PRIVATE WATER
SUPPLIES IN
SCOTLAND

What is a Private Water Supply?

In Scotland, private water supplies are defined as those that are not provided by Scottish Water.

Many remote parts of Scotland, such as the Highlands and Islands, rely on private water supplies for their drinking water. Around 3% of the Scottish population use a private water supply, which means that 163,500 people must test their water system every year.

Private water supplies are either commercial or domestic and there’s different rules for each.

If carefully managed, a high standard of drinking water can be maintained from a private supply. However, there are serious health risks if water treatment is neglected. E-coli, Legionella and other harmful bacteria can easily breed in dirty water tanks if you’re not careful.

If you’re a landlord or manage holiday lets on a private water supply, it’s essential to regularly test your water and follow up to date Scottish Government guidelines.

2022 Regulations For Private Water Supplies

The Scottish Government and the Drinking Water Inspectorate introduced new regulations for managing private water supplies that:

  • supply 50 or more people, or more than 10m3 of water a day
  • form part of a commercial or public activity
  • is used in a commercial or public activity (for example at village halls, in restaurants and hotels, or on campsites)

Under these regulations, privately rented properties are considered commercial premises. That means landlords and Airbnb hosts are bound by law to test and treat their water supply.

Landlords and Airbnb hosts must register their private water supply with their local council’s environmental health department and must let tenants know they’re using a private water supply.

If requested, your local council must report information about water quality to: 

Find out more about your rights and responsibilities as a landlord with a private water supply here.

Who Is Responsible For A Private Water Supply?

If you’re a landlord or own commercial properties or private dwellings (such as a B&B, holiday let or Airbnb) that feed on private water supplies, you have a legal responsibility to test the water.

Testing, sometimes referred to as sampling, is an important part of maintaining a safe supply of water.

Testing your water supply will help detect if harmful bacteria or chemicals are present in your water.

Large or commercial private water supplies must be tested at least annually. Your local council can check whether your water is complaint with current legislation.

If you own a domestic private water supply, you are responsible to ensure your own drinking water is safe for consumption in order to prevent you and your family from illness. It is important therefore, that you know the correct preventative measures to ensure no one get sick.

What are my responsibilities with my commercial food preparation or hospitality premises?

If you own a commercial premises on a private water supply that is preparing food for the public, you must ensure your water is deemed safe for drinking and meets all legal regulations. Food preparation requires clean, legionella free water to ensure any consumables given to the public are safe from disease. Your local authority will have direct guidance as to what you must do when preparing food to meet legal regulations.

Unclean water poses potential contamination threats to food items you prepare, from cleaning your equipment to using it as an ingredient. Not to mention the effect it could also have on your staff who may then become sick an unable to work. It is important that your private water supply is risk assessed and proven free from contaminants before using it in food preparation.

Do I Need A Private Water Supply Risk Assessment For My Home?

Water testing isn’t compulsory for domestic properties in Scotland. However, you should be aware of the serious threat untested water poses to human health. Microbiological, chemical or hydrocarbon contaminants if ingested can’t be seen by the naked eye but they will put you at risk of dangerous diseases. A risk assessment for Legionella and other harmful bugs will put your mind at ease and outline any fixes needed.

If you are selling your property, you will need to prove that the water supply is safe to use before the property can switch to the new owner. Consideration should be given to ensure the system is sampled and any remedial work is completed before putting the house on the market to avoid financial burden and delays.

Private Water Supply Risk Assessment and Guidance

A risk assessment is the best way to check the condition of your private water supply.

A private water risk assessment typically involves:

  • assessing your supply’s source, and the surrounding area, to identify potential sources of contamination
  • checking your storage tanks, any treatment systems and pipework
  • testing the quality of your water
  • taking appropriate action from the risk assessment to protect and improve our water quality

Private Water Rights and Responsibilities For Landlords

People who own or run a business that is served by a private water supply have a legal duty to ensure staff, visitors, tenants and guests have access to safe water.

Risk assessment guidance:

  • Your private water supply must be assessed by your local council at least every 5 years, and kept up to date thereafter
  • You must have your water sampled annually by your local council to check that it complies with current legislation
  • Sometimes tests will be required more than once per year depending on the amount of people using the water supply
  • Landlords may pay for these tests or pass them onto their tenants as part of a private water use agreement
  • Your local council can help you with a Drinking Water Safety Plan (DWSP) to make sure your water supply stays hygienic and tasty to drink

Do domestic properties need to test their private water supply?

