E.coli and Private Water Supplies

We in England and Wales benefit from water quality that is amongst the highest in the world with only 12 ‘serious’ contamination events in 2014. Standards for potable water are understandably very strict when it comes to our public water supply, however a recent report by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) suggests a very different story when it comes to a lesser known source, private water supplies.

According to WWT online, there are 37,717 private water supplies in England. 5840 of these serve 50 people or more, or are used in a commercial or public activity. The remainder serve private households or are shared among a small number of households.

Of 8054 private water supplies tested, 7.8% failed to meet the essential safety standard for E.coli. These water supplies were of the kind that served the public either through commercial or public activity or through serving 50 or more people. Even more disturbing figures were revealed for water supplies servicing single households or small numbers of houses. 23% of those sampled failed on E.coli.

Clean Water

The presence of E.coli indicates that faecal matter from humans or animals is making it into the supplies. There was also a significant failure rate for other contaminants including lead and nitrate.

Private water supplies are a useful and often completely necessary solution for domestic and commercial water requirements in locations without access to the mains water supply. However without the consistency in water quality monitoring that is applied to the public supply these private supplies, if not properly maintained can pose a serious threat to those that use them.

Often, contamination of private water supplies can be a result of inadequate wastewater treatment solutions, such as a failing package treatment plant. Take a look at one of our case studies for an example of how Plantwork Systems can provide a clean and safe treatment plant to a private household or housing development.

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