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The Private Water Supplies Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017

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PART 1GENERAL

Citation and commencement

1.  These Regulations may be cited as the Private Water Supplies Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017 and shall come into operation on 27th October 2017.

Interpretation

2.—(1) In these Regulations—

“consumer” means a person to whom a private water supply is provided for human consumption purposes;

“disinfection” means a process of water treatment to remove, or to render harmless to human health, every pathogenic micro-organism and pathogenic parasite that would otherwise be present in the water; and “disinfected” shall be construed accordingly;

“District Council” means a District Council as established under Part I of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972(1);

“indicative dose” or “ID” means the committed effective dose for one year of ingestion resulting from all the radionuclides whose presence has been detected in a supply of water intended for human consumption, of natural and artificial origin, but excluding tritium, potassium-40, radon and short-lived radon decay products;

“limit of detection” means the output signal or concentration value above which it can be affirmed, with a stated level of confidence that a sample is different from a blank sample containing no determinand of interest;

“limit of quantification” means a stated multiple of the limit of detection at a concentration of the determinand that can reasonably be determined with an acceptable level of accuracy and precision;

“radioactive substance” means any substance that contains one or more radionuclides the activity or concentration of which cannot be disregarded as far as radiation protection is concerned;

“relevant person” means—

(a)

the owner or occupier (who may be the same or different persons) of premises which are supplied with water for domestic or food production purposes by means of a private supply;

(b)

the owner or occupier (who may be the same or different persons) of land on which any part of the supply is situated;

(c)

any other person who exercises powers of management or control in relation to that supply.

“risk assessment” is an assessment carried out under regulation 7.

“the 2009 Regulations” means the Private Water Supplies Regulations (Northern Ireland)2009(2);

“the 2006 Order” means the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006;

“the Appeals Commission” means the Water Appeals Commission for Northern Ireland within the meaning of Article 292 of the 2006 Order;

“the Department” means the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs;

“the Directive” means Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption(3) as amended by Commission Directive (EU) 2015/1787 of 6 October 2015(4);

“the Public Health Agency” means the Regional Agency for Public Health and Social Well-being as established under Section 12 of the Health and Social Care (Reform) Act (Northern Ireland) 2009(5);

“uncertainty of measurement” is defined as a non-negative parameter characterising the dispersion of the quantity values being attributed to a measureand, based on the information used;

“water intended for human consumption” means all water:

(a)

either in its original state or after treatment, intended for drinking, cooking, food preparation or other domestic purposes, regardless of its origin and whether it is supplied from a distribution network, a tanker, or in bottles or containers;

(b)

used in any food-production undertaking for the manufacture, processing, preservation or marketing of products or substances intended for human consumption unless, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the hygiene of foodstuffs(6), the competent authority(7) is satisfied that the quality of the water cannot affect the wholesomeness of the foodstuff in its finished form.

(2) The Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954(8) shall apply to these Regulations as it applies to an Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Water Supplies to which these Regulations apply

3.—(1) These Regulations apply to all water supplies that supply water intended for human consumption not provided by a water undertaker appointed under Article 13 of the 2006 Order.

(2) The supplies in paragraph (1) are referred to in these Regulations as private supplies.

Exemptions

4.  These Regulations do not apply in relation to—

(a)water controlled by the Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015(9); or

(b)water that is a medicinal product within the meaning of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012(10).

PART 2Water Standards, Risk Assessments and Surveys

Wholesomeness

5.  Water is wholesome if all the following conditions are met—

(a)it is free from any micro-organisms and parasites and from any substances which, in numbers or concentrations, constitute a potential risk to human health;

(b)it meets the concentrations and values specified in Part 1 of Schedule 1; and

(c)in the water: .

Use of products or substances in private supplies

6.—(1) Any product or substance used in the preparation or distribution of a private supply of water, or impurities associated with such products or substances, must not be present in water at the point at which a sample is taken in accordance with regulation 12 that would make it unwholesome or constitute a potential risk to human health.

