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Lead testing in Edinburgh and the Lothians

As a result of government revisions to the Repairing Standard legislation in Scotland, landlords are required to guarantee that the water supply in their private rented properties is free of lead from the 1st of March 2024.

Lead was the primary metal for mains water supplies, domestic water pipes and storage tank linings until 1969, when it was made illegal. They replaced it with iron, plastic or copper.

Scottish Water emphasizes that if the property was built before 1970, there is a possibility that it could have had lead pipes. According to the guidance, water should be tested at all conduits where water may be consumed between the boundary stopcock and the kitchen tap. For most properties the only outlet which would need to be tested for lead is the kitchen tap. Other conduits at baths, basins and utility rooms would only need to be tested if they are located between the boundary stopcock and the kitchen tap.

If the lead content is at or above 10 micrograms per litre it suggests that some lead exists in the pipework. In this case the tenants must be advised immediately. As provisional safeguarding the landlord may suggest 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. In addition, draining a washing-up bowl of water to clear the water which has been standing in the pipes before using it for drinking or cooking is highly recommended.

Landlords are responsible for detecting and removing any lead pipes in the parts of pipework, which are beyond the responsibility of Scottish Water. Tenants must be advised and water samples must be taken for laboratory analysis to ensure a proper test is 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.

If a landlord is conscious of any potential lead water pipes in their property, they should contact their property manager right away. For most properties, an approved plumber will be able to advise right away if the visible pipes are made from lead.

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

David Love Property