Accommodation businesses

Private water supplies: accommodation businesses

This page has information for accommodation business owners about water supply safety. 

Private water supplies are any supplies that provide drinking water from an independent source. 

Private water supplies include all of the following:

  • water pumped from rivers or creeks
  • rainwater
  • groundwater from bores.

Private water supplies and accommodation businesses

Water supplied for drinking and cooking in accommodation businesses must comply with the Australian drinking water guidelines. 

This is because untreated water from private supplies may contain microbiological or chemical contamination.

Some contaminants can't be detected by taste or smell.

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

  • register with the Department of Health
  • demonstrate that your water is safe by arranging a yearly water sample test.

Water testing

You must arrange for a yearly water sample test that shows:

  • no detections of E. coli in 100ml of water
  • safe concentrations of nirtrate, nitrite and fluoride
  • safe amounts of selected metals.

The water sample must be taken from the kitchen tap or other relevant source.

If your water sample test meets health guidelines, you can wait five years before testing again.

What to do if your private water supply is not safe to drink

If a water sample test does not meet health guidelines (i.e. E. coli is detected) you must:

  • provide bottled water to guests for drinking
  • display signs at water taps in guest rooms stating that the water is not safe to drink.

The Department of Health will advise you of any extra steps you need to take. 

How to get water tested

NTG Water Microbiology Laboratories provide water testing services.

You can also get your water tested at any accredited laboratory.

NTG Water Microbiology Laboratories

Darwin
Phone: (08) 8999 2347

Alice Springs 
Phone: (08) 8951 8110

The owner of the water supply will need to pay for water testing.

Metal analysis for drinking water supplies

Private drinking water supplies must not exceed metal health thresholds outlined in the Australian drinking water guidelines. 

MetalSymbolHealth thresholdUnits
AluminiumAIN/AN/A
AntimonySb3

µg/L

ArsenicAs10µg/L
BariumBa2mg/L
BerylliumBe60µg/L
BoronB4mg/L
BromineBrN/AN/A
CadmiumCd2µg/L
ChromiumCr50µg/L
CopperCu2mg/L
IodineIN/AN/A
IronFeN/AN/A
LeadPb10

µg/L

ManganeseMn500

µg/L

MercuryHg1

µg/L

MolybdenumMo50

µg/L

NickelNi20

µg/L

SeleniumSe10

µg/L

TinSnN/AN/A
UraniumU17

µg/L

ZincZnN/AN/A

For more information contact Enviromental Health.

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Last updated: 13 October 2017