Carter Jonas
Carter Jonas

Borehole owners could be high and dry despite abundant water

“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink”.

So wrote Samuel Taylor Coleridge in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but whilst his epic poem told the story of a group of sailors dying of thirst, he could just as well have been referring to the difficulties faced by some users of rural boreholes after the disastrously wet winter of 2013-14 who were confronted with saturated ground that rendered water supplies unfit to drink.

For estate owners and farms with boreholes, the problems can be considerable as many boreholes were sunk a long time before the existing regulations came into force, meaning outdated equipment and infrastructure still remain commonplace.

Should the water fail a quality test the repercussions can be lengthy and expensive. It could include up to two years in prison for those found guilty of failing to comply with The Private Water Supplies Regulations 2009, legislation that requires local authorities to test the water from private boreholes at least annually and to conduct a risk assessment within five years of the Regulations coming into force (January 1, 2010).

The exceptionally wet winter of 2013/14 resulted in larger than usual quantities of organic matter washing into aquifers, leading to failed tests during the summer. In many cases, subsequent inspection by the local authority has resulted in expensive modifications to meet the new standards.

The rural team at Carter Jonas has been working with borehole owners to conduct independent appraisals of the suitability of existing installations and to offer assistance with upgrading networks to ensure compliance with the regulations without the cost and time pressure of a full refit that can result from a Local Authority Section 18 notice.

The Met Office has recently predicted a “wetter than average” winter coming our way and the last thing that borehole owners and their tenants or customers need is a lengthy interruption to water supplies whilst investigations and upgrades are carried out.

Our advice is to get a network and infrastructure check now under your own steam. The process can be lengthy but is preferable to failing a test. The ramifications of having a Section 18 notice served on you can be difficult.

christopher turner

Christopher Turner

Associate Partner

Christopher is part of the rural team, carrying out management and professional services for private clients in the Newbury area. He specialises in the management of rural countryside estate, providin...

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