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The majority of properties within West Dunbartonshire 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.

The Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006 came into force on 3 July 2006 and replaced The Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 1992. Scottish Statutory Instrument documents explaining the latest regulations can be viewed on the Legislation website: The Private Water Supplies (Notices) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 and The Private Water Supplies (Grants) (Scotland) Regulations 2006. Under these regulations private water supplies are defined as either:

  • Type A - Supplies serving 50 or more persons, or supplies to commercial or public activities irrespective of size, or
  • Type B - Supplies serving only domestic premises with less than 50 persons supplied.

Type A 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. Commercial premises are also required to display an information notice; a copy of the notice can be obtained from us by email. 

Staff from Environmental Health routinely monitors these high risk supplies as part of their statutory duties. The information gathered is made available for public scrutiny in the form of a Public Register of Private Supplies.

Type B supplies are required to comply with a limited range of parameters that are defined in the regulations but do not form part of a statutory sampling programme. Information on Type B supplies is also recorded within the public register.

Maintaining your Private Water Supply

In order to keep your private water supply functioning correctly you need to keep the supply system clean and well maintained. For further advice please contact us direct or visit the Scottish Government site Private Water Supplies Advice.

Sampling of Private Water Supplies

Type A Supplies: These are routinely sampled as part of our statutory sampling programme and all Type A supplies require to be sampled on an annual basis.  If you are responsible for a Type A 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 such supplies are, and remain, safe to drink. Therefore, the Council will sample Type B supplies on request.

Where there are water quality failures within samples of either Type A or B supplies, 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.

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 type A or 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 West Dunbartonshire 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. 

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

Charges for sampling , analysis and risk assessment are prescribed in the Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

West Dunbartonshire Council do not however apply the maximum charges as per the Regulations.  Our current charges are:

  • Sample visit - £70
  • Check sample charge - £75
  • Audit sample charge - £108
  • Completion of an initial Risk Assessment - £50
  • Review of a Risk Assessment - £50