Academic literature review on UK Private Water Supply: Author Geoff Nemec
Although most people living in the United Kingdom have access to water supplied by a public water company many rural communities rely solely upon untreated private supplies for their drinking water. A private water supply can be defined as a supply of water not provided by a statutory water company, large authority or corporation.
Other definitions include; small water supply; rural water supply; community supply or even non-community supply (Clapham, 2004). Owners of these supplies often refer to them as springs, wells, boreholes, or watercourses and the premises served can be individual houses, farms or businesses, small settlements or villages. The Manual for Private Water Supplies (PWS Technical Manual, 2006) defines a private water supply as a supply not provided by a statutory water undertaker and where the responsibility for its maintenance and repair lies with the owner or the person using it. In some cases a private water supply may only serve a single household and provide less than one cubic metre of water per day or they may serve several properties or commercial / industrial premises and provide 1,000 cubic metres of water, or more each day (Jackson et al., 2001).
1% of UK on a Private Water Supply
Approximately 1% of the United Kingdom population (600,000) derive their potable water from 140,000 private water supplies (Kay et al., 2007). A breakdown of current estimates broadly suggests there are; 50,000 supplies (Jiggins, 2007) in England and Wales serving 330,000 (approximately 0.6%) people with 30,000 of the supplies serving a single dwelling (Jiggins, 2007); 38,000 private water supplies in Scotland (DWI, 1993 cited Reid et al., 2001) serving an estimated population of 60,171 (approximately 1.18%) of the Scottish population (Reid et al., 1999, cited Reid et al., 2001); 1,269 private water supplies in Northern Ireland, 1,152 of which are used by dairy farms (Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, 2008).
Calderdale higher than average number of Private Water Supplies
Barraclough et al. (1988) estimated that the number and nature of private water supplies in Calderdale and from these findings Collinge (1989) determined that over 5,000 people, equating to approximately 2.7% of the population in Calderdale were being served by private water supplies. That means Calderdale has more than the average number of Private Water Supplies.
Many rural areas have boreholes and spring water supplies
Due to the unprecedented circumstances the country faces with the Covid-19 virus outbreak, Springhill is well-prepared for the disruption and drastic measures needed to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Our main concern is the wellbeing of our staff, members and their families and our clients.
We are open for business as usual with all staff contactable in the usual manner. Our vans are fully stocked and our engineers’ time in the warehouse and workshop is minimised. We are contacting property owners before an engineer’s visit to make sure that they do not come into face to face contact with those who are self-isolating or who have the virus. Every precaution regarding sanitisation and the wearing of protective equipment is being taken. Any surface or item touched by our engineers will be thoroughly cleaned before departure. All filtration will be sterilised as part of the work carried out by the engineer.
We can assure you that the installation / servicing of equipment will be dealt with without delay and our service levels will be maintained.
We want to assure you that we have a robust contingency plan that covers varying levels of escalation and will be reviewed on a daily basis. This is a fast moving situation and we will continue to keep you informed as and when appropriate.
WE REMAIN FULLY OPERATIONAL FOR BUSINESS AND WISH YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES WARM WISHES DURING THESE CHALLENGING TIMES.
Research shows that Spring supplies are most likely to contain Faecal Coliforms (E.coli) within 3 days of heavy rainfall. The level of contamination is much higher after a long dry spell as the rainfall collects layers of detritus matter that has built up over the summer months. This means that clean filters can become blocked very quickly. The guiding principle is, if the inside of your filter is discoloured, then it is time to change the filter. This will avoid ‘breakthrough’ whereby contaminants overwhelm the filter leading to discolouration of water and the blinding of quartz sleeves.
In the letter that many Councils now send to households that have failed their compulsory water test, the EHO’s (Environmental Health Officers) include the following paragraph “Enforcement action may be taken where the (Private Water Supply) Regulations are breached. We also alert prospective purchasers during searches prior to buying property to any danger or lack of serviced treatment equipment”. So yes, the price of your property will be affected if you don’t do something about your water.
buying or selling a property with a spring or borehole
Diarrhoea, stomach cramp, high temperature nausea, headaches and drowsiness are some of the symptoms that can develop after drinking contaminated water. The worst cases can result in kidney failure. The most recent research into private water supplies (Risebro 2012) confirms that over 50% of private water supplies pose a significant health risk. The research identified an incidence of diarrhoea 5 times higher than normal
Children under 10 most vulnerable
Children under 10 years old and visitors are most at risk of becoming ill from drinking water from a private water supply. The findings apply equally to springs and boreholes.
Drinking water from a private water supply can cause diarrhoea and vomiting
I understand this concern; Why would a company like ours offer a free of charge service? It sounds too good to be true.
The truth is, we do offer this service and there is no catch. We do not work for any other agency and we do not pass on any of your information to anyone else.
Before we can make any recommendations, we like to know the full picture. The easiest way to do this is for us to get in the car and visit site. Of course, being a business, we hope that you may spend money with us at some stage but I can assure you our first approach is as engineers. We want to understand the problem and identify the best solution for you. If its work that we can do, we would send you a quotation and then leave it with you to decide what you wanted to do.
Borehole cost will vary according to local geology and the size of hole
Typically, a basic 60 metre borehole (the average depth of a borehole) including the installation of a borehole pump and pressure vessel will cost somewhere in the region of £10,000- £15,000 with an annual running cost of £50-£600 dependent on water usage.
Borehole Hole Size
There are 3 popular hole sizes currently being drilled in gritstone areas (the geology in many parts of West Yorkshire, Derbyshire, East Lancashire, Richmondshire and Northumberland contains high levels of grit-stone). Prices updated in June 2020.
4 inch hole costs in the region of £11,500 including VAT
6 inch hole costs in the region of £12.600 including VAT
8 inch hole costs in the region of £15,000 including VAT
As a general rule, where the borehole is being drilled in a gristone area:
an 8 inch hole may require less filtration than will be needed on a 6 or 4 inch hole, especially in areas where there is high iron. However, this cannot be guaranteed. UV and pre-filtration will probably be needed if the water is to be used for drinking and bathing.
A 6 inch hole will probably require some form of iron and manganese reduction filtration. UV and pre-filtration will almost certainly be needed if the water is to be used for drinking and bathing.
A 4 inch hole, with a 3 inch pump will provide enough water for a single property in most gritstone areas and will probably require an iron and manganese reduction along with a UV and pre-filter.<.li>
Quotes should include
The quotation will include costs relating to mobilisation of the rig, labour, ancillary equipment and support vehicles. All boreholes will include the necessary liners, grouting and casings.
Following the drilling of the hole, our water test specialist will visit site and carry out a basic water test. This is free of charge. In some cases, the results from the basic test will not provide all of the necessary information, in which case a more detailed test will be required. The results of the tests will dictate what filtration, if any, is needed.
This type of problem normally occurs on borehole supplies and is a clear indicator that the water contains high levels of iron or manganese. The water entering the house may look perfectly clear, however, once air is introduced into the water e.g. through agitation in a washing machine or dishwasher, the iron precipitates and leaves behind an orange or brown stain. Iron can be particularly problematic on farms where the sanitization fluids used to clean equipment cause the iron to precipitate, leaving unsightly stains on what is otherwise sterile equipment.