Richmondshire District Council

What is classed as a private water supply?

These are mainly smaller supplies that rely on water collected from springs, boreholes, wells and other sources that aren't subject to any form of treatment at source.

They can therefore be contaminated by grazing animals, runoff from fields, birds, rodents and from minerals or other substances found in the ground from which the water is collected.

Each supply needs its own unique protection, and often treatment, to ensure it's safe.

All private water supplies, except those serving single domestic properties, must be risk assessed every five years.

The risk assessments work alongside a sampling programme to identify where, if necessary, improvements can be made to the supply and whether there's a risk to the health of consumers. In this case, action can be taken to improve the supply.

Summary of legislation

The current Regulations are the Private Water Supplies (England) Regulations 2016. On 11 July 2018 the Private Water Supplies (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 came into force which made some significant amendments to the 2016 Regulations. Find out more about these regulations.


Under the regulations, we must be satisfied that a new or reinstated drinking water supply doesn't constitute a risk to health before it's brought into use.

To avoid delays, contact our environmental health team as soon as possible, so that an assessment can be made and suitable treatment sourced and fitted if necessary. If we haven't assessed the water supply or believe that it poses a potential risk to human health, notice will be served to restrict the use of the supply. 

The cost of having a private water supply sampled or risk assessed

We can charge for sampling, undertaking risk assessments and for work involved in ensuring compliance with standards. View our charges.

If you have a supply serving a single domestic premises, we don't routinely visit but can undertake sampling at your request, in which case there is a charge.

Public register

We're required to keep records of the supply, any samples taken and related results and any enforcement action taken. This information is sent to the Drinking Water Inspectorate annually and must be kept securely for 30 years. However, this information is not included in a public register.

Further information 

For further information about private water supplies, water sampling costs, methods of water treatment and protection, contact us.

More information is available from the Drinking Water Inspectorate Drinking Water Inspectorate website.

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