Types Of Water Pipes

POSTED: December 21, 2016

The water main to your property runs from the external stop tap (usually located in the footpath outside your property) to your internal stop tap (usually found in your kitchen or bathroom). The water main is a vital supply pipe to your property providing fresh clean drinking water for you, your family and friends. At various points in the past 50 years there have been several different materials which have been used to make water mains. The most common of which are:

Blue Poly

MDPE pipe is more commonly known as blue poly, this is the current industry standard material that is used for water mains. It offers high levels of flexibility without compromising its strength. We at Below Ground Solutions always use blue poly pipe when carrying out repairs.


Lead pipe was most commonly used in the past to make water mains. Ageing lead pipes are known to deteriorate over time reducing the structural integrity of the pipe and therefore causing leaks. When repairing a lead water main it is important to make sure the new section of pipe is installed on a bit of the old lead pipe which is strong enough to support the new pipe.

Black Alkathene

Much like blue poly, black alkathene is a highly flexible plastic pipe, it was commonly used in the 1980-90s but has since been replaced by blue poly pipe more recently. The fittings on black alkathene often developed leaks, and that is one reason why blue poly replaced black alkathene.


Copper although more commonly used for internal pipe work after the internal stop tap, it has sometimes been used in the past as the material for water mains. Like all metal pipes copper is susceptible to corrosion and wear and tear, therefore it is not commonly used as a water main pipe material.

While these are probably the most common 4 materials used for water mains in the UK there are other which are used such as iron, blue alkathene and steel.