Groundwater

Groundwater resources are essential to many individuals, companies and communities to supply water for drinking, agriculture and industry. Groundwater also maintains wetlands and river flow during dry spells and is vital to the maintenance of their rich ecology and biodiversity.

We aim to provide a sustainable future for Scotland's groundwater resources by protecting  the water environment and other legitimate uses of groundwater.

Groundwater can be adversely affected by a range of activities and there is specific legislation and guidance covering each activity.

On 16 January 2017 the UK Technical Advisory Group (UKTAG) and the Joint Agency Groundwater Directive Group (JAGDAG) published reports on groundwater hazardous substance standards and determinations as to whether a substance is hazardous or non-hazardous.

The Scottish Government intends to consult on the implementation of both of these in the coming months.

 

Find out more about how your proposed activity may have an effect on groundwater and how to comply with regulations aimed at managing and protecting it: 

Abstraction

See our abstraction web page.

Agriculture

See our agriculture web page.

Cemeteries

The burial of corpses and their subsequent degradation may pose a risk of pollution of groundwater.

While we recognise the sensitivity associated with burial sites, we also have a duty to ensure the protection of groundwater.

If you need further information in relation to cemeteries and groundwater please read the main legislation and policy guidance relating to groundwater and cemeteries:

Chemical storage

The storage and transfer of chemicals carries a risk of spillages and leaks and groundwater is at risk of pollution if the chemical is mobile and if there is a route of entry.

The best way to protect groundwater is to prevent leaks and spills – however, should an incident take place, appropriate containment and collection can still prevent groundwater contamination.

If you need further information in relation to chemical storage and groundwater please read the main legislation and policy guidance relating to groundwater and chemical storage:

Legislation

Guidance

Contaminated land

See our Contaminated land section.

Discharges

Examples of discharges to groundwater include disposal of sewage, trade effluent and surface water (run-off from urban areas).

If you need further information in relation to discharges and groundwater please read the main legislation and policy guidance relating to discharges:

Legislation

Guidance

Ground engineering works

If inappropriately located or inadequately controlled, engineering activities which take place on or below the ground, such as mining, quarrying, building activities and road construction can have an adverse impact on both the quality and quantity of groundwater and dependent wetlands and surface water features.

If you need further information in relation to ground engineering works and groundwater please read the main legislation and policy guidance relating to ground engineering works.

Legislation

Guidance

Other information

A research and development project to assess the impact of opencast coal mining on water quality was undertaken on our direction in 2004: Evaluating the Potential Impact of Opencast Coal Mining on Water Quality (Groundwater Regulations 1998): An Assessment Framework for Scotland

Planning

See our Planning section.

Waste

See our Waste section.

Energy

See our Energy section.

Contact us

If you require any further help or advice on any aspect of how groundwater regulation may affect your activity, please contact us.