Renfrewshire Council

Lead in drinking water

In Scotland, lead does not occur naturally in significant concentrations in our water supplies.

The problem arises when drinking water comes into contact with lead supply pipes, lead tanks, lead solder joints on copper pipes, or inferior quality brass fittings and taps, particularly for longer periods (e.g. overnight/weekends/holiday periods). This can result in high lead levels in the drinking water supply. 

Information on the health effects of exposure to lead can be found on the NHS Inform website

If you have any concerns about your drinking water supply containing lead, please contact us and we can offer advice and if considered necessary, take a sample of water from your kitchen tap to determine whether it has excessive levels of lead within it. 

Practical steps to reduce lead in drinking water

If you think you have lead pipe work within your house, you should follow these simple steps until you are able to replace them:

  • Always take your drinking and cooking water directly from a mains-fed tap. This is normally the tap at the kitchen sink.
  • Never use water for drinking or cooking from any hot tap. Warm water increases the amount of lead that is absorbed from plumbing.
  • Run the mains tap first thing in the morning to flush out any water that has been lying overnight before using any water for drinking or cooking. You should also do this if the water has not been used all day (e.g. when you're out at work) and always before making up bottle feeds for infants.
  • Two minutes is usually enough to flush out this water. However, if your service pipe is longer than average, you'll need to allow a bit longer for the water to flush through.

Are Grants Available to Replace Lead Pipes?

Unfortunately grants are generally no longer available to pay for the replacement of lead pipes within your home.

The Council has published a 'Scheme of Assistance' for home owners regarding general improvements to their home which can be found here.