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  • Plumbing regulations - our role

    We are responsible for ensuring compliance with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999.

    These regulations have been designed to prevent waste, misuse, undue consumption, contamination and the incorrect measurement of water.

    Enforcing the regulations

    We have a dedicated water fittings team in our compliance department which is responsible for enforcing the regulations.

    The teams plays a key role in identifying any plumbing systems that could lead to deterioration or contamination of the public water supply and potentially affect public health.

    Operating across the Wessex Water region, the team of 10 comprises a manager, team leader, special projects manager, a scheduler and six inspectors.

    The team liaises and works in association with the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS).  

    Inspecting properties

    Our water fittings inspectors carry out inspections that are rated according to their risk and those that present the greatest risk to the water supply are prioritised.

    They also inspect plumbing systems to identify the cause if a sample taken fails.

    Inspections are carried out in a range of premises including:

    • private homes
    • public buildings
    • businesses
    • agricultural properties.

    We also attend one-off events such as festivals to ensure that water supplied using a temporary network remains wholesome.

    The team is currently focusing on public buildings and has inspected around 1,000 to date.

    Contravening the regulations

    Where the regulations are contravened, we record it and carry out an inspection and, where required, a contraventions report is sent to the person responsible outlining the work needed to rectify the problem.

    Contraventions are assigned a fluid category (see below) and an appropriate timescale set for the completion of the works.

    When the work is complete, a second inspection will be carried out to confirm that the contraventions have been rectified satisfactorily and the property is now compliant.

    Non-household properties

    Where there is a contravention at a non-household property, including public buildings, a report will be issued under Section 75 of the Water Industry Act 1991. 

    This is an enforcement notice to ensure the work is carried out and is a requirement of the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2016.

    We will take legal action against those responsible for rectifying the contraventions should they not be completed within the set timescale.

    Fluid categories

    • Category 1: wholesome water supplied by a water undertaker and complying with the requirements of the regulations.
    • Category 2: water in category one whose aesthetic quality is impaired owing to a change in its temperature or the presence of substances or organisms causing a change in its taste, odour or appearance.
    • Category 3: fluid that is a slight health hazard because of the concentration of substances of low toxicity.
    • Category 4: fluid that is a significant health hazard because of the concentration of toxic substances.
    • Category 5: fluid that is a serious health hazard because the concentration of pathogenic organisms, radioactive or very toxic substances.
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