(2) Where disinfection forms part of the preparation or distribution of a private supply, the relevant person must—

(a)design, operate and maintain the disinfection process so as to keep disinfection by-products as low as possible without compromising the effectiveness of the disinfection;

(b)ensure that the effectiveness of the disinfection process is maintained; and

(c)verify the effectiveness of the disinfection process.

Requirement to carry out a risk assessment

7.—(1) The Department must carry out an assessment (“a risk assessment”) of the potential risks associated with each private supply to which these Regulations apply other than a supply to a single private dwelling.

(2) The Department must carry out a risk assessment within six months of a private supply being identified as a private water supply under regulation 3.

(3) The Department may enter into an arrangement for any competent person to carry out a risk assessment on its behalf for the purposes of this regulation.

(4) The Department may provide for any such competent person to be reimbursed.

(5) A risk assessment must be based on the general principles of a risk assessment set out in international standards such as EN 15975-2 concerning “security of drinking water supply, guidelines for risk and crisis management”(11);

(6) A risk assessment must take into account the results from the monitoring programmes—

(a)established under these regulations; and

(b)under regulation 11 (monitoring) of the Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017(12) in respect of bodies of water identified under regulation 8 of those Regulations (bodies of water used for the abstraction of drinking water).

(7) The Department must review and, where necessary, update the risk assessment—

(a)as soon as possible in the event that it becomes aware of the likelihood of a—

(i)deterioration of the quality of the water supply; or

(ii)modification to, or extension of, the supply system from which the water is supplied,

which is relevant for the protection of human health and was not previously taken into account; or

(b)when monitoring programmes are reviewed under regulation 9.

(8) A risk assessment arranged under paragraph (3) must be approved by the Department.

Radon Representative Surveys

8.—(1) The Department must carry out a representative survey in accordance with paragraph (2) to determine the likelihood of a supply failing the radon maximum concentration or value specified in Schedule 1 Part 2;

(2) The representative survey under paragraph (1) must be designed in such a way—

(a)as to be capable of determining the scale and nature of likely exposures to radon in water intended for human consumption originating from different types of groundwater sources and wells in different geological areas; and

(b)that underlying parameters, especially the geology and hydrology of the area, radioactivity of rock or soil, and well type, can be identified and used to direct further action to areas of likely high exposure.

PART 3Monitoring

Monitoring

9.—(1) The Department must monitor all private supplies in accordance with this Part and must discharge that obligation through the establishment of monitoring programmes in accordance with Schedule 2.

(2) The obligation described in paragraph (1) of this regulation does not apply to a supply to a single private dwelling where the water is not used as part of a commercial or public activity but the Department must offer appropriate advice to the relevant person in order to protect human health.

(3) The Department must ensure that a monitoring programme established under paragraph 1 is kept under review and updated or reconfirmed at least every 5 years.

Large supplies and supplies as part of a commercial or public premises

10.—(1) Paragraph (2) applies in the case of a private water supply that—

(a)supplies an average daily volume of water of 10m3 or more or serves 50 or more persons; or

(b)supplies water as part of a commercial activity or to public land.

(2) Where this paragraph applies, the Department must monitor for any parameter in Schedule 1 in accordance with Schedule 3 and carry out any additional monitoring that a risk assessment shows to be necessary.

Other private supplies

11.—(1) In the case of a private supply to more than one private dwelling that is not monitored in accordance with regulation 10, the Department must monitor that supply in accordance with a risk assessment and, in addition, at least once a year, it must monitor for—

(a)conductivity;

(b)enterococci;

(c)Escherichia coli (E.Coli);

(d)hydrogen ion concentration;

(e)turbidity; and

(f)any parameter in Schedule 1 identified in the risk assessment as being a potential risk to human health.

(2) The frequency of monitoring may be reduced to once every 5 years in accordance with the results of a risk assessment.

Sampling and analysis

12.—(1) When the Department monitors a private supply it must take a sample—

(a)from a tap normally used to provide water for human consumption and which, if there is more than one tap, is representative of the water supplied to the land;

(b)if the water is supplied for food production purposes, at the point at which it is used for those purposes; or

(c)if the water is supplied from a tanker, at the point at which it emerges from the tanker.

