Report No DWI0076



May 1992


The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 1989 set a maximum lead concentration in water supplied for domestic purposes of 50µg/l at the point of supply. Furthermore, the World Health Organisation is revising its guidelines for lead in drinking water, the outcome of which might be a significant reduction in the maximum permitted concentration. This is likely to trigger a review of EC and UK standards.

In some areas, optimal treatment of water may not bring about a reduction in lead concentrations below the current or any possible future maximum permitted concentration at the customer's tap. In these cases, replacement of lead pipes is likely to be the only practicable solution.

The Department of the Environment commissioned WRc to assess the cost-effectiveness of lead pipe replacement programmes using existing data from the Water Industry. Alternative solutions to the lead problem including water treatment and tap filters were also assessed.

A database was constructed to enable the data assimilated during this project to be input and to permit updates to be made as and when further data become available. This will allow updates to the conclusions.

This document contains a description of the database. An accompanying report (WRc Report No. DoE 2956-/1) contains the conclusions drawn from the project data.

Copies of this report may be available as an Acrobat pdf download under the 'Find Completed Research' heading on the DWI website.