A private water supply isn't provided by the statutory water companies. If you're the owner or manager of a private water supply it's your responsibility to ensure it's safe to drink, cook with and wash in. One way to do this is to install and maintain an appropriate water treatment system that's capable of treating your water to a consistently satisfactory quality. By doing this you won't get into trouble with your local authority.
All private water supplies are unique and each one needs to be understood so that the right treatment system can be installed. We've helped many people who have a private water supply, so if you've got any questions please call 01352 838 281 for a chat.
Any water supply that's not provided by a water company is considered to be a private water supply. You'll most likely have a private water supply if you don't receive a water bill from a company.
About 1% of the population of England and Wales have private water supplies to their homes with most situated in more remote, rural parts of the country.
The source of the supply may be a well, borehole, natural spring, stream, river, lake or pond.
A private water supply may serve just one property or several properties through a network of pipes.
In Scotland, approximately 3% of households draw their drinking water from a private source. Many more people come across private water supplies when they stay in holiday accommodation in the more remote parts of Scotland.
If you're the owner or manager of a private water supply, it's up to you to ensure that it's safe to drink or consume foods made from private water so that it doesn't pose a health risk. There are regulations on this: Private Water Supplies Regulations 2016 and in Wales - Private Water Supplies (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2010.
If your water doesn't come from a lake, spring or other surface water supply then it's coming from underground.
This means that the water will have fallen as rain some distance away from where you are drawing it. It will have travelled underground and overground to get to it's source, picking up chemicals and maybe microbiological contamination along the way. You'll have no way of telling how old the water is before it gets to you.
Older water tends to contain fewer micro-organisms since they are filtered out by the rocks or die off. But, older water can contain more chemicals because it's been in contact with the rock structure for longer.
For a surface supply the water may be contaminated with wild or domestic animal faeces.
Never assume that any stream is in mint condition just because it's in a remote area. You have no idea where that water has come from or from how many sources.
Most of the outbreaks diseases that are connected to drinking water from a private water supply occur after heavy rain.
A private water supply could contain viruses, bacteria or protozoa.
The smallest micro-organisms to be found in water are viruses and there are several that can cause problems, for example Norovirus and Hepatitis A. A major source of illness (particularly in young people or the elderly - or those not used to a certain supply for example, visiting house guests) in drinking water comes from bacteria, for example Salmonella, Campylobacter and E.Coli. And finally, protozoa which are small creatures such as amoebae, for example Cryptosporidium.
Some of these can make people feel very ill while others have no effect on health whatsoever.
When water is tested they look for 'indicator organisms' as it would be impossible to test for every known pathogen.
There are three main Indicator Organisms.
All three originate from the guts of mammals, including humans.
There may also be chemical contamination in private water supplies. This is because as rain falls and passes into the soil and rocks it dissolves chemicals from the geological structure. The lower the pH of the water the greater the amount of chemicals that will be dissolved as it's more acidic.
Inorganic chemicals contaminants that can be present in a private water supply include:
Organic contaminants that may be present in a private water supply are:
Physical contaminants in a private water supply could include:
You should have some form of final disinfection treatment if you're drawing your water from a private water supply, unless you are 100% confident that the water is of consistently high quality.
As well as the final disinfection you may need a more comprehensive treatment system. It's important to get a system that's right for your private water supply.
The size of the system you'll need will be determined by a number of factors, but it's normally based on the flow rate from your kitchen tap. If your house has a shower, a dishwasher and a washing machine that can all be used at the same time then you'll need a treatment system that can cope with the increased flow of water.
Private water supply systems can be bought easily online, however; not all private water supplies are the same.
It's important to decide whether you want to install a Point of Use or Point of Entry system.
A Point of Use system treats just one tap in your household - normally the kitchen sink tap. The system would be installed under the kitchen sink. Take a look at our Moby Rio.
A Point of Entry system treats all the water coming into your household. Have a look at our UV water treatment.
Rather than just buying something cheap that might do the job it's well worth while giving us a call on 01352 838 281 to discuss your water supply; where does it come from, how is it collected and are there any holding tanks with outlet pipes that could be postioned better?
If you happen to share your supply with other households then it can often be cheaper and more efficient to install one bigger system that will treat the water for all the households, rather than install separate private water supply treatment systems into each individual household.
We want to ensure that you and your family have access to safe, clean water; no matter where you are in England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland.
For every problem in private water supplies there is a treatment that's right for you, and by talking it through we can help find the best, and probably cheapest treatment option.
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