(2) The Department must ensure that any sample taken is analysed.

(3) The Department may enter into an arrangement for any person—

(a)to take and/or analyse samples on its behalf; and

(b)to report its findings to the Department as soon as they are available and to report any breach of these Regulations to it immediately.

(4) The Department may provide for any such person to be reimbursed.

(5) The Department must not enter into an arrangement under paragraph (3) unless it is satisfied that the task will be carried out promptly by a person who is competent to perform it.

(6) Samples taken in accordance with this regulation must be taken at regular intervals so as to be representative of the quality of the water consumed throughout the year.

(7) The further provisions for sampling and analysis in Schedule 4 apply.

Maintenance of records

13.  The Department must keep records in respect of every monitored private supply in accordance with Schedule 5.

Publication of information

14.—(1) The Department must publish annually a report about private supplies monitored under these regulations.

(2) The report must contain —

(a)the number of private supplies in the preceding year; and

(b)any other information about private supplies, including information about the quality of private supplies, in such form as the Department may determine.

PART 4Action in The Event of Failure

Provision of information

15.—(1) If the Department considers that a private supply is a potential risk to human health it must promptly take appropriate steps to ensure that people likely to consume water from it—

(a)are informed that the supply constitutes a potential risk to human health;

(b)where possible, are informed of the degree of the potential risk; and

(c)are given advice on appropriate measures to allow them to minimise any such risk.

(2) The Department must notify the Public Health Agency and the District Council for the district in which the private supply is situated regarding the steps taken under paragraph (1).

Investigation

16.  The Department must carry out an investigation to establish the cause if it suspects that a private water supply monitored under these regulations is unwholesome or if an indicator parameter in a sample exceeds the concentrations or values prescribed in Schedule 1.

Procedure following investigation

17.—(1) Once the Department has established the cause of the water being unwholesome in a private water supply monitored under these regulations, it must act in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (4).

(2) If the cause of the water not being wholesome is attributable to the domestic distribution system within a private dwelling, the Department must promptly offer advice to the consumers on measures necessary for the protection of health.

(3) If paragraph (2) does not apply and if it cannot solve the problem informally the Department—

(a)may, on application by a relevant person, grant an authorisation to that person if the conditions in regulation 18 (2) are fulfilled; and

(b)if it does not grant an authorisation must serve a notice in accordance with Article 119 of the 2006 Order or serve a notice under regulation 19, if the conditions in that regulation are fulfilled.

(4) Before serving a notice the Department must have regard to any agreement, contract, licence or other document produced to the Department relating to the terms on which water is supplied.

Authorisations of different standards

18.—(1) A relevant person may apply to the Department for the granting of an authorisation under this regulation.

(2) The Department may grant an authorisation of different standards under this regulation if—

(a)the only cause of the water not being wholesome is that a parameter in Table B of Part 1 of Schedule 1 (“Table B”) is not complied with;

(b)the Department has consulted the relevant District Council and the Public Health Agency and has taken their views into account;

(c)granting the authorisation does not result in a risk to human health; and

(d)the supply of water cannot be maintained by any other reasonable means.

(3) An authorisation must require the relevant person to take action over a period of time to ensure that the parameters in Table B are complied with and must specify—

(a)the relevant person;

(b)the supply concerned;

(c)the grounds for granting the authorisation;

(d)the parameters concerned, previous relevant monitoring results, and the maximum permissible values under the authorisation;

(e)the geographical area, the estimated quantity of water supplied each day, the number of persons supplied and whether or not any food-production undertaking is affected;

(f)an appropriate monitoring scheme to be undertaken by either the Department or the relevant person, with an increased monitoring frequency where necessary;

(g)a summary of the plan for the necessary remedial action, including a timetable for the work and an estimate of the cost and provisions for reviewing progress; and

(h)the duration of the authorisation.

(4) If the Department grants an authorisation, and action is taken in accordance with the timetable of works specified in the authorisation, the Department must not serve a notice under Article 119 of the 2006 Order concerning the matters specified in the authorisation without first amending or revoking the authorisation.

