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Water quality - Drinking water

Drinking water

Mains water is supplied by Southern Water, who have an extensive monitoring programme of chemical and bacteriological sampling to ensure that the water reaching your tap is safe.

Adur & Worthing Councils do not undertake mains water sampling but receive reports from Southern Water on this monitoring programme. Southern Water also provides additional reports whenever there is an incident which might affect the quality of mains water supplies.

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Adur & Worthing Councils, the Drinking Water Inspectorate and the Environment Agency all have roles in ensuring the safety of drinking water within our districts.

In the interests of public health, Adur & Worthing Councils undertake sampling of drinking water beyond the scope of Southern Water. This includes private water supplies (water from boreholes and wells) and ship water that may become stored for prolonged periods.

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Private water supplies

A private supply provides water that does not originate from a water company. Instead, the source may be a well, spring, borehole or stream. This water needs to be wholesome so those who drink it, or products made from it, may do so without risk to their health.

Adur & Worthing Councils have a duty, under the Private Water Supply Regulations 2009, to risk assess and monitor wholesomeness of private supplies providing water to two or more properties. There are three such private water supplies in Adur; two are located on farms and one at a residence. These are all boreholes and supply a total of 20 properties. There are no private water supplies in Worthing.

Water is sampled according to the size of a private water supply and its risk rating. Samples are couriered to the laboratories of the Health Protection Agency to be analysed for the presence of potentially harmful bacteria and assessed for other parameters, such as taste and odour. Where relevant, wholesomeness is also gauged by testing for metals and chemicals.

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Ship water

Ship water sampling is undertaken on board vessels berthed at Shoreham Port at the request of the shipping agents. This is generally conducted in conjunction with an International Ship Sanitation Certificate. Occasional emergency sampling may be required where a number of crew have become ill and the water supply is suspected. Although the drinking water on board ships may originate from a wholesome mains supply, bacteria can establish when water in the tanks has been stored for too long.

Samples are taken from galley taps and any other drinking sources on board and immediately delivered to the Environmental Microbiology Unit at Haywards Heath Hospital for analysis. The results are provided as a coliform count for a given measurement of the sample; therefore the higher the count then the poorer the water quality. If levels of potentially harmful bacteria are found to be too high then it is recommended that the water tanks are emptied, the system is flushed through and a fresh supply is used.

Port health

This service controls the health risks posed by ships, their cargoes or crews.

We do this by:

  • boarding and inspecting ships
  • examining food preparation facilities
  • issuing international ships' certificates confirming they are pest free

For more information, please contact the Public Health & Regulation Team.

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