Most homes and businesses in West Lothian have a mains water supply provided by Scottish Water. Some homes further away from main towns and villages may have their own private water supply.
Mains supplied drinking water quality is the responsibility of Scottish Water. For enquiries relating to mains water quality and supply, contact Scottish Water in the first instance. If problems persists, contact the Drinking Water Quality Regulator.
Lead in Water Supply Systems
In Scotland, lead does not occur naturally in significant concentrations in our water supplies. The problem arises when drinking water comes into contact with lead supply pipes, lead tanks, lead solder joints on copper pipes, or inferior quality brass fittings and taps, particularly for longer periods (e.g. overnight/ weekends / holidays periods). This can result in high lead levels in the drinking water supply.
If you suspect you may have lead pipes, the Council encourages you to undertake further works with a view to establishing whether lead is present and to take steps to replace them. No grants are available for lead pipe replacement.
As a short-term measure, precautionary measures you can take to protect your health include:
- Always take your drinking and cooking water directly from a mains-fed tap. This is normally the cold water tap at the kitchen sink.
- Never use water for drinking or cooking from any hot tap. Warm water increases the amount of lead that is absorbed from plumbing.
- Run the mains tap first thing in the morning to flush out any water that has been lying overnight before using any water for drinking or cooking. You should also do this if the water has not been used all day (e.g. when you're out at work) and always before making up bottle feeds for infants. (Two minutes is usually enough to flush out this water. However, if your service pipe is longer than average, you'll need to allow a bit longer for the water to flush through).
Information on the health effects of exposure to lead can be found on the NHS Inform website.
Water Supply Pipes
Not all of the water supply pipe into a building belongs to Scottish Water. Some of it will belong to the owner of the building. In flats, ownership may be shared by all owners. See Scottish Water - Pipework Responsibility for information about how to decide who owns which bits of the supply pipe.
In some unusual circumstances where homes were historically associated with a business, estate or local authority, there may be one supply for for a number of separate homes. In these cases, responsibility for all pipework after the Scottish Water 'Toby' valve will be shared by the owners of the homes.
Water supply cut off in flats
It is common in flats for there to be a valve in a ground floor property which allows water to be shut off to the whole building. This is useful in emergency and it is recommended that all residents know where this is located.
Occasionally, this gets shut off by mistake by an owner who doesn't realise that it shuts off water to the whole block. In these cases, Environmental Health can force entry to turn the water back on. If this is necessary, the owner of the property where the water was shut off will be billed for all associated costs.
Private Water Supplies
Environmental Health regulates the quality of Private Water Supplies.
It carries out water safety and quality tests and administers the Scottish Government grant scheme for improvement of Private Water Supplies.