Clean water is one of the most fundamental requirements of human health. Whether it is used for drinking, cooking, washing or recreation, we all expect our water to be safe. If it is not, micro-organisms can cause health problems ranging from a mild stomach upset to a serious illness such as cryptosporidiosis, and chemicals can cause poisoning.
Drinking water quality
The Drinking Water Inspectorate, a government agency, checks that water companies supply water that is safe and wholesome. Each water company is also required to provide local authorities with information about the quality of water supply serving its area. Severn Trent Water Limited (STWL) is responsible for the public or mains water supply within Ashfield. If you have any concerns about water quality you should first of all contact STWL on 0800 783 4444. However, if you think that a problem has not been rectified, Ashfield District Council may be able to assist by sampling the supply and/or carrying out other investigations. If a problem is confirmed, the council can raise the issue with STWL on your behalf. There is no charge for this service.
Private water supplies
Under the Private Water Supplies Regulations 2009 the District Council has a duty to ensure that the location of all private water supplies is recorded, and those that serve commercial businesses or more than one domestic property are monitored to ensure that they are of sufficiently high quality to protect the health of consumers.
A private water supply is one not provided by a water supplier (such as Severn Trent Water Limited) and may come from a source such as; a well, borehole, spring, stream, river, lake or pond. The supply may serve only one property or several but in either case it is essential the supply be well maintained to minimise any risk to human health.
While mains supplied water is treated to remove possible contamination most private water supplies are untreated.
The Regulations have brought in risk assessments to assess the supply from source to tap; each supply is then risk rated. Improvements are either recommended, or where there is a risk to public health, enforced under The Regulations. The risk assessment aims to identify actual or potential causes of contamination so that suitable actions can be taken to prevent or control problems, and to ensure that the quality of the drinking water is as good as it can be.
To check the effectiveness of any protection or treatment on the supply, a programme of sampling is carried out in accordance with the Regulations and the results of the risk assessment. Both bacteriological and chemical parameters are tested to monitor if the supply complies with standards laid out in the Regulations.
A risk assessment is a useful exercise for anyone on a private water supply to do, not just those people who have a supply for multiple dwellings or commercial premises and are therefore required to have a risk assessment undertaken. An action plan of improvements is drawn up as necessary, and the results help dictate how often and for what parameters future sampling is carried out.
Undertaking a risk assessment is a statutory duty on all but single domestic supplies and must be done every five years.
Swimming is an enjoyable and healthy pastime undertaken by many people. However, swimming pools can be a source of infection if the water is not effectively treated. It is therefore necessary to continually examine the chemical and bacteriological quality of the water to ensure it is safe for use. The monitoring of the swimming pool water is the responsibility of the pool operator and daily sampling is undertaken by simple tests at the poolside. Further chemical and bacteriological samples are taken for more thorough analysis. As a basic public health measure, the Council has developed a monitoring strategy to over check the quality of swimming pool waters on a monthly basis.
Recreational water quality
Lakes, rivers and seas are used for a variety of recreational activities including swimming, diving, fishing and sailing. If these activities are to be enjoyed safely, attention must be given to health hazards such as sewage pollution and excessive growth of toxic cyanobacteria, as well as to the prevention of accidents.
The Environment Agency is the main custodian of controlled waters within the environment. However, the Council monitors water quality which is used for recreational activities such as water sports and sailing and as such monitoring is undertaken throughout the year at King's Mill Reservoir. The water is checked for levels of microbiological pollution and throughout the summer for signs of blue-green algae.