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Home > Environment > Private Water Supplies

Private Water Supplies

In general terms a private water supply is any water supply which is not provided by a water company. It is not a "mains" supply.

No water rates are paid for these supplies although the person who owns a supply may make a charge. The owner or person who uses the supply is responsible for repairing and maintaining it. There are about 150 private water supplies in the Babergh district, most of which serve only one property and 115 in the Mid Suffolk district, again most of which serve one property.

To make sure that water used in the home and for producing food is of the high quality that is needed to protect public health, the Government has set legal quality standards. All water used for drinking, washing and cooking, or used in businesses that produce food or drink must meet these standards.


Risk Assessment of Private Water Supplies

Under the Private Water Supplies Regulations 2016 the local authority must carry out a risk assessment of all large and/or commercial supplies every five years. The risk assessment is a systematic assessment of the source (well or borehole), water treatment and distribution system which aims to identify potential sources of contamination of the water supply so that these may be addressed before a problem occurs.

Risk assessment is not required for single dwellings under the Regulations, however, this can be requested by the owner and is appropriate if there are concerns regarding the water quality.


Sampling of Private Water Supplies

The Council has a rolling programme to monitor large private water supplies and smaller supplies serving more than one property. Laws controlling the way that local authorities carry out their duty concerning private water supplies are included in the Private Water Supplies Regulations 2016. Among other things these rules set out how often a local authority must take a sample of water from a private supply, what tests it must carry out and how much it can charge for taking the sample and testing the water.

Supplies serving single dwellings are not routinely monitored but will be at the request of the owner.  Householders should be aware that if the sampling results reveal a problem with the water this may result in the Local Authority being required to serve a notice on the householder to carry out works to make the water compliant with the Regulations.

For further information please refer to the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) Private Water Supplies Advice at:

 Drinking Water Inspectorate Private Water Supplies Advice web page

Also refer to the Foundation for Water Research advice at:

Householder's Guide to Private Water Supplies