Private water supplies: food or accommodation businesses

If your business provides drinking water or uses untreated water you must make sure the water is safe to use by customers and staff.

Water for drinking and cooking must comply with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

This is because untreated water may contain microbiological or chemical contamination that can't be detected by taste or smell.

You can find the guidelines on the Australian Government's National Health Medical Research Council website.

What you need to do

If your business provides water from a private supply you must:

  • register with the Department of Health
  • demonstrate that your water is safe by arranging water sample tests when you register or renew your business.

Water testing

The water you test must be taken from a kitchen tap or other relevant source.

You must arrange and pay for the below tests.

Bacteriological test

As a minimum you must get your water tested for bacteria. There must be no E. coli bacteria in 100mL of water tested to pass.

Chemical test

Private drinking water supplies must not exceed trace metal and other health thresholds outlined in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

If your water sample meets the guidelines, you can wait five years before taking this test again.

If the water is not safe

If a water sample test does not meet health guidelines - for example, if E. coli is detected - you must contact Environmental Health for advice.

You can get the contact details of your closest Environmental Health office on the Department of Health website.

Water management plans

Developing a water management plan will help you to understand your drinking water system and better manage any risks.

Find out how to manage private water supplies.

Last updated: 17 September 2019

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