Poor household plumbing causes tap water quality failures

New research reveals 

Nearly a quarter of water sample failures taken at customers’ taps didn’t reach quality standards because household plumbing doesn’t reach the mark.

This is one of the findings highlighted in a report launched today by the Chief Inspector of Drinking Water. It shows that despite tap water quality in England being among the highest in the world, of the small proportion of samples that do fail, a number are the result of poor household plumbing.

In its annual report for 2016, the Drinking Water Inspectorate for England confirms that 99.96 per cent of samples passed stringent water quality tests but has highlighted that where failures did occur, many were at customers’ taps.

Of these, 24 per cent were caused by poor plumbing practices, wrongly connected pipework, sub-standard fixtures and fittings and poor kitchen tap hygiene. All of which can cause the quality of drinking water to deteriorate after it has been transferred from the public water mains into private pipes and properties, potentially resulting in contamination.

Lead, nickel, taste and odour are behind some of the failures and these can be caused by legacy pipework, the wrong materials and fittings being used or inadequate protection from water ‘flowing back’ into internal pipework from dishwashers and toilets.

WaterSafe, the national register for plumbers which is backed by the Drinking Water Inspectorate and all the English water companies, is urging homeowners and property managers to use approved plumbers to help keep drinking water supplies safe.

Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe, said: “Water supplies in England are among the highest quality in the world and we want to ensure that the quality of the water remains high at the point it leaves customers’ taps.

“Many people don’t realise that there are many things which can affect water quality in homes, or other buildings, such as lead pipes, poor quality taps and fittings and even wrongly connected appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and even toilets.

“We vet plumbers before they are allowed to join the WaterSafe register to ensure they have the right skills and knowledge to work safely with water. We also ensure they have insurance and customer care schemes in place so customers can trust they are employing a competent and qualified professional who will not compromise the quality of one of most important services in their homes.”

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