Watchdog slates Scot private supplies as gut bugs found in 11% of samples

September 22, 2019

More than one-in-ten samples from regulated private water supplies in Scotland taken in 2018 carried bacterial indicators of faecal contamination that can cause serious illnesses according to  Scotland’s Drinking Water Quality Regulator.


The regulator said a “significant number” failed to meet the required drinking water standards and “need to make  improvements.” Drinking Water Quality Regulator, Sue Petch, said: “I am concerned with the poor quality of some of the private water supplies in Scotland, particularly those that tested positive for E. coli. It is very important that these supplies are improved so that people using them have a safe and reliable supply of drinking water.


The watchdog reported the presence of E.Coli in 11% of some 42,500 private water supplies serving more than people or a commercial activity.  “Compliance figures have not changed significantly for the past three years, suggesting that limited improvements are been made, in spite of efforts by local authorities and the existence of a Scottish Government grant,” the regulator said.


About 200,000 (3.6%) of the Scottish population receive their water from private water supplies with with “many thousands more” using them occasionally typically in holiday accommodation. According to the water quality regulator, many of the very small types of supplies have little or no treatment and where water from these supplies does not meet the standards, there may be a risk to the health of those drinking from them.

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