Quality rules extended to private water supplies

Regulations to safeguard the quality of private water supplies came into force in England and Wales on 1 January.1 They will pave the way to more systematic monitoring and improvement of water supplies serving hundreds of thousands of people. Local authorities' performance in this area will also be subject to formal central scrutiny for the first time.

The new regulations give belated effect to the 1980 EC Directive on drinking water quality in respect of private supplies.

The only previous action taken by the Government was to issue a circular advising local authorities how to apply the Directive. In 1985, it applied to the European Commission for a 10-year delay in applying the EC standards to all but the largest private supplies. Neither appears to have been acceptable to Brussels, a

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