Private water supply

The Environmental Health Section are undertaking risk assessments under the Private Water Supply Regulations 2009 "the Regulations" for all private water supplies serving commercial businesses or more than one domestic property. A summary of the Regulations is available from the Drinking Water Inspectorate. This is a five year program with the highest risk supplies being targeted first.

Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004Private water supply

Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs lays down specific rules regarding water supplies utilised by food businesses. Chapter 7, 1(a) in particular states that: 'There is to be an adequate supply of potable water, which is to be used whenever necessary to ensure that foodstuffs are not contaminated'. 'Potable water' means, in this instance, water meeting the minimum requirements laid down in Council Directive 98/83/EC (as amended by Regulation (EC) No. 1882/2003) on the quality of water intended for human consumption.

Failure to assure a consistent safe supply of water could potentially pose a risk to health not only via consumption, but indirectly via contaminated foodstuffs.

Food Safety Management Systems and private water supplies

Any documented food safety management system should include the necessary control measures, monitoring procedures, contingency or emergency plans for the failure of a private water supply.

Any documented hazard analysis critical control point based system should include an assessment of the necessary control measures, monitoring procedures (e.g. daily checks that the treatment is fully functional), contingency plans etc. to ensure a consistent, safe supply of water is provided as part of the food operation.

Water Safety Plan (WSP)

A water safety plan considers the risks to a private water supply, the treatment facilities, the distribution infrastructure including pipes, reservoirs or tanks, and the internal pipe work within premises, and measures to prevent or control contamination from 'catchment to tap'. One of the key elements of a water safety plan is the identification of the hazards and the risks associated with those hazards. This element is described as a 'risk assessment' and is undertaken by the District Council on a five yearly cycle for each private water supply source serving commercial premises or more than one domestic premises. These risk assessments are currently being undertaken on a rolling programme.

We recommend that a Water Safety Plan includes:

  • The risk assessment
  • Details of water treatment and maintenance schedule
  • Daily checks if a food business
  • Sampling results
  • Procedure for notifying Environmental Health of any additional sampling results
  • Emergency procedure in the event of a sampling failure

It is not mandatory to have a Water Safety Plan, it is only recommended. It is likely you will have a similar document within your Food Safety Managementn Plan.

Sampling frequency

The Private Water Supply Regulations 2009 are concerned with the water quality of the supply, not specifically the use of the water in a food business. There are set sampling frequencies under the Regulations for the supply (not for the different outlets / users). A food business on a shared supply will not always be sampled, as sampling can be undertaken at different outlets on the supply. Normally samples will be collected at a variety of different outlets on the supply under the Private Water Supply Regulations 2009. You may be required to have an increased frequency of sampling at your food business.

Water treatment at a food business

Our standard recommendation for microbiological treatment is:

  • A pre-filter (UV will not work well if there is particulate matter in the water)
  • UV treatment
  • Failsafe system (typically a valve that prevents water entering the system if the UV treatment is not on)

A food business should seek professional advice from a Water Consultant regarding the most appropriate chemical and biological treatment for their business.

Further information is available from the government private water supplies website