Private water supplies after floods or storms

Actions to take regarding private water supplies potentially affected by flooding.

Private water supplies may be contaminated with floodwater and may not be suitable for drinking. Floodwater can contain sewage and harmful microorganisms. 

Ensure you have adequate supplies of safe drinking water when returning to your property if necessary eg. a supply of bottled water or mains water if available from friends or relatives, this may need to be used until your supply has been restored. 

The water supply should also not be used if the tank or connecting pipework has been damaged, or where flood water has been in contact with taps or connections within or outside the home. 

Electrical safety:  

If you know or suspect that electrical equipment associated with your water supply has been affected, it is recommended that it is inspected and declared fit for use by a suitably qualified electrician before attempting to restore the supply. 

Restoring your water supply: 

The steps to restore your water supply will depend on the source of water. Sources such as boreholes, rivers and lochs may have been contaminated with sewage and microorganisms from floodwaters. If the water source has been contaminated, the usual treatment processes may not provide adequate treatment, particularly if water is coloured or cloudy. Where necessary water may need to be filtered and boiled before use. 

Before you start:

When inspecting your supply ensure you have considered the health and safety of yourself and anyone involved who may be working in or around water or waterlogged ground.

Actions to take:

The supply should be checked from abstraction point to taps for damage and filters are likely to need changing more frequently due to suspended solids. Storage or intermediate tanks, as well as loft tanks may also require cleaning. Collection points may have been dislodged or blocked.

Once the water supply has been restored, flush all associated taps for a few minutes (or longer depending on the length of pipework involved) to remove any contaminated water in the plumbing lines. Remove any screens, filters, flow regulators and aerators and thoroughly clean them (where reusable) tap and all parts with hot water and detergent, suitable for use with food contact items. Apply a mild disinfectant, (suitable for contact with food items or for drinking water disinfection) to the tap and its parts. Rinse well, reassemble the tap and again run it for a few minutes before use. Replace any filters and ensure if disinfection is via UV system that the quartz sleeve is clean, and the bulb operational and has been renewed within the previous year (or as required by manufacturers handbook). If you have any concerns regarding the microbiological quality boil water and cool before use.


Our website contains more information regarding maintenance and operating of private water supplies, and grants that may be available for their improvement There is also a leaflet regarding maintenance of UV systems.


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