Drinking water supplies
Information on mains water supplies in the district and the regulations relating to Private Water Supplies (PWS) including the responsibilities of owners and operators of PWS as well as our role as the regulator.
Mains drinking water is supplied by 2 water companies
Private water supplies
A private water supply is a source of water that is not provided by a water utilities company or licensed water undertaker such as Thames Water and Affinity Water. There is a variety of private water supplies including:
- Onward distribution of mains water
The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) provide independent reassurance that public and private water supplies in England & Wales are safe and drinking water quality is acceptable to consumers. It acts as technical advisors to local authorities in relation to the implementation of the Private Water Supplies Regulations.
Epping Forest District Council is responsible for implementing the regulations and carrying out risk assessments to identify actual and potential hazards that may affect the health of those drinking the water.
Where the supply is found to be unsafe, we ensure that the necessary improvements are made by the owners or people who control the supply.
Our responsibilities as regulator
- We maintain a register of all the districts PWS and report to the DWI annually
- We ensure the legislation is enforced to protect human health
- We risk assess PWS where they serve a business or more than a single home
- We will serve a Notice if sampling shows an excedance of certain parameters
- We will serve a Notice if there is considered to be an actual or potential risk to human health
- We will undertake an investigation where it suspects, or has evidence that a supply is unwholesome by virtue of a breach of a standard and take necessary steps to remedy it
- If the supply is found to be sub-standard we endeavour to work with site and supply owners and help in every way we can to make it safe again
We use a template provided by the DWI for the risk assessment. It covers a range of questions for a PWS and has the assessor score various aspects based on their suitability and sufficiency to maintain a wholesome water supply. Where information is not available for certain criteria then the default position must be to consider there to be high risk.
We must carry out risk assessments on large or commercial supplies every 5 years.
We undertake water sampling at specific intervals, as part of an investigation, due to changes to a supply or at the request of residents.
If a water supply shows no failures in testing but there is a potential risk of the water failing on another day then the supply would still be considered high risk by the risk assessment and in need of improvement.
A water supply can still be judged to be high risk despite having no bacteria or chemical failures because sampling is only a ‘snap-shot’ of a supply on a single day. The quality of water can vary depending on many factors such as the time of year or ambient temperature.
Enforcement and serving notices
As the Regulator we can and in some cases must serve Notices as per the Regulations. We can offer advice and support in order for relevant persons to comply with Notices. However, we do not have to specify the works that are required in order to comply with the Notices.
Register or report a private water supply
If you would like to register your private water supply or have an issue with a private water supply within the district please use our reporting tool below and a member of the Engineering, Drainage and Water Team will contact you.