Committee backs plans to sign service level agreement with drinking water inspectorate

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Alderman Stephen Moutray

Adam Morton

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Local Democracy Reporter

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council looks set to sign a service level agreement (SLA) with the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) to undertake risk assessments and sampling of private water supplies in the borough.

A report on the proposed SLA was brought before the environmental services committee on Tuesday, June 7, where members of the committee were told it is planned the agreement will remain in place for the next two years and will be reviewed thereafter.

The SLA sets out the role of the council in providing the professional services of council staff where they are acting as agents of the DWI. It will enable the council to provide sampling, risk assessment and investigatory services, including staff and resources to DWI and to define each party’s role, responsibilities and obligations.

It sets out the roles and responsibilities of both the council and the DWI with regards to: private supplies registration; private supplies risk assessment; private supplies sampling; private supplies investigations and private supplies training/competency.

An annual programme of sampling will be issued each year by DWI and AB Council will receive the appropriate fee for each of the required activities.

Across the borough, 17 premises are subject to a risk assessment on a rolling basis per five year period and 45 sampling visits to premises over the year which results in roughly 450 samples taken each year.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs pays the council for each activity. The fee for each activity is determined on a cost recovery basis and is subject to a review.

A proposal to approve the signing of the SLA between the council and the DWI in relation to the provision of services in support of the regulation of private water supplies was put forward by Alderman Stephen Moutray and seconded by his DUP party colleague Councillor Lavelle McIlwrath with the committee voicing its support for the proposal.

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