What to do if you think there might be lead in your water
You should contact us if you think there's lead in your water. Lead is harmful to human health, with children and pregnant women most at risk.
Medical advice and research shows that lead is most harmful to human health when people are exposed to it for a prolonged period.
Since 1970 it has been illegal to build new homes using lead fittings or pipes for water supply, but some older homes may still have lead pipes. .
If your home was built before 1970, it’s possible that your home could have lead water pipes as it has never been a legal requirement to replace lead pipes in homes built before the changes.
There are a few ways you can tell if you have lead pipes.
Unpainted lead pipes are a dull grey colour, and have swollen, rounded joints where they meet other pipes.
Lead is a soft metal and so if you tap a lead pipe with a metal object, like a coin, you will hear a dull thud rather than a clear ringing like you would with harder copper or iron pipe.
You can carry out a quick scratch test on exposed pipework to check if it’s made of lead.
What to do if you have lead pipes
If you do have lead pipes, you can arrange to remove the lead pipework and replace it with modern supply pipes through the Lead Replacement Scheme.
If you have lead pipes, removing them is the only way to get rid of lead from your drinking water. However, there are some ways you can reduce the likelihood of exposure to lead in you water.
- Only use the cold tap. It’s harder for lead to dissolve in cold water.
- Run the taps before you use any water for cooking or drinking. Flushing through any water that has been standing in the pipes for several hours will mean the water you use is less likely to have absorbed lead.
- There are some water filters that can remove trace lead amount from water. Make sure you change the cartridge often and check with the manufacturer that it is able to remove small amounts of lead.
Boiling water will not remove lead from it.
If you need more information, please take a look at Our Customer Guide To Replacing Lead Pipes.
Answering common household queries about your water quality