Wonderful on Tap
We want to make sure we all have plenty of our wonderful water - today, tomorrow and in the years to come. That’s why we’re starting our Green Recovery Programme. Green Recovery is a range of exciting projects, updating our water networks, making our region an even better place to live and using the latest technology to create a new Severn Trent fit for the future. One of the things we’re doing right now across Coventry is replacing customers’ old lead water supply pipes – at no cost.
It’s our water, together, let’s do right by it.
What we're doing
The pipeline between our main water supply and your home is your responsibility (or your landlord’s if you’re renting). If there’s a leak – which is more likely with older pipework – you would have to organise repairs.
If your house was built before 1970, you may have lead pipes and as part of our upgrade programme, we’re offering to replace these older pipes, if they are made of lead, at no cost to you. Normally this might cost you between £1,000 and £3,000. We’re offering to replace existing lead water supply pipes, in over 25,000 homes in Coventry, with safer 25mm plastic pipe which meet new industry standards. Read on for more information and how to sign up.
Check if you qualify
To have your supply pipes replaced, you must:
- Live within the CV1, CV2, CV3, CV4, CV5 or CV6 areas of Coventry
- Live in a home built before 1970
- Own your home or pay the mortgage
If you're not sure if your home was built before 1970, we can help you. We'll discuss it with you after you apply.
If you rent your home you'll need to get your landlord's permission before you get your supply pipes replaced.
A smarter way to use water
When we replace your pipe, we’ll connect a smart meter, which will identify if there are any problems, like a local leak. It will also show how your household uses water. If you already have a water meter, we’ll upgrade yours to a smarter one.
If you don’t already have a meter you won’t have to change how you get billed by us. But if you can save money by switching, we’ll let you know.
The pipes we'll replace
We'll replace any lead pipes that connect your home to our water network, from our water main to your kitchen tap.
That includes pipes in your property boundary that you'd normally be responsible for.
How it works
A step-by-step guide to what we'll do when we install your new supply pipes.
After you apply to have your lead pipes replaced, we'll contact you to arrange an inspection.
When the inspection day comes, our contractors will call you before they arrive to make sure you're at home.
When they arrive, they'll check some things inside and outside your home, such as:
- where your supply pipes and stop taps are
- if you share your supply pipes with your neighbours
They'll also carry out a flow and pressure test on the taps in your home.
After that, they'll talk to you about what happens next and explain how they'll install the new supply pipes and smart meter.
On installation day, we'll put up any necessary barriers and road traffic signs to make sure the area is safe for you, our team and people in the area.
It’s likely that we’ll be replacing pipes for your neighbours at around the same time.
There are two ways we can install your new supply pipes:
- Tunnelling underground using a tool called a mole
- Digging an open trench
We can only advise which installation method we will use when the team have completed the inspection.
Once we’ve installed your new supply pipes, we’ll reconnect your water supply to your new pipework and test everything, including your new smart meter.
After we've installed your new pipes, it's time for us to re-fill the holes and repair any ground surfaces. We call this reinstatement.
If we've had to dig up any part of your driveway, paths or any other part of your property, we'll talk to you about how we'll do this reinstatement and what materials we'll use.
How to find out if you have lead pipes
You can check if you have lead water pipes in a few simple steps.
Why you should replace your lead pipes
The benefits of getting your lead pipes replaced.
Replacing your water supply pipes could cost you up to £3,000, or even more in some cases.
As part of this project, we’ll pick up the costs.
These older pipes are more likely to leak. By upgrading your pipes you are minimising that risk, and potentially saving loads of money!
Get the best out of your water
Lead was mostly used in fresh water pipes before 1970.
We do everything we can to make sure your water meets Water Quality drinking standards when it reaches your property. But removing these old lead pipes from the water system means we can be even more sure that you’re getting the best of our water. Who says you can’t improve on perfection? Find out how we look after our water.
Lead pipes narrow as they age, which can restrict the flow to your taps.
Replacing them can help to improve this.
If you’re on a joint supply with your neighbour, we’ll switch you to a new single supply connection which can also improve the flow to your home.
Future-proofing your home
Upgrading your lead pipes now will safeguard your home from needing more extensive work done in the future, which could cost even more.
This will also make your house more attractive if you ever decide to sell, as the cost and hassle of replacing lead pipes could put off potential buyers.
If you have lead pipes but don't live in Coventry
If you don’t live in one of our Coventry trial areas, you can still get your pipes replaced.
We also have advice on how to reduce the health risks if you do have lead pipes.
How to reduce health risks of having lead pipes
Since 1970, it's been illegal for builders and plumbers to use lead pipes for drinking water.
There's no legal need for homeowners to replace existing lead pipes, but it can help reduce health risks.
While you still have lead pipes, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk.
Run the cold tap for at least two minutes at the start and end of every day. This will clear the water that’s been in contact with the lead pipe overnight.
You may need to run your tap for slightly longer than two minutes if you’ve got a very long lead service pipe. This is common if you live in a farmhouse, for example.
To make sure you don't waste the water you run off, you could collect it in a bowl or bottle and use it to water plants.