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

What is a private water supply?

A private water supply is any water supply that is not provided by a water company, such as United Utilities. A private water supply may serve one or several properties and are mostly found in rural locations. The water source is often a spring, well, borehole, pond or stream. All private water supplies within Salford should be registered with Salford Council.

The Private Water Supplies (England) Regulations 2016 came into force on 27 June 2016 and were amended in 2018. They apply to all private supplies of water intended for human consumption, including water for drinking, cooking, food preparation or other domestic purposes. Private water supplies can be more susceptible to contamination, so water quality must be tested regularly, and risk assessed to make sure that it is safe.

Risk assessments and sampling requirements

Except for private water supplies to single domestic dwellings, the regulations require the Council to carry out a risk assessment for all private water supplies in Salford at least once every five years. The regulations set the microbiological and chemical standards for private water supplies and specify the frequency of routine testing. Where a private water supply is found to be unsafe, the Council must serve a notice to require the necessary improvements to be made to prevent potential danger to human health. Salford Council will work with the person responsible for the supply to identify the source of the problem and discuss the options for improvement.

Supply categories and monitoring requirements

Private water supplies are categorised under three regulations (8, 9 and 10) and are outlined below along with the monitoring requirements.

Supply category Definition Monitoring requirements

Regulation 10 - single domestic dwelling

A water supply serving one private domestic dwelling where no commercial activity takes place.
(This does not include rented properties which are classed as commercial use so would fall under Regulation 9 Supply).

Do not require routine monitoring or a risk assessment. Sampling and/or risk assessment can be undertaken at the owner's request.

Regulation 10 - small supply

A water supply serving less than 50 people or producing less than 10m³ of water and is not used for commercial purposes or for public premises.

Minimum once every five years (may be more often based on risk assessment).

Regulation 9 - large and/or commercial supply

A water supply serving over 50 people or produces more than 10 m³ per day of water; or is used for commercial purposes e.g., rented properties, holiday lets, or is public premises.

Minimum once a year (may be more often based on risk assessment).

Regulation 8 - further distribution supply

A water supply supplied by a water company and further distributed by the account holder to a third party, e.g., caravan parks.

Monitoring carried out in accordance with risk assessment.

Charging schedule

The charges for sampling and assessment will be passed on to the person responsible for the supply, as detailed below.

Intervention Salford City Council charge Notes

Risk Assessment


Minimum £50 admin charge


Actual sampler costs

Charge for a visit and to take a sample


£66/hour + cost of analysis

Carried out by the Council in the event of the failure

of a supply to meet the required standard



Application by the owner of a supply for permission from the Council to continue supplying water of a lower quality temporarily whilst remedial work is carried out on the supply

Laboratory testing and analysis

Intervention Salford City Council charge Notes

Regulation 10 (Domestic Supplies)

To be determined in consultation with appropriate laboratory

Regulation 10 - non optional parameters

Regulation 10 – additional risk based parameters

Regulation 9 supply – monitoring of Group A parameters

To be determined in consultation with appropriate laboratory

Group A including any other parameters based on the risk assessment

Regulation 9 supply – monitoring of Group B parameters

To be determined in consultation with appropriate laboratory

Group B including any other parameters based on the risk assessment

*Sampling cost applied to Part 1 Group A Parameters (Check) / Part 2 Group B Parameters (Audit Monitoring)

Please note that the actual costs will vary depending on the type of supply and the frequency of testing – this will be established during your first visit.

Guidance on management and maintenance

Further guidance on the management and maintenance of private water supplies can be found on the private water supplies page on the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) website.

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
Rate this page