Lead pipes

In doing up the kitchen, my mate found that the main water pipe into the builidng (very old terrace house in middle of old village) is made from lead.

This pipe is buried in the floor of the kitchen with just a small section poking into the room (cupboard) from which kitchen and bathroom water feed.

I assume there is nothing I can do about this except buy bottled water ??

dig it up and put a nice new plastic one down, and while your at it terminate it in the kitchen with a manifold ready for future expansion ...make sure you lag the pipe by threading rubberised black lagging down the pipe before you buried it !

Thats a thought !

In the past I have fed 16mm PER pipe through the lead pipe.. It's not always easy, especially making the joint outside, but it's affordable and non destructive...

You'll need to know the internal diameter before you start. Lead pipe is generally 4mm +/- walled...

Why drink water? Who was it said when challenged what he brushed his teeth with in lieu and answered "a light Sauternes"?

We bought a house which had lead in it according to the diagnostics (and asbestos) and soon after we received a letter from the Conseil Generale (I think) asking about babies and children in the household. When we replied in the positive we received a letter inviting for free blood tests for the children to ensure they had no blood poisoning. Not fun taking a 9 month old and a two year old for blood test :-( which were thankfully clear despite them being at the stage Andrew describes.

When you bought the property there should have been a survey in which a lead pipe should have been mentioned and replaced. The only way I can think of is to replace to whole pipe with copper or plastic tube. In the mean-time before you use the water turn the tap on full for a few moments to clear any water that has been in the pipe. Lead pipe is dangerous and should be changed as soon as possible.

unusual the lead wasn't found in the survey, or maybe it was but you were not made aware - usually the modern regs forbid the use of lead ( & asbestos etc) so you shoud really replace it I believe though maybe the vendor is still liable ? Ask the notaire maybe ? Look on your house contract (Acte Authentique) and look under 'Saturnism' and see if anything has been declared ?

A couple of further ideas:

amazon uk (but not France) sell quite cheap water testing kits by Watersafe, including some specifically for lead - a couple of tests with these at different times of the day would give you an informal idea of the current levels;

www.analyse-eau.fr/ is an accredited lab. that's not too expensive. For €60.00 (for lead only) they will send you a kit, which you return to them. They then carry out the analysis with official test results. I think postage both ways is included.

According to "Que choisir?" you might pay between 50 & 80 euros for an analysis, including the cost of taking the sample. This shouldn't be taken shortly after the morning ablutions, as the rate is going to be artificially low following a lot of water having been flowing. They suggest that you can get lists of accredited labs from the departmental DDASS, but these seem to have been abolished outside the Ile-de-France. A COFRAC-accredited laboratory is also suggested. They do have lists of laboratories, on www.cofrac.fr, which can be searched starting directly from the home page. I started by selecting par domaine and then essais. (You might get this in English, but it soon changes to French.) Then I clicked on the plus sign next to EAUX ET MILIEUX AQUATIQUES, followed by ticking the box next to ANALYSES PHYSICO-CHIMIQUES DES EAUX. Clicking on lancer la recherche gave me 222 entries for the whole of France.

You could, of course, always ask at your Mairie or water company, but that might be too easy!

quite agree - all to do with toddlers teething on...window frames and doors painted with lead paint :-O

They just dig out the EU/France regulations on lead which says it goes, personally I agree with you. I'd have 'readimix' in and disappear it, end of story.

How stupid! I really don’t eat paint much, but do drink from the tap.

with respect Brian, the mairie can say what he jolly well likes in my opinion. If you get a good reading from an "expert" that's good enough for me...??

Doesn't count - the limescale build up in this area is phenomenal but the mairie said remove, plus noted the enquiry and the buyer, as I said below, wanted it all out.

The regulations, unfortunately, oblige you to have all lead removed. If you are going to put in a concrete floor, if you sell and your buyer finds out by mere chance you have lead pipes encase in it, you would have to have it all up and away - it has been tried and the people tried offering to pay (drop from the sale price in other words) but the buyer wanted the lead out or deal off. Seems like it is not worth trying to get round it.

Thanks for that - Any idea where I could get an analysis done/costs

the diagnostic plomb is a survey for lead in paint, Jane, and often misses any lead piping...!

You should definitely get an analysis done before laying out any significant sums of money. If you live in a hard water area, there's a chance that the pipe has long since been lined with carbonate. That might mean that there's less than 10 micrograms per litre in the water after it has passed through the relatively short piece of pipe from the meter to the non-lead section.

pretty sure there's a system of lining the old pipes with a plastic hose from one end to the other that eliminates the need to dig up the pipes. I'm sure it'd be available to your local plumber.