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Lead testing in Edinburgh and the Lothians

Revisions to the Repairing Standard – a statutory guidance for private landlords – require proprietors to guarantee that the water supply in their private rented properties is free of lead pipes, lead lined storage tanks as well as fittings containing lead from 1 March 2024.

Lead service pipes were phased out in the 1960s and became illegal in 1969. Following this change, iron, plastic, or copper were used for linings. Scottish Water recommends that if the property was built before 1970, there is a possibility that it could have had lead pipes. When water becomes in contact with lead pipes, lead-lined tanks, or lead-solder, especially for longer periods of time, it absorbs lead.

A part of a landlord’s risk assessment is making sure a property is free from hazards and safe for tenants. If you are renting out a property, as the landlord, you are responsible for checking your water systems are safe. 

The Government guidance suggests that water should be tested at all outlets between the stopcock and the kitchen tap. Most properties would only need to test for lead in the kitchen tap. Additional outlets such as basins, baths and utility rooms must be tested only if they are situated between the boundary stopcock and the kitchen tap.

If the lead content is at or above 10 micrograms per litre it indicates that some lead exists in the pipework. The landlord must inform the tenants immediately. As provisional safeguarding tenants may be advised not to drink water that has been standing in pipes for long periods – for instance overnight or if no-one has been in for several hours. It is also highly recommended to use a washing-up bowl of water to clear the water which has been standing in the pipes before using it for drinking or cooking.

An accurate test must be carried out to determine whether the water is lead free. The water should then be re-sampled to guarantee that the lead content is below 10 micrograms per litre.

David Love Electrician & Plumber provides independent high-standard water quality testing at the cost of £100 +VAT per property. We will carry out sampling and testing to legislation standards.