Drinking water

Find out about water testing services and associated charges.

The mains water supply, which supplies over 97% of East Renfrewshire Residents, is the responsibility of Scottish Water with regard to water quality.

Owners and users are responsible for the water quality from their own private supply which may be taken from a burn, spring borehole or other untreated ground water supply.

If you're unclear in which category your water supply is classified, contact us for help.

Scottish Water regularly test and monitor the public supply. 

For most problems involving the public mains you should visit the Scottish Water website (opens new window).

In Scotland, lead doesn't occur naturally in significant concentrations in our water supplies. However, lead can cause problems if the water supply comes into contact with:

  • lead supply pipes
  • lead tanks
  • lead solder pipes
  • some brass fittings and taps

If you suspect you may have lead pipes, we encourages you to undertake further works with a view to establishing whether lead is present and to take steps to replace materials containing lead.

Please note, at the present time, grants aren't available for the replacement of lead pipes.

A private supply is one that doesn't come from Scottish Water and the maintenance and monitoring of the supply is the responsibility of the user. It can come from a spring, well or borehole. However, we've a duty to:

  • test water quality
  • suggest improvements
  • give advice on health risks
  • administer grants for certain improvement works to private supplies

We're required to regulate private water supplies which serve the following types of properties:

  • Rented properties
  • Tied properties (where a house goes along with a job)
  • Self-catering holiday properties
  • Business or commercial properties

The Water Intended for Human Consumption (Private Supplies) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 came into force in October of 2017 and requires that a risk assessment be carried out for Regulated Supplies at least once every 5 years and requires these supplies to be sampled annually.

Water sampling is carried out to determine the presence of bacterial and/or chemical contaminants which may have adverse health implications. Private water supplies can pose a threat to health unless the water is properly protected and treated. Contaminated water may smell, taste and look normal.

The frequency of sampling and the different bacteria and chemicals which are tested for are determined by the size of the supply and type properties using the water. For example, a large supply which includes commercial businesses such as hotels or caterers will be sampled more frequently for a range of parameters compared to a smaller domestic supply. Water borne infections such as Campylobacter, E.coli (O157) and Guardia can produce acute gastrointestinal symptoms whilst chemical contaminants are more likely to lead to chronic health effects.

If you think your water supply may be affecting your health contact your GP who, if necessary, can give containers to allow you to hand in a stool sample for analysis. You should also  to arrange for a water sample to be taken.

Failures can occur for numerous reasons: bacteriological and/or chemical. The absence of treatment on a private supply will provide no protection to water users. In addition to a risk to human health, failure of certain chemical parameters may also affect the efficiency of any treatment system.

Even having treatment such as filters, ultraviolet disinfection, and chlorination is no guarantee of safe water unless it is designed to cope with the raw water quality and flow rate at your property. Water treatment systems must also be carefully and regularly maintained.

Environmental Health can carry out a risk assessment of the supply and produce a report of Approved Improvement Works. There are also non-means tested grants of up to £800 per property available to assist with the cost of improvement works to your supply.

Where you're responsible for other properties such as tenants or holiday visitors, you must inform the water users about the sample failure(s) and ensure temporary measures are put into action.

At a mutually convenient date and time, trained and experienced officers from Environmental Health will arrange to look at the whole supply - from the source to the taps - to determine any risks to the health of anyone consuming the water the effectiveness of any control measures in place. 

Scottish Government offer grants for some private water supplies to improve, protect or be upgraded.

Grants of up to £800 per property are available without means testing and, in some circumstances, additional funding may also be available. Applications can be made by owner occupiers, landlords or tenants. 

We can't issue grants retrospectively for works which are already started or completed or to allow users to connect to the public mains water supply and grants aren't available for new build properties.

The first step is to have a water supply risk assessment conducted by officers from our Environmental Health team after which you'll get a letter detailing any works necessary for improvement and a grant application form. Group applications between neighbours are encouraged, but individual properties may also apply.

There are 2 types of private water supply:

  • Type A, which may affect public health through business use of volume of water
  • Type B, which is for domestic use only

Type A charges - business

You need to check Type A water supplies once a year.

You should contact us to discuss what type of check you need and the charge.

Type of checkCharge
Standard yearly check and audit£218.85
Carry out risk assessment£50

Type B charges - domestic

You can ask us to test the water if you live somewhere with a Type B supply.

You should contact us to discuss what type of check you need and the charge.

Type of checkCharge
Bacterial and chemical analysis£148.35
Risk assessment£50


Last modified on 1 April 2024