Environmental regulations

Stringent UK and European legislation governs much of the work we do, in both the supply of drinking water and the treatment and safe recycling of wastewater.

The quality of your drinking water has to comply with the tough Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations set and enforced by the UK’s Drinking Water Inspectorate.

We collect samples from our water supply network every day, seven days of the week, 365 days of the year.

Our scientists then carry out over 600,000 tests, for over 100 different substances, each year, to ensure you receive drinking water which is among the best in Europe.

Water supply is a key part of our business – we supply more than 540 million litres every day to over one million households – which is why we continue to undertake massive investment in new plant, technology and pipework.


Environment Agency

Our environmental regulator is the Environment Agency. It monitors the company's performance to ensure environmental standards, driven by both UK and European legislation, are met.

In addition, the agency gives consent for environmental schemes that we need to carry to continue making improvements to the supply of drinking water and the treatment of wastewater.

Again, these environmental demands are driven by both UK and European legislation.


Wastewater treatment

Legislation for the standard of wastewater treatment is enshrined in the EC Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, which lays down the minimum standards that must be applied.

It requires a minimum of a secondary “biological” treatment process on all wastewater treatment.

The Directive can also require a further, third, stage of treatment for those rivers or bathing waters which are officially designated as sensitive, and for which there is a population equivalent of more than 10,000 people.



A further piece of legislation concerning wastewater treatment is the EC Shellfish Waters Directive, which aims to protect shellfish populations by setting water quality standards in areas where shellfish grow and reproduce.

The Directive requires that certain substances, which can threaten the survival of shellfish or inhibit their growth, are monitored in the water in which the shellfish live.

For each substance, the Directive specifies the minimum number of samples to be taken, the standards to be met and the percentage of samples that must meet these standards.


Bathing water

Finally, under the EC Bathing Water Directive, the Environment Agency take samples between May and September each year to monitor the seawater quality, and specifically check bacteria levels, at 83 designated bathing waters in our region.

The Directive requires that 19 out of 20 weekly samples must meet stringent criteria which determine the levels of bacteria found in those samples.