Safe private water supplies

Last Updated: 25 August 2021

A private water supply is any water supply that isn’t provided by a water company, like United Utilities.

Private water supplies can be more dangerous than mains water supplies because they can be susceptible to contamination. If your water is contaminated you could be at risk of severe illness or even death.

You may have been drinking from your supply for many years and think that it is safe, but you can't be sure just based on the look, smell and taste of you water.

Your water may contain organisms or substances that could be a threat to health, particularly for more vulnerable people like children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems. Contact your GP if you are worried about anyone's health after drinking from a private water supply.

Reduce the risk of contamination

Your private water supply should be checked by a professional regularly to ensure that you have adequate:

Protecting your supply from animals and unwanted materials along with installation and maintenance of appropriate treatment equipment are ways that you can reduce the risk of your water supply becoming contaminated.

Testing and risk assessments

Your private water supply needs to be tested regularly and risk assessed to make sure that it is safe:

  • testing of your private water supply is done at different times depending on the number of people served by the supply and if the water from the supply is used as part of a commercial activity, food business or public building
  • risk assessments of private water supplies are needed at least every five years for all supplies except those serving single domestic dwellings. A risk assessment for single domestic dwellings is performed on request

Testing and risk assessing your supply will inform you and us of the quality of water that you are likely consuming and will inform you of any improvements you need to make so that the water supplied is safe to drink.