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How Safe is Your Private Drinking Water Supply? (Not Mains)

Private Water Supplies; Looking at Ground Water and Wells

When rain falls, much of it is absorbed into the ground. Water that is not used by plants moves downward through pores and spaces in the rock until it reaches a dense layer of rock. This trapped water, below the ground, is used as a private water supply, and this is the water we get when we drill wells.

Diagram explaining what ground water is and how it is created

A text description of this diagram is available.

All private wells use this water. If polluted ground and surface water is consumed, it could cause illness such as E Coli disease and other gastrointestinal and stomach illnesses such as campylobacter, salmonella, cryptosporidium and Guardia. Polluted ground water can also cause chemical poisoning such as lead and nitrates from fertilisers or septic tanks.

Ground and surface water pollution can be caused by seepage through landfills, failed septic tanks, underground fuel tanks, fertilizers and pesticides, and runoff from urban areas.

It is important that private water supplies are checked annually to ensure that the water is safe for drinking.

Which properties should be tested annually?

  • Properties that produce food and drink to the public
  • Properties, which are rented, even for part of the year e.g. TT or Air B&B
  • Typically, private water systems that serve more than one household

There will be a charge for testing commercial premises.

Single household with private water supplies can request to have their water tested, free of charge, by contacting the laboratory direct.

Contact the Government Laboratory on +44 1624 642250 or Email to arrange your private drinking water testing.

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