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Connecting to Lead underground mains water pipe...*Updated*

Discussion in 'Plumbing and Central Heating' started by Christian and Beccy, 2 Jun 2015.

  1. Christian and Beccy

    Christian and Beccy

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    I need to move an existing outside tap by about 6 feet. It looks like its piped in lead right up to the tap.

    I've dug right down and found the t-piece where it branches off the main supply pipe. I just need to cut it off on the branch and extend it to the new location.

    Is this best done in Copper? Or should it be MDPE underground then to Copper over ground?

    What is the best way to make a suitable join between the existing lead pipe and whatever I put in place for the extension?
     
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  3. Jackrae

    Jackrae

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    Suggest you have a word with your local water authority. They may have a "lead replacement" programme underway and will actually put in a new supply for you.

    However if that ain't successful you can get purpose made lead to MDPE couplers from the likes of Philmac.co.uk
     
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  4. Christian and Beccy

    Christian and Beccy

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    Thanks for that. I'll give them a call, though I didn't think they were interested in anything within our property?
     
  5. Jackrae

    Jackrae

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    If it's yours (downstream of the water board's stop valve) then they won't be interested.
     
  6. Madrab

    Madrab

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    In most cases you are correct, the supplier doesn't 'care' about anything past your boundary. Your council though may have a grant scheme in place, like Glasgow, who may consider a grant to replace all the lead.

    If that's not available then depending on the OD of the lead (if it's mains then it would normally be 32mm - 3/4" @ 9/11lb) then you need a plasson 32mm straight coupler, one end has the 32mm lead adapter, the other has a 25/22mm MDPE/copper adapter, pipe dependant.
    If the lead narrows after the T (OD23mm - 1/2" 7lb/9lb) then a plasson 25mm straight coupler with a 1/2" lead adapter to the MDPE/COpper adapter.

    If you don't have small length of MDPE, usually just available in 25m rolls, then run 22mm taped copper with the 22mm copper adapter.

    Make sure that the lead is rubbed down nice and clean, no dents/grooves where the adapter seal will be and as round as possible. Silicon grease the adapter seals for a better seal as lead can be a real bugger.
     
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  7. Christian and Beccy

    Christian and Beccy

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    Well, interestingly, the reason for the work is that we're putting a new driveway in and this pipe is under where the drive will be. So, I could get the driveway contractor to dig a narrow trench for my new pipe, but my concern is where it changes to enter the property. I'm certain I can't see blue pipe as it goes into the property, but I know there's MDPE in there (under the bathroom and I really can't face tearing that up. So that's the likely pitfall.

    I'll have a further dig around and see what I can learn. If I can see a nice way to connect to the property I might take this on, especially if I'm going to be buying 25m of MDPE pipe anyway!

    Thanks for your help so far.
     
  8. Christian and Beccy

    Christian and Beccy

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    OK, I've done some further investigating (thanks to photo-documenting my renovation project!) and the lead pipe goes about a metre into my house, where it joins to MDPE pipe to finish it's journey to the main stop cock.

    Getting to that connection would not be viable.

    I could chop the pipe immediately before it enters the property and replace the entire lead-pipe run back to the main supply at the boundary to my land, a run which is about 20 metres long. I'd be getting rid of the majority of the lead, but not all. This has to be better, right?

    Whilst I'm confident in doing it, am I restricted from doing this work?

    If I was to embark upon it, I'd pipe it in such a way to allow me to replace that last piece at some point in the future if/when we have the floor up in the bathroom for any reason.
     
  9. Agile

    Agile

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    You can in theory do it yourself.

    But have to notify your water supplier who will want to see the pipe laying in the trench before covering and also in theory when you make a connection to the supply.

    Use 32 mm tube.

    I don't see the point in replacing most of it if you don't replace everything while you are at it.

    Both to get rid of the lead and to improve the flow rate.

    Tony
     
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  11. Christian and Beccy

    Christian and Beccy

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    Tony, I agree. That said, the long run will be under the new driveway, so I'll be covering it soon with hard-standing one way or the other.

