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Water quality monitoring

Monitoring of swimming pools

Pool water requires constant monitoring. This is to make sure that the condition of the water is optimal for bather load. The chemical and bacteriological quality of the water must be checked to ensure it is safe for use.

Environmental Health monitors the quality of public swimming pools. They are responsible for enforcing health and safety requirements on private pool operators.

Public water supplies

The public water supply is the prime responsibility of Scottish Water

They carry out quality control sampling:

  • at treatment works 
  • at customers' taps
  • on receipt of complaints.

The local authority has a statutory duty to ensure that public water supplies are wholesome and adequate. Environmental Health monitors supplies by taking samples for bacteriological and chemical analysis and by liaising with Scottish Water and the Drinking Water Quality Regulator. Sampling is done both routinely and following complaint where there may be a public health dimension to the complaint.

Call Scottish Water on 0800 731 0840.

Lead in water

In Scotland, lead does not occur naturally in significant concentrations in our water supplies.

Problems may arise when drinking water comes into contact with:

  • lead supply pipes
  • lead tanks
  • lead solder joints on copper pipes, or inferior quality brass fittings and taps

particularly for long periods (overnight, weekends, holiday periods). This can result in high lead levels in the drinking water supply.   

If you suspect you may have lead pipes, we encourage you to undertake works to:

  • establish whether lead is present 
  • take steps to replace them
  • in the short term, implement precautionary measures to protect your health.   

Information on the health effects of exposure to lead can be found on the NHS Inform website.

Water pollution control

River and sea water quality is the responsibility of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Call them on 01292 294000

There are designated bathing beaches at:

  • Ardrossan South Beach/Saltcoats Beach
  • Irvine
  • Largs Pencil Beach
  • Newton Bay Millport 
  • Seamill

where SEPA samples seawater at least once a fortnight from June to September.

Environmental Health publishes the results on display boards at the locations.  

Private water supplies within North Ayrshire

Not all properties have a public water supply; some must make their own private arrangements.

In North Ayrshire there are 280 known private supplies, the majority of which are in Arran. The council has a duty to ensure that these supplies are:

  • identified
  • categorised by risk
  • in the case of supplies with commercial use (Type A), tested annually.

Improvement Grants

Improvement Grants of £800 per property are available where supplies are failing the prescribed bacteriological and/or chemical parameters. For more information please contact Environmental Health.

Private supplies tend to be unreliable. They need much supervision and maintenance which is not always provided by owners. A connection to the public water supply is generally a better and safer option. 

More information

Information about private water supplies can be obtained from the Scottish Government website.

Public register

A public register of supplies is maintained and an Annual Return is made to the Scottish Government's Drinking Water Quality Regulator.