HC Deb 16 May 1990 vol 172 cc431-2W
Mr. Andrew Welsh

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the number of water supplies in Scotland in breach of the 50 micrograms per litre limit of the amount of lead permitted; and if he will list the number of people covered by each water supply.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Water supplies in Scotland do not generally breach the 50 micrograms per litre standard for lead at the point of supply to the consumer. Breaches of the standard at consumers' taps are caused by pick-up of lead from pipes and plumbing systems, mostly within the consumer's property, after the water leaves the mains. Installation of water treatment is in progress in 26 supply areas where it is known that some tap samples fail to meet the standard set in the EC drinking water directive. It is estimated that about 37,000 people in these areas may be involved.

Water authorities are currently embarking on assessments to establish in which zones the new 50 micrograms per litre standard for any sample, as set in the drinking water quality regulations now in force, may not be met and whether additional treatment schemes will be effective in further reducing lead levels at taps.