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Thames Water to replace lead pipes in London schools

Utility provider Thames Water has announced plans to remove most of the remaining lead pipes from primary school and nurseries in London, UK after a record replacement year.

Over the summer holidays, Thames Water plans to complete work in 206 schools. By 2025 the company will have covered its entire region as part of a long-term goal to eliminate the risk of lead from its drinking water network.

Of approximately 2,000 London primary school surveyed, which were built before the 1970s, around 450 needed lead replacement work. To date, Thames Water has completed work in over 200 schools, with most of the remaining jobs to be finished before the new school year begins in September 2019.

In 2018/19, a record 12,500 lead communication pipes were identified and replaced across London and the Thames Valley region.

“It’s been a fantastic team effort over the last year, working at record pace with primary schools and nurseries across London, as well as customers across our wider region, to find and replace the old lead pipework,” said Tim McMahon, head of water networks at Thames Water. “This and the freedom to step-up the pace over the summer holidays has put us firmly on track to ensure we can complete this important piece of work on schedule by December.

“Our long-term aim, as part of building a better future for our region, is to eliminate the risk of lead from our entire drinking water network. It’s a key area of focus for the company, and we’re committed to working closely with our customers to deliver the change.”

Thames Water will identify and replace more than 50,000 lead communication pipes as part of its business plan for the 2020-25 period. A ‘communication pipe’ is the length of pipe between the water main and the edge of a property boundary.