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Water testing


Private water supplies

A private water supply is a supply that's not provided by a water company and is not a mains supply. No water rates are paid for these supplies (although the owner of the supply may make a charge).

About 1% of the population use water from private supplies, and they are usually located in more remote parts of the country - the water could come from a spring, a well, a borehole, a pond or a stream.

We are responsible for regulating private water supplies and checking they are safe for drinking, cooking and washing in domestic and commercial premises: 

  • for more than one house 
  • for commercial purposes in premises including, food businesses, bed and breakfasts, dairy farms, rentals, a workplace (where you employ other people) 
  • in a public building

Please contact our Environmental Health team for more information about these services.

Detailed technical information and guidance is available on the national private water supplies website.


If the house you and your family live in is the only property supplied by a water source, and only your family drink the water, we can take a sample but there is a charge for this service.

If you are a tenant on a private water supply, you can also ask us to investigate your supply if you think there could be a problem.

Other properties

For large and small domestic supplies, we will carry out a risk assessment. This will consider the source of the supply and the surrounding area to see if contamination is possible.

It will also consider any water storage tanks, treatment systems or relevant pipe work to ensure that the water supply is safe to drink.

Risk assessments must be carried out every five years. We carry out sampling and the frequency and parameters can change depending on the risk assessment and size of the supply.

Large or 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

  • serves 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 


Charges are set by environmental regulations and are dependent on what we need to test, time and travel needed. We are only  charge for the costs incurred and don't make a profit.

The maximum charges are detailed below, however these are the maximum and the charges made will be kept as low as possible.


Maximum fee

Charging scheme

Risk assessment (each assessment)


£35 per officer hour spent to a maximum of £500

Sampling (each visit)


£35 per officer hour spent to a maximum of £100

Other investigations (each investigation)


£35 per officer hour spent to a maximum of £100

Grant of authorisation (each authorisation)



Analysis: Small supply/domestic premises


Actual charge levied by laboratory, to prescribed maximum

Analysis: Check sample


Actual charge levied by laboratory, to prescribed maximum

Analysis: Audit sample


Actual charge levied by laboratory, to prescribed maximum


If a sample fails to meet the standards laid out in the Private Water Supply Regulations 2009, we need to investigate to find out why it failed. We will service a notice restricting the use of the water supply.

If it can't be made safe by implementing changes to the supply network, the water will need treatment before use. There are a wide range of treatment options is available.

Failure to comply with a notice may result in prosecution in a Magistrates Court.

Last updated 17 May 2023