Limited rainfall relieves pressure on private water supplies, but users urged to exercise caution over quality

After recent limited rainfall in parts of Aberdeenshire, it is thought that some previously dry private water supplies are being reinstated.
 
While this will be welcome news for many rural households, Aberdeenshire Council's environmental health team is urging caution over water quality.

In recent weeks it has been working to supply bottled water and bowsers to householders whose supplies have run dry during the warm, dry summer weather.
 
Following the recent rain, users of a previously dry supply that has water treatment measures installed should take the following advice:
 
• Continue to boil water for drinking, rinsing of uncooked food (eg fruit and vegetables) and brushing teeth
• Prior to returning to normal use have the system serviced and sterilised by a competent person
• Have the system sampled to ensure your treatment systems are in full working order
 
Users of supplies without treatment should continue to boil their water before use at all times.
 
For all users, if the area surrounding the source of the supply is used for agricultural purposes, contact environmental health before giving it to babies under three months, whether boiled or not.

The environmental health team is also happy to discuss possible grant funding for the installation of treatment measures where this would be helpful.
 
Significant rainfall over a prolonged period is required to replenish some supplies, but this is not expected in the near future, so previous advice to use water wisely still stands.
 
In addition, this summer’s weather is not considered to be a one-off and users of supplies which have dried up should think carefully about long term solutions to secure an ongoing, reliable water source.
 
Long term, the council is providing advice on future solutions to improve water security, including liaising with Scottish Water to facilitate mains connections.
 
Where that is not possible, improvements to the current source or forming a new supply can be considered and grants may be available for some of this work.
 
Environmental health team manager, Louise Cunningham, said: “Please be aware it may take some time for your water supply to return to normal and in some cases that may not happen at all.
 
"Your supply may be discoloured for a number of weeks as the water works its way through from your source. 
 
“We are assisting where we can and would encourage anyone who is having issues with their private supply to get in touch with us, both about short term solutions and thinking about the longer term.
 
“In addition to the risks posed by the low volume of water, private water supplies are also susceptible to bacterial or viral contamination, which can have serious health implications. You should contact your GP if you or anyone using a private water source suffers stomach cramps or pain or diarrhoea three or more times a day, especially if there are signs of blood in the stool.

“As always the most reliable water source is through a mains connection, but we understand this is not possible for all residents.”
 
If you need assistance regarding water supplies, contact the council on 01467 539539 during office hours or email: environmental@aberdeenshire.gov.uk
 
Some useful advice is also available on the Scottish Water website
 
NHS Inform has information on E Coli infection, one of the serious infections which can arise from drinking water from inadequately managed private water supplies.