Water Quality and Safety

Water quality and safety

Anglian Water supply mains water to most premises in our district, however Severn Trent Water and Thames Water also supply parts of this district. They are responsible for ensuring that the water they supply is safe to drink.  We work with Anglian, Severn Trent and Thames Water, checking compliance with standards and responding to any incidents.

We have responsibility for monitoring the quality of private water supplies (ie supplies not provided by a water company) and bathing water in swimming pools and spa pools in the district.

Mains Water

If you have any problems with your mains water supply or your wastewater services, you should contact the Anglian Water Helpline on 08457 145145 , Severn Trent on 0800 7834444 , Thames Water on 0800 714614 , depending on who you pay your water rates to.

Further information is available from Anglian WaterSevern Trent Water, and Thames Water.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate are the national body for ensuring the quality of water and they regulate the water companies. 

Private Water Supplies 

Any premises that get their drinking water from a spring, well or borehole is deemed to be a private water supply. We monitor certain private water supplies in the district to ensure the water provided is safe to drink.

Private Distribution Systems 

If Anglian Water provide water to your site which you then supply onwards to other premises, then you are responsible for the quality of this water as it is a private distribution network.

Swimming Pools 

We monitor the quality of water in public swimming pools and spa pools.  The frequency of our monitoring is risk based and dependent on factors such as the frequency of usage of the pool.  It is the responsibility of the operator to carry out their own more frequent checks. The Health and Safety Executive and Health Protection Agency have developed joint guidance on the management of spa pools to control risk of infection.

Further guidance on the management of water quality in swimming pools is available from the World Health Organization and from the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group.

Please contact the Environmental Improvement  Team using the link at the bottom of the page if you need further information on any of these topics.

The Regulation of Private Water Supplies

In January 2010, The Private Water Supplies Regulations 2009 came into force.  Whilst we had responsibilities for carrying out monitoring of private water supplies prior to this legislation, the new regulations introduce a requirement that local authorities carry out a risk assessment in addition to sampling at certain private water supplies.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate have produced a number of leaflets and advice documents summarising the regulations.

Private water supplies are now categorised as follows:

Large/commercial supplies:

  • serves 50 or more people or

  • uses more than 10m3 per day of water or

  • is used for commercial purposes or serves a premises to which the public have access

Small supplies:

  • servers two or more properties

  • serves less than 50 people or less than 10m3 per day

  • is not used for any commercial purpose or public premises

Single supplies

  • supply to a single property where there is no commercial or public use

For large supplies and small domestic supplies we are required to carry out a risk assessment on the supply.  This risk assessment looks at the source of the supply and the surrounding area to see if contamination is possible.  It also involves checks of the storage tanks, treatment systems and the pipework to ensure that any action necessary is taken to ensure the water supply is safe to drink.  Risk assessments must be carried out every five years.   

We are also required to carry out sampling at these supplies but the frequency of sampling and the parameters tested are dependent on the outcome of the risk assessment and the size of the supply. 

We are no longer required to undertake sampling for single domestic supplies except at the request of the owner or occupier. If you wish us to sample, there will be a charge. 

The Regulations introduced a charging system for private water supplies and the fees are laid down in the regulations.  The charge will be dependent on the parameters tested and the officer’s time and travelling involved.  We are only able to charge for the costs incurred and no profit may be made.  The maximum charges are detailed below, however these are the maximum and the charges made will be kept as low as possible:


Risk assessment - £500 - Officer time @ £28.00 per hour

Sampling visit -  £100 - Officer time @ £28.00 per hour

Investigation of failure - £100 - Officer time @ £28.00 per hour plus recharge of laboratory costs for analysis of samples

Granting an authorisation - £100 - Officer time @ £28.00 per hour


Audit Sample - £500 - Recharge laboratory costs for analysis of parameters in Schedule 1 part 1 of                                                                              the Private Water Supplies Regulations 2009 as determined by risk assessment for each supply 

Check sample - £100 - Recharge of laboratory costs for analysis of parameters prescribed in Schedule 2 part 1 table 1 of the                                      Private Water Supplies Regulations 2009 (typical cost of analysis of £35)

Small supply/domestic premises - £25 - Recharge of laboratory costs for analysis of parameters prescribed in Regulation 10                                                                   of the Private Water Supplies Regulations 2009 (typical cost of analysis                                                                                     approximately £13.50) 

Detailed technical information and guidance is available at the private water supplies webpages.

Further details about sampling parameters, frequencies and fees are also available from the Drinking Water Inspectorate.

Please contact the Environmental Improvement Service team  if you need further information on any of these topics.

The Regulation of Private Distribution Systems

Where a water company supplies water to a boundary of a premises and the person responsible for the premises supplies it onwards to other buildings or properties on the site which have different occupiers, this becomes a private water supply under the Private Water Supplies Regulations 2009.  Types of premises where this might occur would include campsites where water is distributed to individual units or stand pipes, business parks, industrial estates or a college campus. 

This further distribution of water is known as a Private Distribution System and the regulations introduce responsibilities for the person in charge of the distribution.

We are required to identify private distribution systems in the district and to carry out a risk assessment on the pipes, storage tanks etc which join the buildings. Monitoring will then be undertaken to check that measures are in place to ensure the water is safe.

The risk assessment will determine the frequency of monitoring which will take into account the nature of the distribution system, number and types of premises served, etc.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate are developing guidance on private distribution systems which will be available on their website.

What action can the Council take regarding Private Water Supplies / Distribution Systems .

Restriction Notice: If the supply constitutes a risk to human health we have a new power to serve a ‘Restriction Notice’ on the relevant person(s) to prohibit or restrict the use of the supply. It will be an offence to breach or fail to comply with a Restriction Notice.

Improvement Notice: Where we cannot gain an informal agreement of remedial works and do not grant an ‘Authorisation’ we may serve an ‘Improvement Notice’ on the relevant person(s). We will specify in the Notice what works or measures are necessary to remedy a failure and the compliance period. We have the power to carry out works and recover the costs from the relevant person(s)