Warning: Lead Contamination

Irish Homeowners may be facing costs of up to €5,000.00 Euro to have lead water mains pipe-work removed from their property.


Previous testing of drinking water on the Northside of Dublin City revealed high lead levels far in excess of legal or safe limits. Areas like Raheny and Clontarf would have a lot of lead water mains pipe-work through their estates.

The lead in the water mains pipe-work can dissolve in to the water that you and your family are drinking on a daily basis. This is a very serious Health Hazard especially for young children and pregnant mothers.  The elderly are also very vulnerable to this serious Health risk a regular intake of even low levels of lead can affect your health.


Houses built pre-1980 would have had their water mains pipe-work installed in lead. Some of this lead pipe-work could have been installed all the way from the stopcock on the path to a position under the stairs or sink unit. In other cases the lead pipe-work may terminate at the front doorway and from this point on copper pipe-work may have been installed internally in the property. Other properties built typically between 1940 and 1960 may have what is called a shared supply? This lead water mains supply pipe could have been laid in the back garden supplying two different properties. The lead water main pipe-work will be located in the ground approximately 18 inches deep this was to protect same both against frost damage or any other type of excavation works.


In order for you to do a visual correct identification of lead water mains pipe-work, the colour of same is silver/grey depending on its surroundings. In some cases you may need to strip back a section of lead water mains pipe-work to reveal its original structure.


Kevin Farrelly thedublinplumber.is understanding of the current situation is that from the boundary of your property all water main pipe-work is the responsibility of the homeowner. On the public side Irish Water have the responsibility of replacing this section of lead water mains pipe-work. Again this is not set in stone and individual cases and property types may differ.


In June the government has introduced a grant to assist homeowners in paying to have their lead water mains pipe-work replaced. The name of the current scheme is called the Lead pipe replacement grant scheme.  Homeowner can apply to their local authority, which in turn will apply to recoup the monies from the relevant Government Department. I understand that the take up for this grant is very slow.


Homeowners with incomes of up to €50,000.00 Euros will be eligible to apply for a grant of up to 80 per cent of the cost price up to €4,000.00 Euros. Those homeowners on an income of between €50, 000.00 and €75,000.00 should be entitled of a grant of €2,500.00 Euro or 50 per cent of the cost price. These figures are based on an overall replacement cost price of €5,000.00 Euros.

Kevin Farrelly thedublinplumber.ie would now urge Homeowner to check or have checked their properties for lead contamination. Also to avail of the Government Grant to have this work carried out if required.