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Private water supplies

A private water supply is any water supply that is not provided by a water utility company, such as Wessex Water. It may come from:

  • A private distribution system (mains water privately distributed by a third party who is not a water company)
  • Boreholes
  • Lakes or ponds
  • Rivers or streams
  • Springs
  • Wells

The private supply may serve one property or several properties through a piped network.

  1. Why do I need a private water supply test?

    We have a duty to monitor private water supplies to ensure they are safe to drink. For this reason, you should inform us if you create a new private water supply.

    We carry out a risk assessment on a private water supply every 5 years. This assessment covers all aspects of the water supply, from its source through the distribution system, to the final point where the water is used.

    Water sampling and analysis will uncover any potential areas of concern and help to make sure that the supply is safe.

  2. What happens if my private water supply is unsafe?

    If we find that your water supply does not meet the required standard, we will investigate.

    We may then require improvements to be made improvements may include:

    • Putting fencing around the source of the supply or collection tanks to protect them from grazing livestock and other animals that may cause contamination
    • Digging drainage ditches around the source or collection tanks to prevent ground water run-off entering the supply
    • Repairing collection chambers and installing tight fitting lids to ensure a good seal to protect the supply from vermin or surface water
    • Clearing the site of overgrown vegetation
    • Repairing old leaking pipes and taps
    • Replacing lead pipe
    • Installing appropriate water treatment to ensure satisfactory chemical and microbiological quality

    This may require us to serve a formal notice.

    You may need to install a filter to remove or lower the level of a substance, including:

    • Ultraviolet (UV) filters to remove bacteria (E. coli)
    • Reverse osmosis filters to remove aluminium or nitrate
    • Iron and manganese filters
    • Cation exchange filters to remove lead

    Failure to comply with any notice served may lead to prosecution at the Magistrates’ Court.

    Visit this website for more information on regulations and advice on how to keep your water supply safe.

  3. How much is a private water supply test?

    Regulations allow us to recover our costs of carrying out risk assessments, sampling and analysis. The regulations set maximum amounts which are listed in the table below.

    Water activities and prices


    Maximum charge permitted

    SSDC charging scheme


    Risk Assessment


    £75.50 + £37.75 per hour spent on site

    Water samples taken as part of the risk assessment will be charged at the additional analysis cost.



    £89.25 + analysis costs (see below)


    Charge for a visit to take a sample.



    £36.00 per hour spent on investigation + analysis costs (see below)

    Carried out in the event of a sample failure. Water sample analysis cost will also be charged at the additional analysis cost. 




    Application by the owner of a supply for permission to breach a standard temporarily whilst remedial work is carried out.



    Regulation 10

    (Small domestic supplies)


    Actual lab costs up to the maximum

    Where a supply provides <10m3/day or <50 people and is used for domestic purposes

    Check monitoring (Commercial supplies)


    Actual lab costs up to the maximum

    Check monitoring is carried out to ensure that water complies with the standards. Where possible this will be carried out at the same time as any requirement for Audit monitoring to keep costs down.

    Audit monitoring (Commercial supplies)


    Actual lab costs up to the maximum

    Audit parameters are additional samples taken only if the supply is at risk of failing them, or if there is no historic data available.  

  4. Who pays for the private water supply test?

    The costs of sampling and risk assessing will be payable by the supply owner, the supply users, or any person who requests the sampling or risk assessment to be carried out.

    Where more than one person is liable, the costs will be apportioned equally.

    We will only charge enough to cover the costs of carrying out our duties, up to the maximum amounts shown above.

  5. How do I book a private water supply test?

    Contact us to book a private water supply test.

Thank you. You response is appreciated.

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