Installing a refill unit

Installing a public water refill station

There are various steps to follow and checks to be made to ensure water quality is protected from deterioration and a safe supply provided to all consumers.

Which make or model of unit?

Some checks must be made before connecting one of these units to the mains drinking water supply.

Any unit or other associated fittings to be connected to our network must meet the requirements of Regulation 4 of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999. This is a requirement for all plumbing fittings intended for connection to the mains water supply. 

They must be of an appropriate quality and standard and bear either a CE mark, conforming to an appropriate British or other European standard, or have been granted approval by an accredited tester (eg, KIWA, WRAS, NSF).

You’ll find a list of approved refill units and water fountains in the WRAS (Water Regulation Advisory Service) product directory

Water bottle refill units without a current approval certificate will not be authorised to connect to the mains water supply. This is to ensure the unit's water quality remains safe and wholesome and is not at risk of deterioration, potentially affecting the health of consumers who use it.


Once you’ve selected a unit, you must decide where it needs to go.

You should consider the following points to ensure it’s located in a hygienic environment in order to safeguard the water quality.

  • To prevent contamination from bird droppings and other animals, do not locate the unit underneath or close to trees.
  • If you can’t avoid proximity to trees, a shield or cover must be installed to protect the unit. 
  • Don't locate the unit inside public wash rooms, close to areas used for waste disposal or other similar unhygienic environments. 

If possible, select an area you know has a water supply already or existing water mains nearby to which it can be connected. This will affect which of the processes you need to follow in the diagram below. 

To ensure good circulation of water to the unit, the pipe should not be oversized and should be no greater than 10m in length (for a 25mm diameter pipe). Otherwise, a flushing programme may be needed to keep the supply  fresh – see the ownership section below. 

If you’re not sure of the best location for a unit, our customer experience team is available to discuss the options and offer advice. They can be
contacted via email.



Follow either the (a) Notification of installation (Regulation 5) route or (b) New Connection route.

Notification of installation (Regulation 5)

If you already have an existing supply to which you wish to connect the refill unit, then a Regulation 5 Notification form is required for alteration of existing supply:

Go to the Plumbing work – notifications  

Download the Regulation 5 notification form. Answer all the questions in full, include the meter number of the existing supply and what it is currently used for. 

Return the application form to

If you don’t already have an existing supply to which you can connect the refill unit, then a New Supply Connection is required:

Apply for a new supply connection


The team processing your application will be able to answer any further questions and will guide you through the process until the unit is

We’ve provided a guidance diagram for a typical water refill unit installation below. All units must have as a minimum a single check valve installed on the inlet supply.

Refer to the installation requirement notes (IRNs) accompanying the approved product and ensure they are followed, otherwise the
installation won’t meet the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999. These can be found in the online WRAS approved product directory with the entry for the product.

If the unit is going to be located outside, exposed to weather and other elements, ensure it’s a model that can cope with extreme cold
temperatures, or that extra measures are taken to reduce the risk of water freezing.

Please provide full specifications for the unit and any other accessories to be installed, such as a water cooler, within your application. Wherever possible, include copies of the approval certificates for the product. These can be obtained from the manufacturer. 

Drainage must also be taken into consideration – unused or waste water from the unit must drain away into one of the following:

  • soakaway (check suitable soil type)
  • foul sewer (requires a new connection to a sewer)
  • surface run-off gully or sewer (requires
    approval from the local authority).

Diagram of refill unit installation

Connection approval

We will check that the location and unit selected are appropriate for a water bottle refill unit and, once approved, will give advice to progress the

We'll need to carry out a site visit to confirm the installation meets the regulations before the connection can be made. This is to prevent the
water quality deteriorating.

If an existing supply connection is to be used, the premises this is supplying will also be inspected to ensure nothing can backflow into
the supply to the refill unit. 

The applicant will be responsible for arranging a contractor to carry out work required for the installation on the private pipework. We will
carry out any work required on our pipes and other assets.


All water bottle refill units will be metered to monitor unit usage and detect leaks. Metering will either be a part of the existing supply or installed by us at the same time as the new connection.


The owner of the water supply to the unit will be responsible for the following. 

  • Unit maintenance. This should meet the manufacturer’s specification. 
  • Regular cleaning programme. This is recommended for the life of the unit to protect the drinking water quality from deterioration. 
  • An appropriate flushing regime. This will be required as part of the maintenance programme for the life of the unit. This is especially important after prolonged periods where it has not been used, for instance, if switched off in the winter. The supply pipe to the unit should be flushed several times.
  • Monitoring. We recommend a sample of water is taken during commissioning of the unit and satisfactory test results received before it is made available to the public. 

Regular monitoring should be carried out to ensure the water quality does not deteriorate. If any issues are detected, they should be resolved swiftly.

Diagram of pipework and refill unit ownership

Any other questions?

Water regulations

If you have any queries regarding this document or would like to discuss further, please contact us email

New connections team

If you would like to discuss the new supply application process please call 01225 526222

or  email