Renfrewshire Council

Where your private water supply is drying up or has completely dried up due to a lack of rainfall, the Council is able to deliver bottled water to your property. At this time, deliveries will be made to your property for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene purposes within domestic property only. If your supply is affected please contact this service on the email or telephone number which is attached to this page and someone will contact you to discuss your situation and requirements.

Private water supplies

The majority of properties within Renfrewshire are provided with 'mains' drinking water, by Scottish Water who treats the water to ensure it is of good quality.

However, a small number of properties use a private water supply for drinking purposes.

A private water supply may come from a loch, burn, spring, well, river, pond, borehole or a combination of these.

Private water supplies are, by their nature, very vulnerable to contamination that may cause waterborne infections or other ill effects. Contamination can be bacteriological in nature, from faecal matter such as human sewage or animal droppings, or may arise from chemical sources, such as fertilizer run-off from fields or deterioration of distribution pipe work.

There are two types of supplies that are categorised based on the Regulations that govern them. Both must meet wholesomeness standards.

  • 2017 - Regulated Supplies - Supplies serving 50 or more persons in total, or supplies to commercial or public activities irrespective of size, (these are regulated by the Water Intended for Human Consumption (Private Supplies) (Scotland) 2017), or
  • 2006 - Type B Supplies - Supplies serving only domestic premises with less than 50 persons in total supplied (these are regulated by the Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006). 

2017 Regulated Supplies fall within the provisions of the E.C. Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC) which require each supply to be sampled and analysed for a wide range of parameters at least once a year. These supplies serve premises of a commercial or public nature and include self-catering premises, hotels, schools, food businesses, factories, sports centres, B&Bs, short-term let accommodation, campsites, village halls and domestic let property (including private landlords and social landlords such as Housing Associations).  Commercial premises are also required to display an information notice. This can be obtained from us through the contact details at the bottom of this page. Guidance for those providing self-catering accommodation with a Private Water Supply is also available.

We routinely monitor Regulated Supplies as part of our statutory duties via a sampling programme. In addition, these supplies are required to have a Risk Assessment carried out by the Local Authority at least once every 5 years and more frequently if changes occur. This risk assessment provides information to owners and users regarding any actions to be taken to improve the supply and reduce and risks to human health that may arise from its use. Information is made available in the form of a Public Register of Private Supplies.

2006 Type B supplies are required to comply with a limited range of parameters that are defined in the regulations and do not form part of our statutory sampling or risk assessment programme. We will carry out sampling or risk assessments on request and there is usually a charge for this service.  

Risk Assessments for Private Water Supplies

If you have a Regulated Supply this will have already been risk assessed, if however, you do not think this is the case, please contact us to arrange a visit. 

If you are on a Type B supply then you will need to contact us to arrange a visit to undertake a risk assessment. This will attract a small charge however, should you subsequently apply for a grant to carry out works to improve the supply, the cost of the visit will be free.

During the risk assessment visit, a member of our staff along with you or other relevant and/or interested persons will look at the whole supply from its source to the taps. The visit is likely to take 1 - 4 hours, depending on the complexity of the supply. The process is designed to include all types and sizes of supply, it highlights possible contamination routes and increases awareness of the potential risks and the importance of ongoing maintenance amongst users. The benefits include an impartial investigation of the whole supply and sound advice regarding suitable treatment. A feedback letter and report will detail improvements, if required. This letter will provide the basis for you obtaining quotes from suitable tradesmen to carry out work in your private water supply grant and also give you valuable information on looking after your supply.
You can find more information regarding private water supplies at Private Water Supplies web site.

Sampling of Private Water Supplies

Regulated Supplies: These are routinely sampled as part of our statutory sampling programme and all Regulated Supplies require to be sampled on an annual basis.  If you are responsible for a Regulated Supply, you will be contacted in advance to arrange a suitable time for the supply to be sampled. All results of the sampling will be provided to you.

Type B supplies: There is no duty on the Council to routinely sample such supplies but we are required to ensure that Type B supplies are, and remain, safe to drink and the Council will sample Type B supplies on request. 

Where there are water quality failures within samples of either a Regulated or Type B supply, we will require that improvement works are undertaken to ensure the water is safe to drink. This may include taking appropriate enforcement action to require persons responsible for the supply to ensure improvement works are completed. Such action would be proportionate to the risks posed and in line with our Integrated Enforcement Policy.

Grant Assistance for Improving Private Supplies

Grants of up to £800 are available from the Council to help you improve your private water supply irrespective of it being a Regulated or Type B supply. This may include the installation of treatment equipment, or for the provision of a new private water supply or domestic distribution system (within the meaning of the 2006 Regulations) but does not include connection of your property to a mains water supply.

The Grant Scheme is non-means tested and you may be eligible for financial assistance if:

  • Your home or business is in the Renfrewshire area and served by a private water supply;
  • The private water supply is the main or sole source of water for human consumption purposes to these premises; and
  • Your private water supply is in need of improvement to bring it up to modern standards.

If you share your supply with a number of neighbouring premises, you may wish to consider making a joint application. A joint application can be submitted in respect of all the premises served by the supply, by you and the other owners or occupiers acting together. In the majority of cases, a joint approach is likely to provide the most effective long-term solution to improve your water quality.

The cost of improving a private supply can vary and there will be instances where the supply requires work that exceeds the £800 grant. In such cases, it will be your responsibility to meet the additional costs. We can provide information and advice about the Grant Scheme and help you complete the application form.

You should not start any of the improvement works before your application is approved and we have agreed that the expenditure is necessary. A risk assessment of your supply will be carried out by an Officer to establish the  improvements required to comply with the relevant regulations. There will be a charge for this, but if you are on a type B supply, this will be carried out as part of the grant scheme for free.

There are some exceptions to Grant approval, the most common being:

  • New builds.
  • Houses under Closing Orders, Demolition Orders or a Dangerous Building Notice.
  • Empty or unoccupied premises,
  • Connection to the mains

Further details of these restrictions and others can be supplied upon request.

If you are on a type B supply and you receive a grant, there are no ongoing obligations for sampling or other commitments to the Council.

For initial enquiries regarding the Grant, or any of the information above, please contact us.

Private Water Supplies Charging

The information below, details the maximum charges which will be applied for water sampling, analysis and risk assessments. The exact costs may vary, depending on the nature of the analysis.

  1. Regulated and Type B Supplies- £70 for each visit made to a property to sample a supply or to undertake a risk assessment
  2. Regulated Supplies-  £75 per analysis of check monitoring parameters
  3. Regulated Supplies- a maximum charge of £435 per analysis of the full suite of audit monitoring parameters (will vary according to actual analysis costs).
  4. Type B supplies- £48 per analysis of domestic parameters
  5. For Regulated Supplies the completion of an initial risk assessment in accordance with regulation 16 and Schedule 4 a maximum charge of £50;
  6. Expenses reasonably incurred in undertaking additional monitoring and sampling of a private supply in accordance with the provisions of regulation 25 or 30 (this relates to sampling outwith either the check monitoring or audit monitoring sampling e.g. for a specific complaint about water quality which may be contaminated with some parameter not usually tested) will be charged.

This means that a standard Regulated Supply sample will generally cost £435 while a standard Type B sample will cost £118. Cost of Risk Assessment will be additional to this and will include Officer's time at £78 per hour (maximum 3 hours).