Steel pipescould play an important role in retrofitting existing drinking waterinstallations, in order to reduce the levels of lead that end up in the waterat the point of consumption.

TheChartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering has warned that, fromDecember 2013, permissible levels of lead in drinking water will fall from 25micrograms to 10 micrograms per litre, under new European legislation.

John Griggs,principal science officer for CIPHE, says: “Installers need to beconversant with the facts and not do anything that impacts upon the quality ofthe supplied water.”

While manypeople might think of copper or even plastic as being more common than steelpipes for the provision of drinking water to premises, steel actually has goodbenefits in use.

BSI Groupnotes the popularity of steel pipe water wells – because steel develops aprotective oxide layer when exposed to water, it offers good cleanlinessstandards and longevity.

With BritishStandards in place since the beginning of WWII for the use of steel pipes andtubes in this way, they have a considerable head start over the new legislationon lead levels – and could help to bring existing installations with relativelyhigh levels of lead in line with the incoming standards.