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Catchment Management

£13m project to replace hundreds of lead water pipes across the region

Hundreds of homes across the region will soon see their lead water supply pipes upgraded to comply with European water quality regulations.

Yorkshire Water is carrying out the £13m lead pipe replacement project in Bradford, Rotherham, York, Leeds, Beverley, Harrogate and Hull. The upgrade work is set to be completed by March 2017 and will benefit 20,000 homes across the region.

Many lead water pipes date back to the Victorian era and as they are made from lead can increase the lead content in water. As a consequence, they will be replaced with Polyethylene plastic pipes to ensure lead content is kept to a minimum and meets water quality regulations.

Luke Montgomery, Yorkshire Water’s Public Health Manager explains, “We operate our water treatment works to control the risk of lead from pipework, and whilst our water sampling programme shows the vast majority of samples taken from lead pipes are safe we believe the best option is to remove lead pipes from our distribution system completely.”

Engineering specialists, Morrison Utility Services (MUS) and Balfour Beatty, will be working on behalf of Yorkshire Water to install the new pipes.

Usually, teams will dig two holes, one at the boundary of a property and one at the point where the communication pipe connects into the water main in the street. The communication pipe will then be refurbished between the two points. It's likely that MUS will be working on a number of pipes in one street at the same time which means there will be various holes open at once.

Brigitte Sorby, Yorkshire Water Project Manager, comments: “We’ll communicate with affected residents throughout this essential project and would like to thank them for their patience. Around two weeks before work starts in an area customers will be sent letters and an information leaflet.”

Polyethylene plastic pipes have a life span of around 100 years and will also help reduce the amount of leaks that occur in Yorkshire’s vast underground water pipe network that stretches for 31,000 kilometres.

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