Private water supplies

A private water supply is any water which is not provided by a water company (utility company) for example, United Utilities.

Types of private water supplies

  • Boreholes
  • Springs
  • Wells
  • Surface water e.g. lakes
  • Private distribution system (where a utility company supplies water to a landlord who then distributes this for use to another premises).

To ensure water from the private water supply is safe to drink, it is a legal requirement that the private water supply system must be properly maintained, managed and treated.

The relevant person(s) responsible for the private water supply must also ensure there is sufficient water supply at all times, and put contingency plans in place to deal with insufficiency, contamination, or drought.

For further information and advice regarding private water supplies, treatment, maintenance, contingency planning, take a look at the external links.

Tell us about a private water supply

We have a duty to keep up to date records of all private water supplies in the borough.

Tell us if you:

  • Have a new private water supply
  • Are moving into a premises with a private water supply
  • Are considering putting an old supply back into use.

Notify us about a private water supply.

Who regulates the private water supplies?

Wigan Council regulate private water supplies in the borough.

We are responsible for:

  • Carrying out a risk assessment of all supplies EXCEPT where water is supplied to a single dwelling and is not used as part of a commercial or public activity
  • Regularly monitoring private water supplies to check they are complying with drinking water standards. We do this by taking water samples and sending them for analysis to a UKAS accredited laboratory who work to internationally agreed standards.

Any failures to meet the drinking water standards specified by law requires investigation and appropriate action taken.


Local authorities charge to recover the costs involved in regulating private water supplies.

Below are our 2022/23 fees:

  • Risk Assessment (risk assessment and report) - officer hourly rate of £83.00 x time taken (including VAT) 
  • Investigation (e.g. complaint or breach of regulatory standard) - officer hourly rate of £83.00 x time taken (including VAT)
  • Sampling (charges for accredited sampler to visit and take water samples) - actual sampler costs
  • Laboratory testing - actual testing costs.

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