(5) The duration of the authorisation must be as short as possible and in any event must not exceed three years.

(6) The Department must ensure that people affected are promptly informed of the authorisation and its conditions and, where necessary, ensure that advice is given to particular groups for which the authorisation could present a special risk.

(7) The Department must inform the European Commission within two months of any authorisation concerning an individual private supply exceeding 1000m³ a day as an average or serving more than 5000 persons unless it considers the reason for the authorisation to be trivial and action is carried out which remedies the problem within 30 days.

(8) Towards the end of the duration of the authorisation the Department must review it to determine whether sufficient progress has been made. If the Department considers that sufficient progress has not been made, it may grant a second authorisation. If the Department intends to grant a second authorisation, this must be communicated to the European Commission along with the results of the review.

(9) Subject to paragraph (8), the Department may grant a second authorisation for up to three years duration.

(10) If towards the end of the second period of authorisation the Department considers that sufficient progress has not been made the Department may grant a third period of authorisation but only if—

(a)the Department considers that there are exceptional circumstances to justify doing so; and

(b)the European Commission confirms its approval.

(11) The Department may revoke or amend any authorisation at any time, and in particular may revoke or amend it if the timetable for remedial action has not been adhered to.

Notice on potential risk to human health

19.—(1) The Department must serve a notice under this regulation on a relevant person instead of a notice under Article 119 of the 2006 Order for a private water supply monitored under these regulations if—

(a)the supply is a potential risk to human health; and

(b)serving the notice will not create a greater risk to human health than not serving it.

(2) The notice must prohibit the supply of water, or restrict what the water may be used for and must also specify—

(a)the relevant person;

(b)the supply concerned;

(c)the grounds for the notice;

(d)the parameters concerned;

(e)previous relevant monitoring results;

(f)the geographical area, the estimated quantity of water supplied each day and whether or not any food production undertaking is affected; and

(g)any other remedial action that the Department considers necessary to protect human health.

(3) The Department must ensure that consumers are promptly informed of the service of the notice and must provide any necessary advice to protect human health.

(4) The Department must notify the Public Health Agency, and District Council for the district in which the private supply is situated, regarding a notice issued under this regulation.

(5) The notice may be subject to conditions and may be amended by a further notice at any time.

(6) The Department must revoke the notice as soon as there is no longer a potential risk to human health.

Appeals

20.—(1) Any person served with a notice under regulation 19 who is aggrieved by that notice may appeal in writing to the Appeals Commission within 28 days of the date of the notice and shall specify the grounds for appeal.

(2) A notice under regulation 19 shall have effect pending determination of the appeal.

Powers of the Appeals Commission

21.  On an appeal against a notice served under regulation 19, the Appeals Commission may either cancel the notice or confirm it, with or without modification.

PART 5Offences and Penalties

Offences and penalties

22.—(1) It is an offence to fail to comply with a notice served under regulation 19.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under paragraph (1) is liable—

(a)on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months; or

(b)on conviction on indictment, to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

(3) For the purposes of these Regulations section 20(2) of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954 applies with the omission of the words “the liability of whose members is limited” and where the affairs of a body corporate are managed by its members, applies in relation to the acts or defaults of a member in connection with their functions of management as if they were a director of the body corporate.

PART 6Transitional Provisions

Transitional Provisions

23.—(1) Any authorisation granted by the Department under regulation 18 and Schedule 4 Part 1 paragraph 3 of the 2009 Regulations and which has not been revoked or expired by 27 October 2017 shall have effect as if granted under regulation 18 and Schedule 4 Part 1 paragraph 3(1) of these Regulations.

(2) Any notice served by the Department under regulation 19 of the 2009 Regulations and which has not been revoked or expired by 27 October 2017 shall have effect as if granted under regulation 19 of these Regulations.

Revocations

24.  The Private Water Supplies Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009(13), the Private Water Supplies (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010(14), and the Private Water Supplies (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015(15) are revoked.

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs on 6th October 2017

Legal seal

Dave Foster

A senior officer of the

Department

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