    I don't have an issue with flow rate, I'm purely thinking of doing this to get rid of the lead, which I'm told is unhealthy. Naturally I'd prefer not to do the work, so if it really is an insignificant problem, I'll leave it as it is.
     
  12. ree

    ree

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    The utility (in my limited experience) wont make any re-connections without inspecting the new supply pipe (and trench) all the way into the internal stop cock - partial replacements of the lead service wont fly.

    Lead seems to be most unhealthy for very young children but it cant be much good for anybody?
     
  13. Christian and Beccy

    Christian and Beccy

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    As an update to this, I had all but conceded to not replacing this pipe until my Father-in-Law told me that he believes the pipe is Galvanised, not lead.

    Whilst I initially thought this was good news, I have read that Galvanised pipe is very likely to be rusty inside.

    Bearing mind that my property was built in 1929 and I don't have a notable issue with flow rate, would replacement be justified?

    Take into account that, on the one hand, I absolutely can't replace the last 1 metre of Galvanised pipe at this time, but I can route the new pipe to allow the last piece to be done next time I tear my bathroom out (possibly in the next 10 years).

    I'm hoping to be able to dismantle the fitting at the threaded joint just before it enters the property, I know this fitting will be a complete nightmare to get apart, but I also understand the pitfalls of joining to Galvanised pipe. At this stage, I don't know how successful this will be, but with lots of WD40, patience and hopefully some good luck...


    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  14. Christian and Beccy

    Christian and Beccy

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    Here's what the pipe looks like as it enters the property. This is now underneath my bathroom...


    A lot of what you see in the picture has changed now, but of course the pipe in question is still as you see there. It passes through the concrete subfloor to a point just outside the wall where the first join is.

    The Blue pipe you see then goes to the Main Stop Cock in my Kitchen, but again, the pipework is really not accessible.

    The only way I can think of doing it is to make a hole from the outside wall through into the sub floor space, enabling access to the join you see above. Sounds like borderline madness to me though.

    Any thoughts?
     
  15. mogget

    mogget

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    Is your water clear? Iron oxides aren't in hugely toxic in themselves, indeed the cast iron main in my street was only polymer lined a few years ago. I wouldn't worry personally unless the water is discoloured (provided it's steel)

    Very easy to tell the difference between galv and lead, galv is hard whereas lead is soft and scratches easily.

    I had a new connection to the main put in under the lead replacement scheme, had to run my own rising main and mdpe to meter location.

    Previously the supply was through a 3/8" lead pipe at 0.9bar static - it was woeful. They've upped it to 2 bar now although it's less at night for some reason, like clockwork.
     
  16. Agile

    Agile

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    I rarely encounter steel water supply pipe but would be very reluctant to make any attempt to join to it as I would not expect a very high success rate!

    The advice would be to replace it all with plastic but only IF you need to replace it.

    Another point, once this driveway is laid, think of the cost/problems of replacing the water pipe afterwards!

    I would always future proof by laying new pipe!

    All the time I come across the problem where people have taken short cuts without thinking of the consequences.

    Last week I saw a hot water cylinder which had been placed in position before the roof was fitted and is now impossible to replace without cutting a hole in the roof and having scaffolding outside!

    Tony
     
  17. Christian and Beccy

    Christian and Beccy

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    I'm all in favour of replacing it and can/will defer the driveway job until this work is done. But I cannot imagine how to make this final connection. That's my issue.

    I totally agree on the potential problems that could be encountered in the future. This is partly why I have considered replacing 95% of the pipe now, which would eliminate the need to raise the driveway at any point, but this means one of 2 things.

    1. Making a connection to the steel pipe in some way or

    2. Getting to the connection in the photo above

    Both seemingly problematic.

    I haven't measured the water pressure, but it's enough. The stop-cock is only half-way on too. No issues with water colour/taste or anything adverse at this stage, but who knows what the future holds?

    I'm tempted to remove some bricks from the outside wall below DPC and see where that gets me. I'm confident in most work I've carried out, but this concerns me.
     
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