Private Water Supplies

Financial assistance may be available to improve private water supplies

The Aberdeenshire Council area has approximately 8000 private water supplies serving both domestic and commercial properties.

Safe drinking water is essential to good health. All private water supplies can pose a threat to health unless they are properly protected and treated. They may become contaminated with bacteria or other substances.

You may not be able to tell whether your water is safe as contamination may not change the smell, taste or colour of the water. Unlike public supplies, most private supplies are not treated to remove contamination.

What You Should Do

Find out about your supply

  • Who is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance (if this is not clear, consider reaching an agreement with the other users)?
  • Where is the source? If it is not on your land, are you in contact with the Landowner?
  • Where does it go to get to your property?
  • Is it treated in any way?
  • Is the treatment equipment in good order and serviced regularly? Does it treat the water for the whole house or just one tap?

Keep your supply safe

Make sure you inspect all parts of your supply regularly, including the catchment area, to check it is in good order and has not been interfered with, damaged or contaminated.

Supplies from Springs, Wells or Boreholes

  • Check that the source is adequately protected to stop surface water getting into your supply, particularly at times of heavy rain.

Supplies from Burns, Rivers or Lochs

  • The collection arrangement should include a settlement pond to allow larger particles to settle out before the water flows into your supply
  • The collection arrangement should include a sand or gravel filter to remove organic material and small animals - but these filters will not remove all bacteria or chemical contamination.
  • Ensure that the water being collected is not contaminated by discharges further upstream from a septic tank, or by sewage.

Supplies from Farmland/Land where animals graze or Manure is Spread

  • Divert rain water run-off so it does not flow into your supply (for example with a small ditch leading away from your supply)
  • Check that the farmer is aware of the drinking water supply and the need to avoid contaminating it by farming activity
  • Fencing may be necessary to stop farm and other animals from interfering with the water

If your supply has water collection chambers and/or storage tanks

  • These should have watertight walls and lids
  • Tops of chambers or tanks should be above ground level to prevent water from surrounding land flowing into them
  • Any overflow pipes or vents in chambers and tanks should be designed to stop animals and debris from entering.
  • The collection chamber should not be close to any soakaway or drain

Further information on Private Water supplies can be found at or e-mail us.

Water Testing

The Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006 came into force on 3rd July 2006 and replaced The Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 1992.

The 2006 Regulations defines supplies as either:

Type A - Supplies providing 10m3 of water a day or serving 50 or more persons; and supplies to commercial or public activities irrespective of their size.


Type B - Supplies serving only domestic premises with less than 50 persons supplied.

Type A supplies fall within the provisions of the E.C. Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC) which requires each supply to be sampled and analysed for a wide range of parameters at least once a year.

Type B supplies are required to comply with a limited range of parameters that are defined in the Regulations and will not form part of a statutory sampling programme.

If you would like your water tested, contact 01467 539539

Request Water Sample Charges

A standard Type B microbiological and chemical water sample costs £134.00.

Fill out our Private Water Supply Request for Sample Form

View Environmental Health privacy notices.

House Sales

Aberdeenshire Council would recommend that samples requested for house sales should be analysed for the restricted range of parameters prescribed for Type B supplies, plus Iron and Manganese which have been known to be elevated in some supplies in the Aberdeenshire area. This recommendation pertains to houses on both Type A and Type B supplies. Where requests relate to non domestic premises, including bed and breakfasts, you should discuss this further with the relevant Environmental Health Officer.

A form for requesting a sample for a house sale can be downloaded here.

View Environmental Health privacy notices.

Contaminated Supplies

If your private supply is contaminated, if you decide to install water treatment equipment or if you want general advice about water supplies you can contact the contractors listed below. Grant assistance may be available to improve your private water supply.

Persons and Companies who can advise you about private water supplies

View our list of persons and companies who can advise (pdf 138KB) on private water supplies. This list is not approved or complete and the council can't guarantee that listed companies are qualified and competent to carry out private water supply work.

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