The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is informing members that Northern Ireland Water is in the process of completing water regulation inspections.

The visits by NI Water will be pre-arranged with inspectors checking to ensure water systems comply with the regulations to avoid contamination of public water.

Farms with a dual water supply system are considered higher risk so are more likely to be inspected.

Are you ready?

UFU deputy president David Brown said: “The purpose of the inspections is to prevent waste, identify unnecessary water consumption and most of all, to prevent any cross-connection/back syphonage and contamination occurring in the public drinking water supply.

Members with a dual water supply system will be made high priority because they can have a connection to both the public mains and private borehole, creating a much greater risk.

“If contaminated water from a farm was to filter through into the public water supply, it would have the potential to affect the health of those in the wider community.”

John Mulgrave from the Water Regulations team said: “The two high-risk areas on farms that farmers should be aware of, are water drinkers and hoses.

“Due to the potential for back syphonage of contaminants through an attached hose, hose union taps pose a huge risk. An air gap is the only method of protection that is accepted by NI Water.

If water drinkers are directly connected to the mains water supply, they must incorporate suitable backflow protection.

“Where a gravity-fed cistern or header tank is used to supply water to an individual drinking bowl, it must be fitted with adequate backflow device such as a float operated valve.”

With the winter weather upon us, the UFU is reminding members to protect pipes against the freezing weather.

Under the regulations, all pipes and fittings that are above ground must be safeguarded from weather conditions as well as physical damage that could cause leaks or the release of contaminants.

UFU members can contact their technical officer for advice prior to a water regulation inspection being carried out on their farm.