Water Safety Maintenance Plan


Compared to the public water supply, private water supplies are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria, protozoa, viruses and other substances which can pose a threat of serious illness and even death in vulnerable people.

The Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006 and The Water Intended for Human Consumption (Private Supplies) Scotland Regulations 2017 requires relevant persons to provide a wholesome water supply. Therefore, maintaining the supply system is important and a written scheme of maintenance can assist in complying with the Regulations.


It is recommended that all users of private water supplies should be familiar with their supply ie:

• Who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep?
• Where is the source?
• What is the infrastructure of the supply system, including treatment?
• What are the arrangements for maintenance?


• The following information offers some guidance on basic maintenance of treatment systems and protection measures.

• Although the quality of private water supplies is often acceptable for drinking and other purposes this may not always be the case. Under certain circumstances the quality may be lower than you would expect from a public supply. There are occasions when there is an increased risk of harmful bacteria affecting any supply. This is most likely to happen after heavy rainfall or snowmelt, or when the water is highly covered.


1. Ground levels should be below the top of the collection chamber/holding tank (minimum 150mm/6”) to prevent water flowing over the ground into the tank and to prevent the overgrowth of vegetation into the tank. Remedial works may be required to clear ground vegetation; however a WEED KILLER MUST NOT BE USED.

2. The collection chamber/holding tank(s) and lid(s) should be in a good state of repair and in place. Any damaged tanks require to be repaired or replaced. The lining should be smooth to inhibit colonisation by insects, vegetation etc. Lids/covers should be tightly fitting and designed to overhang the chamber/tank.

3. Any animal/plant/insect debris should be removed if present, followed by disinfection with a suitable disinfectant - the tank and system should be flushed out several times to ensure that all residual traces of disinfectant are removed.

4. Ancillary components - including coarse filters (roses)/filters, valves, ballcocks, stopcocks, pumps, etc. should be checked to ensure they are in good working order.

5. A rose/coarse filter should be fitted to the outlet pipe of the collecting chamber/holding tank(s) to reduce the potential accumulation of peat, soil etc., debris within the pipework/distribution system. (NB. debris may also damage hot water/heating system).

6. Inlet, outlets and overflow pipes should be vermin proofed where appropriate and sealed at their entry and exit points to/from their tank(s). Vermin proofing to prevent the entry of small animals, frogs, toads and insects can be achieved by securing a piece of fine mesh screen over vulnerable outlet points.

7. Inlet, outlet and overflow pipes should be positioned so as to prevent the level of water within the tank(s) breaking over the top of the tank and flooding the surrounding area.

8. Existing fencing around the collection chamber/holding tank(s) should be checked to ensure that it is in a good state of repair, preventing access by animals.

9. If at present, the collection chamber/holding tank(s) is/are not protected by a stock proof fence, a fence should be erected at a radius of not less than four metres from the chamber/tank(s). It is recommended that wire mesh be fitted to the fence to prevent access by smaller animals.

10. Holding/water tanks within individual domestic premises should also be checked to ensure that lids are intact and in place and the tanks are in a good state of repair.

In some cases, remedial works in accordance with the above checklist should suffice to at least improve the bacteriological quality of a private water supply. A specialist consultant or water treatment company should be consulted should this not be the case.

In the case of a stream/burn/loch supply, the bacteriological supply is unlikely to improve and under these circumstances, a permanent treatment system will be required.

Temporary measures may be required in the interim period prior to completion of remedial works:-

Bacteriological Failure

1. Water used for drinking and cooking purposes should be boiled. Generally, vigorous boiling for up to one minute should suffice. Once the water has been boiled, it should be allowed to cool and settle and if necessary, be decanted or filtered through a coffee paper. Alternatively, bottled water should be used.

2. Sterilising tablets may be added to water in glass containers BUT ONLY IF the water is clear, odourless and free from suspended matter/solids.

Chemical Failure

1. If the supply is unsatisfactory due to suspended solids, boiling, cooling, settling and decanting or filtering through a coffee filter paper should improve quality. It is recommended however, that a suitable, permanent filter be installed.

2. In the case of other chemicals, an alternative source of drinking and cooking water requires to be provided pending the implementation of a permanent solution.

Maintenance Lists

These are available here.

Contact Us

Environmental Health
Moray Council
Council Office
High Street, Elgin
IV30 1BX

0300 1234561


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