contamination risks from the source to the consumer's tap, identifying possible prevention measures and treatment options. This will determine which parameters need to be sampled for and the frequency of sampling. Initial risk assessments were completed by the end of 2021 for all small and large private water supplies, as well as private distribution systems.

For each of the following categories of supply the following actions can be expected:

  1. Single Private Dwellings: Single private dwellings will not require routine monitoring or a risk assessment, unless they are rented to a third party in which case they will be classified as commercial premises. Sampling or risk assessment can be undertaken at the owner's request
  2. 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 monitored for five basic parameters and anything else that arises from the risk assessment
  3. Private Distribution Systems: Monitoring must be carried out according to the outcome of the risk assessment
  4. Large Supplies or Commercial Premises: Two types of monitoring will occur on these supplies:
  • 'Group A' monitoring tests the wholesomeness of the water; the frequency of monitoring Group A parameters will depend on the amount of water used.
  • 'Group B' monitoring determines whether or not the water supply meets the required legal standards. The range of Group B parameters which may be monitored is extensive and the amount of monitoring depends on the outcome of the risk assessment.

Charges and Fees

Local Authorities can make reasonable charges to cover the costs of carrying out the above duties. Our set fees and charges for this activity are outlined below:

Chargeable activities

  • A risk assessment (for each assessment)
  • A sampling visit (for each assessment)
  • An investigation for example of a complaint or a breach of a regulatory standard (for each assessment)

Laboratory testing costs

  • Regulation 10 supply – non-optional parameters
  • Regulation 10 supply – additional risk-based parameters
  • Regulation 9 supply – monitoring of Group A Parameters
  • Regulation 9 supply – monitoring of Group B parameters

The costs will be based on a rate of £53.00/hr for all chargeable activities. Any laboratory costs will be separately charged depending on the parameters chemical or biological which need to be included in any sampling.

Last updated: Fri 22nd March, 2024 @ 11:09