Hundreds of homes in Leeds will have their lead water supply pipes upgraded.
Yorkshire Water is beginning a year-long £2m project to replace pipes in Armley, Beeston, East End Park and Horsforth so that they comply with European regulations.
When water is left standing in lead pipes, tiny amounts of the metal may dissolve into it.
European regulations currently specify that no more than ten micrograms of lead are permitted per litre of tap water.
While treatment works reduce lead concentrations, the new project will completely remove lead water pipes from Yorkshire Water’s distribution network.
Luke Montgomery, the company’s public health manager, said: “We operate our water treatment works to control the risk of lead from pipework, and whilst our water sampling programme shows the vast majority of samples taken from lead pipes are safe we believe the best option is to remove lead pipes from our distribution system completely.”
Engineering specialists Morrison Utility Services will be replacing the pipes, beginning in Beeston this week.
They will dig two holes, one at the boundary of a property and one where the pipe connects into the water main in the street, and the pipe will be refurbished between the two points.
Workers do not anticipate needing access to properties while the work is carried out.
Brigette Sorby, Yorkshire Water’s project manager, said: “We’ll communicate with affected residents throughout this essential project and would like to thank them for their patience. Around two weeks before work starts in an area customers will be sent letters and an information leaflet.”
The project is expected to be completed in October next year.
Employees of both companies will carry identity cards which can be checked by calling 0800 138 7878.