Private Water Supplies
A private water supply is one that isn't provided by a water company, which in the case of South Staffordshire is either Severn Trent Water or South Staffordshire Water. Private supplies can come from a well, borehole or a spring, and are usually found in the more rural areas of the county. The supply often serves just one home, but some supplies serve several.
Safe drinking water is essential to good health. All private water supplies can pose a threat to health unless they're properly protected, maintained and treated. They may become contaminated with bacteria or other substances. You may not be able to tell whether your water is safe, as contamination may not change the smell, taste or colour of the water. We have a duty to monitor, risk assess and sample private water supplies.
Private Water Supply Regulations 2016 and 2018
Private water supplies are categorised into four groups. These are:
- Single domestic dwellings, a supply serving only one owner occupied dwelling
- Small supplies (regulation 10), providing water to fewer than 50 people with the water only used for domestic purposes.
- Large supplies (Regulation 9), providing water to more than 50 people for domestic purposes, or serving commercial properties including; B&Bs, holiday lets, any rented domestic properties, food production businesses, public building, etc.
- Private distribution systems (Regulation 8). Where mains water is supplied to a number of properties through a provate network of pipes.
The classification of a supply is primarily dependent on the number and type of premises served and the volume of water used. The regulations have also introduced a new requirement for local authorities to monitor private distribution systems.
For more information on how the regulations affect different types of properties, take a look at the Drinking Water Inspectorate advice.
Risk assessments and monitoring requirements
The regulations require the council to carry out a risk assessment of Regulation 8, Regulation 9 and Regulation 10 private water supplies at least every five years. This involves surveying the supply to identify the risks (potential failures of standards and risks to human health) and to take action to control those risks. This risk assessment will also assist in identifying which additional parameters, if any, need to be sampled when testing the water supply.
The regulations stipulate how frequently and for which parameters each category of private water supply will be sampled:
- Single domestic dwellings: Unless requested by the supply owner no sampling is required
- Small supplies (Regulation 10): Sampling is carried out at least once every five years and samples are tested for a reduced set of parameters compared to Regulation 9 supplies. These are listed in the regulations as Group A parameters.
- Large / commercial (Regulation 9): Sampled at least annually (or more frequently) depending on the volume of water used or if there are concerns that warrant increased monitoring. Parameters for Regulation 9 supplies are more comprehensive and include both Group A and Group B parameters in the regulations.
- Private distribution systems (Regulation 8): Receive the same five-yearly Group A sampling as small supplies, unless there is a requirement for increased monitoring
Private Water Supplies Fees and Charges
The following table provides information on the maximum fees set out by the regulations and the current charges the Council has set. These are currently being reviewed.
|Service (activity)||Maximum fee (£)||South Staffordshire Council Fee (£)|
|Risk assessment (each assessment)||500||Subject to individual quote based on time spent and travelling time|
|Routine Sampling (each visit)*||100||30|
|Sample - On request||100||60|
|Investigation (each investigation)||100||Subject to individual quote based on time spent and travelling time|
|Granting an authorisation (each authorisation)||100||50|
|Analysing a sample:|
|Sampling Single Domestic Dwelling||25||25|
|Taken under check monitoring||100||30 - 46 depending on parameters required|
|Taken under audit monitoring||500||Subject to individual quote based on time spent and travelling time|
* No fee is payable where a sample is taken and analysed solely to confirm or clarify the results of the analysis of a previous sample.
Further help and advice
For further help and advice on private water supplies, or to let us know about a new supply being brought into use, please contact Environmental Health & Licensing on 01902 696000 or email@example.com