When water leaves our treatment works and water mains it doesn’t have lead in it, but water can pick up lead if it goes through old lead pipework. Lead can be found in the pipework which goes from the water main to inside your home. Homes built before 1970 are likely to have lead pipes. Lead can also be found in brass fittings and lead based solder used on copper pipes.
Currently we add phosphate to the water which forms a barrier on the inside of lead pipes and is very effective at reducing the amount of lead that can dissolve into the water. However this barrier can be broken if pipes are disturbed with small ground movement such as growing trees, home renovations and nearby traffic.
As it is best to minimise your level of lead intake as much as possible we think it’s best to remove the lead pipe and replace it. We have a programme of work in place to replace our lead communication pipes to meet our goal of becoming free from lead pipes. We analyse data to inform us where to prioritise our replacement schemes. A scheme consists of a number of streets in one location. In addition we also replace our lead communication pipes on an adhoc basis. This includes: