In general terms, a private water supply is any water supply which is not provided by a water company, such as Dwr Cymru/ Welsh Water. It is not a 'mains' supply and is therefore private.
No water rates are paid for these supplies although the person who owns a supply may make a charge. A private water supply typically originates from one of the following sources:
- Lakes or ponds etc.
As such, private water supplies are generally found in the more rural areas of caerphilly borough. It is estimated that around 1% of the population of England and Wales has private water supplies to their homes (Drinking Water Inspectorate, 2010).
According to the most recent public register update there are currently 89 private water supplies in Caerphilly county borough.
A private water supply could serve just one dwelling, be shared amongst several properties or it could be a large or commercial supply with a network of pipes supplying water to many properties. It also includes a supply provided for the purpose of bottling water.
Where water is bottled for sale the Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (Wales) Regulations 2007 apply. For further advice or to arrange to have your water tested please call Public Protection on 01495 235209 or email Public Protection.
How do the new regulations affect me?
With the implementation of the Private Water Supply (Wales) Regulations 2010, Welsh local authorities now have a legal duty to carry out a risk assessment on large and small supplies and will be undertaking a new sampling regime (check and audit monitoring as defined in the regulations).
A large supply is classed as any commercial premise and/or a domestic supply serving more than 50 people. Small supplies, are purely domestic and serve more than a single household, but less than 50 people.
If you are on a private water supply and fall into the category of a large or small supply, the owner/person responsible for the supply should have received a letter informing of such changes (but only if the supply is currently registered with us).
If you are not aware of any changes, or on a private water supply that is not registered with us, please call Public Protection on 01495 235209 or email Public Protection.
You have a legal obligation to register your supply details with the Caerphilly County Borough Council.
The regulations now state that it is not mandatory to test single domestic supplies serving only one household. However, this does not mean that if you are a single household we won't test your supply. If you wish for your supply to be tested please call 01443 226622 to arrange a visit. Householders will be charged for this service plus analysis costs, but it will be kept completely at cost and would not exceed the maximum fees that the local authority can charge.
Further information and guidance on the new regulations are available from the Technical Manual (legislative background).
Private water supplies advice and testing
I am concerned about the quality of my supply. Can you help?
We can recommend ways to prevent pollution of your water supply and improve its quality. Please call Public Protection on 01495 235209 or email Public Protection to raise any concerns.
Can you test my water for me?
Yes but there is a charge for this service. If you are concerned about the quality of water supplied to your property from a private water supply, you can ask us to test a sample of the water. Please call Public Protection on 01495 235209 or email Public Protection to discuss your requirements.
What happens if you find a problem?
We will tell you if there is a problem with the quality of your supply and we will also advise you of the variety of treatment methods available to deal with most circumstances. You will however be responsible for choosing which option, arranging and paying for the treatment.
If you have a private distribution of supply to a commercial premises and you choose not to pay for the treatment we advise, there are other options open to us in the regulations, including the serving of notices.
What sort of treatment may be required to improve my supply?
Treatment may include:
- fencing off a spring chamber to stop animals entering and contaminating the area;
- creating an exclusion zone for the spreading of fertilizers around the spring or well;
- the improvement of drainage around to supply; or the replacement of pipework.
Sometimes it may be necessary to install a filter to remove or lower the level of a particular substance such as:
- Ultra-Violet filters to remove bacteria (E. Coli)
- Reverse osmosis filters to remove aluminium or nitrate
- Iron and manganese filters
- Cation exchange filters to remove lead
Common problems with private water supplies
Private water supplies are often polluted with bacteria known as coliforms. If these bacteria are found in your water it means that the supply is being polluted somewhere between the source and your tap. This can be caused by animal waste or sewage which comes into contact with the water.
The land that the source of your supply is on can cause the water to pick up naturally occurring metals. For example, acidic water coming from peat moorland can pick up aluminium and manganese. Acidic water can also corrode copper and lead pipes.
Water could be polluted by normal agricultural practices such as spreading farm sludge, or by fertilizers running off the land or by percolating through the soil into the water. Septic tanks, manure heaps and drains can all cause pollution as well as animals gaining access to the supply.
Get in touch with us
Please contact the council if:
- You need further advice about private water supplies
- You would like to arrange to have your water tested
- You have any queries or concerns about your supply
Call Public Protection on 01495 235209 or email Public Protection.
Remember that a water test can only tell you about the quality of your water at that point in time. The quality of your water may change at different times of the year, generally weather dependent. If you are a large or small supply, we will also be carrying out a risk assessment. Risk assessments enable us to identify any potential impacts on the supply and how they can be addressed.
If you have a private supply and have not had it sampled, we would be grateful if you could contact our contact centre on 01443 226622 and we will arrange for a sample to be taken.