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If your home was built before 1970, you may have lead water pipes. You can replace them through the Lead Replacement Scheme.

Lead replacement scheme

If your home was built before 1970, there’s a chance it will have lead pipes. The Lead Replacement Scheme can help you to update your pipework.

What to do if you have lead pipes in your home

If your home was built before 1970, there’s a chance it will have lead pipes. Lead from these pipes can seep into the water you drink which, over a very long period, can be harmful.  

It’s the responsibility of the homeowner to replace lead pipes within the boundary of the property.

While it is not a legal requirement to replace them, over time lead from these old style pipes can get into your drinking water and potentially damage your health.

We really want to make sure everyone in our region is using safe, modern pipes, so here’s how to check and replace yours.

How to find out if you have lead water pipes

In 1969, building regulations changed. Part of these changes meant that it became illegal to use lead pipes in water supplies.

If your house was built in or after 1970, you shouldn’t have lead pipes. If your house is older than that, you might need to check the pipes, as it has never been a legal requirement to replace lead pipes in homes built then.

To check if you have lead pipes, you will need to:

  • Find where the mains water pipe enters your property (it’s usually under your kitchen sink, in the downstairs toilet or under the stairs)
  • Scrape the pipe gently with a coin. If you see a shiny, silver-coloured metal underneath you’ll know it’s a lead pipe
Scratching lead pipes can produce some small amounts of lead dust. Lead dust can be harmful if breathed in, so pleased take care if you carry out this pipe test. It might be worth wearing a face mask if possible.


How to apply for the Lead Replacement Scheme

If you find that you have lead pipes in your home, the Lead Replacement Scheme could help you to install new pipes. Replacement is quick, easy and could be one of the most important things you do. 

You’re responsible for all pipes on your property - including internal pipes and the underground supply pipe that connects your home to the public water mains.

If you want to get your lead pipes replaced, you should use our list of approved WaterMark plumbers in your area to find an experience and trustworthy professional to carry out the work. You'll need to make sure the plumber you find is able to carry out underground work.

We recommend getting at least three quotes before agreeing to any work, to help find a price that suits your budget.

You can read our customer guide to replacing lead pipes before you apply.

If you need more information, please take a look at Our Customer Guide To Replacing Lead Pipes.