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Do you know the 'water law'?

image depicting Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe
Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe
As WRAS and water companies launch a campaign to raise awareness of plumbing notification laws, Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe, explains why responsible businesses need to take steps to protect the drinking water of their employees and neighbours.

Contrary to popular belief, water can become dangerous when plumbing is left in the hands of unqualified professionals.

A contamination incident in Staffordshire was a stark reminder that businesses should notify their local water company when they modify their pipework. A local haulage company sank a new borehole to wash their vehicles and illegally cross connected it to the public water supply, contaminating their neighbours' drinking water. People in 17 homes had to boil their water until the supply was made safe.

The well drilling company was successfully prosecuted and fined a total of £15,102.40, including costs. Events like this could be prevented if planned plumbing work is notified to the local water company - something that businesses are legally obliged to do.

Water companies have experts in plumbing who can review plans and spot contraventions. Putting right plumbing before work begins is significantly cheaper than putting it right after it has been installed. It's all in day's work for water company water regulations teams. One water company recently told me that a contractor who had re-built six schools had to spend £130k to put right contraventions after failing to notify his plans in advance. That's an expense any business could do without.

Companies should only entrust their plumbing to qualified professionals. That's why WRAS helped set up WaterSafe - the national register of qualified plumbers backed by UK water companies and drinking water quality regulators. WaterSafe approved plumbers are fully qualified to carry out plumbing work in homes and businesses.

They have specific training in the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws, which enables them to ensure there should be no risk from poor installation or sub-standard materials that could cause contamination of your drinking water supply. They will also make sure that any work is notified correctly and that homes and businesses meet their legal obligations.

With nearly 3,000 plumbing business to choose from, it's easy to find a competent plumber near you who can keep your water safe and save unnecessary expense.

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