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Private Water Supplies
 
Ninety nine percent of the population of England and Wales are supplied from public water companies, like the Welsh Water Board.  The remaining 1% are served from private supplies, i.e. from streams, wells and boreholes. A private water supply is prone to contamination by human and farm sewerage or many other ways, contamination levels can rise due to increased population and more intensive farming and industry. Fitting a water treatment system will give you peace of mind and can save your life.
 
Bball.gif - 906 bytes What is a private water supply?
A private water supply is any water that that is not supplied by Welsh Water or your local water company e.g. Wrexham Water, North West Water etc. A private supply may serve one house or be part of a small distribution to many houses. There are no rates paid to the water companies, so responsibility for wholesomeness and maintenance rests with the user, or landlords.
 
Bball.gif - 906 bytes Where does the water come from?
Supplies, on the whole, originate from the hills.  Rain water gradually runs down to where it meets a layer of rock or clay and forms a spring. There are other sources too; such as well water, boreholes, lakes, streams and simple collection of rain water.
 
Bball.gif - 906 bytes How does the water get to my tap?
From collection points water can be conveyed to the home by channels, land drains, pipes or it may just flow in a ditch, or come via a borehole or well. Once it reaches the home it may go straight to the tap or be stored in a water tank for later use. If stored then precautions must be taken to make sure the water does not get contaminated. Any sterilizer must be fitted after the tank and will benefit from a water filtration system fitted before the tank.
 
Bball.gif - 906 bytes Is my water safe to drink?
The only safe way of knowing is for a sample to be taken to a laboratory for analysis. Most supplies look clean and pure for most of the year, but tests have shown that over 50% of private supplies are contaminated with high levels of minerals, metals and bacteria. However, test results only show a snapshot of water quality on the day it was sampled. Fitting a water treatment system is the best way to ensure safe water.
 
Bball.gif - 906 bytes What might be wrong with my water and what can I do about it?
Most supplies are easily contaminated with bacteria (germs) known as coli forms (these are found in animal/human droppings and are indicators of pollution), and they survive for long periods in water and soil. There is also E. coli which can indicate recent faecal contamination. E. coli, non-pathogenic bacteria is present naturally in man's intestines and are excreted daily in their millions, and if present in a water sample would be an indication of other possible harmful bacterial contamination.
 
The standard in 100ml of water is none. There are also many chemicals in the water supply, and tests have shown that in many cases these need not be regarded as a major problem, but where problems do occur they can soon be rectified by installing a water purification system. Many of the problems that do occur are due to aggressive water (acidic) eroding old lead or copper pipes, the most dangerous being lead, and all are easily corrected. The aim is to have near neutral water, that is pH 6.5/7.5 or a slightly higher pH, which means it is alkaline. This is preferable to acidity, which causes more harm. The regulations are pH 5.5 (min) to 9.5 (max). For each point you move down the scale it is 10 times more acidic (i.e. pH 5 is 100 times more acidic than a pH of 7). This shows in the water supply by leaving blue/green stains of dissolved metals in your white sinks.
 
Remember anything that can gain access to your supply other than water can be regarded as a pollutant. If at any time you think your water supply has been contaminated with animal or human waste, then all cooking and drinking water should be boiled for a minimum of 3 minutes, and help and advice should be found.
 
Your local Environmental Health Department are available and willing to give any advice that may be needed.  An advice leaflet from the Drinking Water Inspectorate answers questions about private water supplies. All of our advice is free, so if you have any questions about your water supply, please contact us for guidance.
 
 
 

EPS Aberystwyth
Dolgelynen
Llanbadarn Fawr
Aberystwyth
Ceredigion SY23 3HJ

         
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    EPS Aberystwyth 1984-2008