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Water quality and pollution

Monitoring of swimming pools

Swimming 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.

We have 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 working 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.

Contact details for Scottish Water are 0800 0778 778.

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). 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

Read information about lead poisoning.

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 throughout the bathing season.

Statutory information is posted at all designated bathing beaches. North Ayrshire bathing beaches have electronic signs. From 1 June signs will display:

  1. the current water classification
  2. a description of the bathing water 

Official classifications are available from SEPA.

Private water supplies within North Ayrshire

Not all properties have a public water supply.

In North Ayrshire there are approximately 280 known private supplies. Most of these are in Arran. The council has a duty to ensure that these supplies are:

  • identified
  • categorised by risk
  • tested annually, if it is a regulated supply

Improvement grants

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

Improvement Grants of £800 per property are available where supplies are failing the prescribed bacteriological and/or chemical parameters. 


For eligibility criteria visit mygov.scot website.

Request a grant application form by emailing Environmental Health.

More information

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

Public register

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

Contact Environmental Health




01294 324339


North Ayrshire Council, Housing & Public Protection, Environmental Health, Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE