How to replace your lead pipework

How to replace your lead pipework

Watch our video to how to replace your lead pipework to make sure you get it right first time.

Understanding how you are connected

Before you do any work to replace your lead pipes you need to have applied and been accepted onto the United Utilities lead pipe replacement scheme.

It is important to understand how your existing supply feeds your property. This will either be a single supply where you have a direct connection to the water main or if you share your supply with your neighbours, which is a common supply.

Where your connection will be made

Your new connection will likely be in the footpath or road outside the boundary of your property. The pipe shouldn't be laid within 2 metres of any large trees, bus stops, traffic lights or any other utilities such as a BT access cover or street lighting.

Laying your new pipework

You should use 25mm PE pipe, contained within a 100mm (4 inch) insulated duct as the pipe passes under the external wall of your property.

The pipe should then be laid out to the boundary in a clean trench, free from debris at a depth of between 750mm and 1350mm. The trench should be lined and filled with fine granular backfill or selected soft sand.

There should be 2 meters of pipe left coiled at the boundary to allow an unjointed connection to the meter box that we will install in the footpath. The marker tape should be installed approximately half way up between the service pipe and finished ground level. This will protect the pipe in the future should any further works be undertaken.

The pipe should then be sealed at the boundary with a mechanical stop end. You should lay your pipework within 1 metre of your existing stop tap box (if you have one), unless advised otherwise by your case manager.

The end of the duct inside your property also needs to be sealed, to prevent the ingress of contaminates into the building.

You must install an internal drain off and stop tap inside your property, if you haven’t already got one. Once we’ve completed the connection you need to make sure your plumber is available to carry out the switch over from the lead supply to your new pipework to ensure you’re never without a water supply.


If you've used a non WIAPS approved plumber, you will need to contact us to arrange an inspection. The trench should be left open to allow us to inspect the work. If the first inspection fails, a charge may be applied for subsequent visits.

If you've used a WIAPS approved plumber, send us a photo of the pipework at the boundary and the WIAPS certificate. Once the inspection is complete, our case manager will confirm the final connection date with you.

If you’re thinking of replacing your lead pipes and would like further information or you just want to speak to us please, get in touch on 0345 072 6082.