Private Water Supplies
A private water supply is any water supply which is not provided by a water company (mains drinking water). They are mainly located in the more rural parts of the County Borough. Their source can be a borehole, a well, a spring, stream or river, a lake or pond. A single supply point may serve just one or several properties.
Different types of Private Water Supplies
Underground Sources (Boreholes, Springs, Wells)
These types of private water supplies draw their water from deep underground and are less likely to be contaminated with micro-organisms, though they may contain minerals and other chemicals. They are, however, susceptible to contamination at the surface extraction point where surface water may gather at or flow into the supply. Shallow wells may also be susceptible to contamination carried by surface water or activities on the land such as fertiliser spreading.
Surface sources (Rivers, Streams, Lakes)
These types of private water supply can be contaminated by micro-organisms especially during periods of rainfall. Where rainwater can run across the ground collecting contamination from various sources (e.g. from the soil, animal droppings) which can then deposited into the water source. Surface sources may also "dry up" during prolonged periods without rain.
The drinking water from a mains supply goes through several intensive purifying processes at the treatment plant prior to reaching the consumers tap. This is often not possible with private water supplies, but there are several techniques that can be used to ensure a wholesome supply, such as filtration, Ultra-Violet (UV) sterilisation, etc.
Private water supplies can be contaminated with a range of both chemical and / or bacteriological parameters. Many of which are harmless but some can cause serious illness or reduce the effectiveness of any treatment processes. It may not be possible to tell if your water is contaminated by taste, looking at or smelling it.
Good water quality is essential to good health. Below is a list of some simple techniques to ensure your water’s wholesomeness:
- Find out who is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the supply, especially in terms of any treatment equipment.
- Where is the water taken from and is anything necessary to protect this source?
- How does it get into your property, do the pipes need maintaining?
- Is the water treated? Is the equipment in good working order and regularly maintained?
All parts of the supply should be regularly inspected, including the catchments’ area. They should be checked to see that it has not been damaged, or for the presence of anything which may affect the water quality. Any problems should be rectified as soon as possible and if necessary, boil the water or use bottled water until the supply has been returned to usual.
Advice with regards to specific types of water catchments
Supplies from Surface Water (Streams, Rivers, Ponds, etc)
These are regarded as the more risky types of Private Water Supply, especially when located nearby livestock, as they can be affected by land based contaminants (e.g. from farming activity) being washed into the supply when it rains. If possible, rainwater runoff should be diverted away from the catchments’ area and it may also be advisable to build a fence around the supply to prevent animals from gaining access. A water treatment company will be able to advise on the best type of treatment depending on the land use around, or up river of the catchments’ area.
Supplies from underground sources (Wells, Boreholes, Springs, etc)
Are considered the safer option to get a private water supply. The catchments’ area should also be checked to prevent surface water from getting into your supply. A water treatment company will be able to advise on the best means of treatment, though they may require a water test to determine if any minerals are present.
If you supply water as part of business
You have a duty of care if you run a business that uses a private water supply. There is a requirement to have your supply assessed annually and you should contact us to discuss this. If you think your water may be unfit for consumption, you should arrange for testing as soon as possible and in the meantime advise your customers to boil their water prior to consumption or advise them to use bottled water.
If you are on a shared supply with other properties
Shared water supplies also require evaluating on a 5 yearly basis and you should contact us to discuss this. For shared supplies it is advisable that a clear written agreement exists between all users and should cover, at a minimum, the following points:
- Is one person or everybody equally responsible for the supply?
- Right of access to the water supply for all users.
- How will repairs be paid for?
- Are there any running costs? How is this paid for?
- Nominated contact for the supply.
- A contingency plan in case the water is unavailable or unfit for consumption.
Checking Water Wholesomeness
Wrexham County Borough Council is able to check the quality of your Private Water Supply and you should contact us to discuss your requirements. We will also be able to advise you on testing frequency and any charges that may apply. Furthermore we will advise you on what the results of the test on your water supply mean and what treatment types are available.
Should I Get My Supply Treated?
If you believe your water supply to be contaminated or that it may become contaminated, you can and should have water treatment installed. If you share your supply with other properties it is possible to have the treatment at the catchments’ area rather than in each house. There are a wide range of treatment options to fit your particular circumstances, which any treatment equipment supplier will be able to discuss with you, though they may require a test on the supply in order to provide accurate advice.
If you believe your water supply is contaminated with micro-organisms, you should boil your water prior to consumption, until suitable treatment is installed.
You should also be aware that if you have lived at your property for many years you may have developed a level of immunity to some of the bacteriological contaminates in your supply and believe that treatment is unnecessary. This immunity may not be present in any visitors you may have, especially very young children.
Connecting to mains water
If you decide that you no longer wish to use your private water supply, you can contact your local water company about connecting to the mains supply. You may have to pay all the costs in doing so and you should discuss this with the water company.
Wrexham is served by the water companies below:
- Hafren Dyfrdwy/Severn Trent Water – 0800 085 8033 (external link)
- United Utilities – 0345 075 0713 (external link)
Types of Contamination
Micro-organisms (also known as bacteriological)
Anyone who consumes water contaminated with micro-organisms is at risk of infection which can result in a number of serious illnesses. The risk is especially high for people who are not use to your water. It is possible that if your pets drink the water they may become infected and for the resultant infection to be transmitted from animals to humans.
The usual treatment techniques for micro-organisms are filtration for the larger contaminates followed by Ultra-Violet treatment to sterilise the water. In order to maintain its effectiveness, both of these would require regular maintenance.
There are a range of chemicals and metals that can be found in private water supplies which can be the result of various circumstances:
- Chemicals used in farming or other land management areas, e.g. pesticides.
- Chemicals (mainly minerals) occurring naturally in the ground, e.g. iron. These may affect the appearance and / or tastes of the water. These contaminates can reduce the effectiveness of treatment equipment.
- Chemicals used in industrial or commercial processes, e.g. solvents.
A range of treatment equipment is available to deal with your particular circumstances and a water treatment company will be able to advise you on the best type of treatment.
If you are not sure, or concerned whether your water is affected by either micro-organisms or chemicals please contact us to discuss the issue or arrange a test.
One metal that may be present in your water is lead, most likely from the houses plumbing. This can be either as a result of older lead pipes or holding tanks in your house or lead solder used on copper pipes. There are treatment methods available to deal with lead but it is best to replace any lead plumbing in the house. Water that has been left to stand in lead pipes for long periods (for example overnight), should not run out for approximately one minute before consuming the water. If you require any further advice or would like your water testing for lead please contact us.
Further questions or advice
If you have any questions or want any advice about your private water supply, please contact us.
Other sources of information concerning Private Water Supplies
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