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My water tastes different after plumbing work.

Unusual tastes can come from traces of copper dissolving in water from newly installed domestic plumbing. This might affect you if you move into a newly constructed house, have an extension to your existing plumbing or have a new kitchen or bathroom, for example. The problem is usually most apparent after the water has been standing in the pipework for long spells. It may also appear where there are long runs of copper pipework and in situations in which the water becomes warm.

Apart from the taste, a blue-green or black stain on the scale in the kettle often indicates traces of copper in the water.

The taste usually improves with time as a thin protective film of scale caused by water hardness forms inside the copper pipe. The taste problem may also be lessened if you avoid drinking or using the first water drawn from the tap.

In situations where the pipe becomes warm, for example where the pipe runs close to central heating pipes the affected pipework should be lagged or re-routed.

Polyethylene pipe and petrol spillage

Polyethylene is now the most commonly used material for underground service pipes supplying new properties. You should be aware that spilt petrol in the soil can permeate this type of pipe. If there is any suspicion of a petrol spillage close to a plastic pipe or you notice a petrol smell or taste in the water you should advise us immediately. This problem may only be solved by removing the contaminated soil and renewing the pipe.

If you are planning a new connection to the main, we recommend that barrier pipe must be laid, unless a soil report has been carried out confirming that the ground is free from contamination. We will only lay plastic pipe if a soil report and our Water Quality Department confirms that it is safe to do so.

Connection to redundant or infrequently used pipework

Taste problems can arise when traces of stagnant water from a side branch is drawn back into the rising main. You may solve the problem by removing the redundant pipework or by removing the stagnant water from the affected side branch which is not often used, e.g. connections to an outside tap, could be solved by turning the tap on.

Responsibility for pipework We are responsible for pipework from the mains in the road to the stopcock at the boundary of your property. The supply pipe and fittings beyond the boundary stopcock are your responsibility.

If you intend to make any alteration to your system, we strongly recommend that you use a qualified plumber. All work carried out must comply with Water Regulations which are designed to prevent waste, undue consumption, misuse or contamination of the water supply.

If you require information on water regulations, please contact Water Regs UK www.waterregsuk.co.uk.

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