With just four weeks to go, Irish Water is urging the public to have their say on its Draft Lead in Drinking Water Mitigation Plan.
Irish Water says this issue affects 180,000 households throughout the country and its eight-week consultation period will end on Thursday, September 8.
Exposure to lead is a known serious health risk particularly affecting pregnant women and young children. In recent decades, lead has been removed from petrol and paint. Since then, Irish people have limited exposure to lead except in drinking water where people with lead plumbing in their home can be exposed to low concentrations of lead as it dissolves in drinking water passing through lead pipework on its way to the tap. Because of the known health risks, the limit for lead in drinking water has been reduced to a very low level in EU Drinking Water Regulations (10 parts per billion). Sampling by Irish Water has shown that this limit can be exceeded (in some cases significantly) where water flows through lead pipes.
Irish Water is now targeting over 35,000 random samples of water quality annually compared with 3,000 previously. Drinking water produced at its plants is lead free and it has already replaced all lead water mains in the distribution system.
The greatest risk remaining from lead in drinking water arises on private property from internal plumbing. Irish Water is again urging all homeowners whose houses were built before 1980 to check their internal plumbing for lead pipes. The best and most effective way of dealing with lead in drinking water is to replace all lead pipes
The draft plan and associated environmental reports can be viewedonline or in Irish Water's short video on the issue. It is also available to view at the planning counters of local authoroties.