A risk assessment isn’t necessary if your private water supply is for a domestic property, although you do have a duty of care towards those in your household who use the water supply.

How to conduct a Private Water Supply Risk Assessment

PHX Water can help you carry out your Private Water Supply Risk Assessments.

A risk assessment involves checking the source of your water supply and the surrounding area to identify possible risks, such as points of contamination. A risk assessment should also check the raw water quality, borehole chamber, pipework and water system equipment.

Things to consider during a risk assessment:

  • Could certain conditions effect the quality of the water at its source? It’s important to consider whether grazing animals, pesticides or septic tank waste could contaminate your water
  • Could your water supply be affected by materials used in the supply? Materials can wear down over time and contaminate your water.
  • How effective are your current treatment processes? UV filters must be cleaned regularly to be effective.
  • Is your water system maintained regularly?

 

Identifying any risks from the list above will help you to mitigate any hazards to your drinking water.

PHX Private Water Supply Maintenance

Clean water and peace of mind, always.

PHX Water are experts in handling your
Private Water Supply

PHX Water provides private water supply testing throughout Scotland. We provide Legionella Risk Assessment, Water Tank Cleaning & Disinfection, water testing and private water supply installation.

Our private water supply testing system ensures that the amount of bugs, chemicals, and metals in your water stays below a certain level. This means that your building will comply with Scottish water maintenance laws. It is important to note that a water supply sample can only provide a snapshot of the moment it was taken.

If you have a large, industrial, or commercial private water supply in Scotland you must have it tested once a year.

Here are some of the other services we cover:

  • New private water supply installations, servicing, and upgrades
  • Water tank, pump, filter, and disinfection equipment installation
  • UV sterilisers and chlorine dosing installation
  • Water tank cleaning services to remove sediment and other fouling
  • On-site testing of pH, chlorine, temperature, conductivity, and dissolved soils

Our Private Water Supply Risk Assessment Process

No more sleepless nights worrying about your private water supply. Our expert team are here for you, even in an emergency.

Complete our contact form or call 01738 472149 to receive a quotation

Booking

One of our friendly team will confirm a date and estimated time of arrival for your appointment.

Your Appointment

An engineer will be with you on your scheduled date, with a curtesy call to confirm they’re on route.

Risk Assessment

An engineer will risk assess your water system as outlined above.

Report & Support

You’ll be provided an easy to understand report and digital logbook to manage your ongoing water treatment needs.

Private Water Supply FAQs

If you’re a landlord or own commercial properties that feed on private water supplies, you have a legal responsibility to test the water. A risk assessment isn’t necessary if your private water supply is for a domestic property, although you do have a duty of care towards those in your household who use the water supply.

Any property not served by Scottish Water will be on a private water supply. This means water comes to your property from a borehole, spring, well, burn or loch.

Many remote parts of Scotland, such as the Highlands and Islands, rely on private water supplies for their drinking water. Roughly 3% of Scots’ water comes from a spring or borehole instead of being provided by Scottish Water. It’s the responsibility of property owners to regularly test their water supply to ensure it’s safe to drink.

In Scotland, private water supplies are defined as those that are not provided by Scottish Water. Private water supplies are either commercial or domestic and there’s different rules for each.

If carefully managed, a high standard of drinking water can be maintained from a private supply. However, there are serious health risks if water treatment is neglected. E-coli, Legionella and other harmful bacteria can easily breed in dirty water tanks if you’re not careful.

The ‘Water Intended for Human Consumption (Private Supplies) (Scotland) Regulations 2017’ came into effect in 2017. These new regulations require private water supplies to be risk assessed once every 5 years and sampled annually. Your local council can carry out a risk assessment and will charge you for this service.

Small domestic water supplies, where all the properties are owner occupied, are exempt from these new regulations.

On a private water supply you might run low or run out of water completely. Scottish Water can provide you with water in such emergencies and you’ll have to arrange this with your local council. If you think something is wrong with your current supply don’t drink the water. Use bottled water and wait until a professional has identified the source of the problem.

Areas We Cover

Legionella Risk Assessment

PHX Water are one of Scotland’s leading Legionella Risk Assessment providers. 

Water Tank Cleaning

PHX Water provide water tank cleaning and disinfection services to businesses in Scotland.

Contact Us

Get In Touch With Us

Our opening hours are 9am-5pm. 

Please call us on 01738 472149 or complete the form below. Should your enquiry be urgent, please call our emergency number 07503 343328.