Drinking Water Storage
Water tanks that are designed to store water that is fit for human consumption, or potable water tanks, must be made out of materials that adhere to WRAS (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) guidelines. In order for a manufacturer to adhere to the WRAS scheme they must first submit their product to the WRAS for rigorous testing and assessment to ensure compliance with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999. If the water storage tank passes this inspection then a certificate of conformity will be issued to the manufacturer. This ensures that whoever purchases the tank can be sure that the necessary tests have been undertaken and should they wish to store potable water in it then it is safe to do so.
The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 also apply to all UK water companies who are obliged to adhere to them, in all aspects of their work. The regulations are there to prevent inefficient use of water, the waste, misuse, undue consumption, incorrect measurement of water and most importantly in this instance, to prevent contamination of drinking water supplies.
The standard BSEN 806-5 - Specification for installations inside buildings conveying water for human consumption also applies to all properties in the UK. This standard details specific requirements for the operation and maintenance of installations inside buildings. Following installation a maintenance regime for the water tank will need to be followed; this could include checking for structural integrity, checking the overflow remains correctly positioned and the inspecting the general cleanliness and condition of the tank.
The WRAS is a private advisory scheme based in South Wales; it is funded by all 26 water suppliers in the UK. The scheme was originally set up in 2008 and serves to provide information with the following aims:
- To raise awareness and understanding of the Water Fittings Regulations*, through marketing and communications, advice, consultation, education and professional development.
- To provide approval scheme, processes and guidance to enable organisations and individuals to demonstrate compliance with the Water Fittings Regulations*.
- To provide cost effective support to water companies by providing guidance to enable consistent interpretation and enforcement of the Water Fittings Regulations*.
- To represent the UK water supply industry as one voice on the Water Fittings Regulations and contribute to the development of relevant guidance, codes of practice and standards. To help represent the UK water supply industry in the development of national and international water standards
From a consumers point of view it is important when selecting a potable water tank that the actual tank itself is WRAS approved and not just the materials that it has been manufactured from. If you are unsure ask your supplier prior to making a purchase to ensure that you are getting the right product for your requirements.