The Irish Times recently published an informative article on lead piping in older housing stock:
Lead is one of the most toxic heavy metals when it comes to human health, especially where quantities in water supplies are consumed over a long period. This risk applies even at very low concentrations.
Water produced at the State’s 900-odd treatment plants is, fortunately, lead-free, as is the water mains network which carries it due to remedial works carried out in recent decades.
However, for many years lead pipes were used in “service connections”; the pipes running from the public mains to houses, and routinely used in the plumbing of homes up to the mid-1970s. The lead in these pipes can leach out in to the water. Some of the pipes, especially in Dublin, date back to Victorian times.
Irish Water has estimated that about 180,000 homes are affected, but only those built before 1980. Its national plan to address the issue has already led to some 38,000 householders being notified they have lead pipes.
One of the benefits of installing water meters outside houses was the ability to check if lead pipes were connecting from the mains to households.
Dublin City Council provides the following information on the subject of Grants for Lead Pipe Replacement:
If your home has lead pipes and plumbing that need to be replaced, or you have a recent water quality test result that shows above normal levels of lead in your water supply, you may qualify for a Lead Pipe replacement Grant.
In order to make an application for this grant, you must first apply for the Irish Water Customer Opt – In Lead Pipe Replacement Scheme (Both the Private side and Public side sets of pipes must be replaced for your drinking water to have a lead level that will probably be below the legal limit).
For information on Irish Water’s Customer Opt-In Lead Pipe Replacement Scheme, call Irish Water on 1850 278 278 or +353 1 707 2828
The level of grant you may qualify for from Dublin City Council is based on your gross household income.
As part of our Pre-Purchase Surveys, we examine understairs storage and other internal areas for the presence of lead piping. A surprising number of older properties still rely on their water supply from pipes constructed of lead.