South West Water is warning plumbers against using potentially toxic lead solder to connect metal pipes supplying drinking water, or they could run the risk of prosecution.

Lead-free solder should always be used for drinking water connections. The advice follows the prosecution of Geoff Chudley, from Torquay, at Newton Abbot Magistrates Court on Monday 26 March 2018, on seven counts of the illegal use of lead solder in the fitting of B&Q kitchens.

The action was taken under the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, which governs how plumbing systems are installed, used and maintained, ensuring the safety of public drinking water. Lead solder has been banned for use on domestic drinking supplies since 1987.

Mr Chudley pleaded guilty to all counts, and was ordered to pay £2,250 plus a £20 victim surcharge.

Bob Taylor, South West Water’s Operations Director for Drinking Water Services, said: “The contamination of our drinking water with the use of a prohibited substance is an issue we take very seriously.

“Lead is known to be harmful to health. We monitor the quality of our drinking water at our customers’ taps and unsatisfactory lead results are investigated to protect public health. We will take action against anyone who is found to be using lead solder on potable supplies.”