Lead in drinking water is not usually a problem in our area as the hard water tends to produce a protective layer of limescale between the water and the pipes.
In properties built before the late 1970s lead pipes were often used to bring water from the mains in the street to the property. If your property was built after the late 1970s or has been modernised since, then the connecting pipes will probably be made of copper or plastic.
Inside your home – check the pipe leading to the internal stop valve (usually under the kitchen sink). Lead pipes are dark grey, soft and easily moulded.
Outside your home – open the flap of the stop valve and examine the pipe running towards your property. If you can, scrape its surface gently with a knife to reveal the pipe, which will be dark grey if it is lead.
If you want to change your lead pipes or need more information please contact Thames Water.
The UK standard for the concentration of lead in drinking water is a maximum of 25 parts per billion (ug/l). This applies to cold drinking water from the tap. Although these levels are safe, the Department of Health advises that action should be taken to reduce levels further, particularly if you are pregnant of have young children.
Thames Water monitor lead levels regularly by taking samples from randomly selected customers’ properties and all reading above the standard are declared to the customer and to the Environmental Health Department.