Water quality

Public water supplies

Under Section 77 of the Water Industry Act 1991 and regulations made thereunder, local authorities have to oversee the quality of all water supplies in their areas. United Utilities test the water supply regularly to check that it meets the quality standards and includes testing at customers' taps. Information about the results of these tests are given in an annual summary by the Drinking Water Inspectorate.

Further information for water quality in the north west is available from United Utilities.

Where can you get more information about drinking water quality?

You can contact the water company to obtain information about the drinking water quality where customer services staff will explain the result of tests and tell you what is being done to rectify any failures. You are entitled to a free copy of the record for the area in which you live. Alternatively, you can enter your postcode on United Utilities' website or you can write to the company for details.

What do I do if I have a problem with my drinking water?

The water supplied to the city of Salford is of a very high quality.

You may however, now and again have a problem with your drinking water. It should be clear and bright. If it looks cloudy or discoloured or tastes different or smells funny then contact your water company. Enquiry and emergency numbers are available on United Utilities' website or under 'water' in your telephone directory.

Private water supplies

A private water supply is any water supply which is not provided by a water company. A private water supply may only serve one property or could be a large network of pipes supplying many properties. The water source is often a spring, well, borehole, pond or stream. 

The Private Water Supplies (England) Regulations 2016 came into force on 27 June 2016 and were amended in 2018. These outline the sampling frequency for different types of supplies and the analysis and risk assessment that will be required. The regulations set the chemical and bacteriological standards for private water supplies and specify the frequency of routine testing. The charges for any sampling and assessment will be passed on to the person responsible for the supply as detailed below.

Organisations involved in water quality

There are a number of key organisations involved in the process of water quality to include reviewing charges. You can find more about the organisations and their activities via their respective websites:

  • OFWAT who are responsible for ensuring water companies give good quality and efficient services at a fair price
  • Environment Agency who enforce standards for treated waste water
  • Natural England who promote the conservation of England's wildlife
  • Drinking Water Inspectorate who enforce water quality standards
  • Consumer Council for Water who represent customers interests and investigate customer complaints
  • DEFRA provide information on action being taken by the government to improve the quality of the water environment
  • Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) are an advisory service for water suppliers and any other person seeking guidance on the water regulations and to test materials and fittings to assess their compliance
  • WaterSafe, a dedicated online search facility of qualified contractors working to the Approved Contractors' Schemes
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