Where a local authority suspects that a supply is unwholesome or an indicator parameter has been breached it must investigate to establish the cause. If the water is a potential danger to human health it must serve a notice in accordance with regulation 18 (20 in Wales). This notice will temporarily require the supply to be prohibited or its use restricted and for the supply to be improved in the medium to long term (to a stated deadline) to mitigate those risks.
If the cause is not a potential danger to human health, remedial work must be completed within 28 days of establishing the cause, and where it is not, the local authority may serve a notice in accordance with section 80 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (remedial powers).
Local authorities are required to send copies of all regulation 18 (20 in Wales) and section 80 notices, served on relevant persons, to the Inspectorate. These should be sent via the DWI Enquiries email address (DWI.Enquiries@defra.gov.uk). This forms part of the requirement under regulation 14 (2) (16 (2) (a) in Wales) of The Regulations and is used to inform the Chief Inspector’s annual report.
If the relevant person has not provided the local authority with this information on request, the local authority can use its powers under section 85(1) of the Water Industry Act to serve a notice on any person requiring that person to provide the information including the pro forma wording of the advice in the notice.
A local authority is not allowed to charge for serving a notice under section 80 of the 1991 Act or a notice under regulation 18. However, if the local authority decides to take remedial action itself to improve a private supply (because for example the relevant person(s) had not taken action), the local authority can recover the costs of taking that action from the relevant person(s)
Any person (the relevant person(s) or any other person affected by the contents of a notice) can appeal, under regulation 19, (regulation 21 Wales) to the Magistrates court within 28 days of a notice being served. However, it is an offence under regulation 20 (regulation 22 Wales) to breach a notice served under regulation 18 (regulation 20 Wales) or to fail to comply with the requirements of the notice.