Grant aid ahead for lead pipe replacement

by Ian Begley

Many homeowners from Lucan and Clondalkin with lead pipes delivering water to their homes may qualify for a grant of up to €4,000, Environment Minister Alan Kelly announced last week.
It is not clear at this stage if applicants must register with Irish Water to qualify.
The scheme, which will be a budgetary measure, is part of a national strategy to reduce lead in drinking water. Households earning up to €50,000 qualify for the maximum €4,000, while those on €50,000 to €75,000 will get €2,500.
When consumed, lead harms the kidneys and can affect brain development in babies in the womb and young children, according to the HSE and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Lead pipes were commonly used in houses built up to 1970 and around 200,000 homes across the country are estimated to be affected by lead contamination.
Irish Water has now begun writing to almost 28,000 households in the country it knows are affected.
Local Cllr Eoin O Broin (SF) told The Gazette that although many residents within his constituency haven’t raised issues to him regarding lead pipes, there is still a growing concern in Dublin Mid-West.
He said: “People are now concerned and upset that if their water contains lead that they still have to pay water charges to Irish Water.
“The council no longer have any responsibility for their resident’s water supply – it’s Irish Water’s problem and they now have to deal with it.”
Although South Dublin County Council are no longer in charge of Dublin Mid-West’s water supply, they have published a document advising people of how to detect and what to do if their water contains lead.
“Inside your premises look behind the cupboards in your kitchen and find the pipe leading to the kitchen tap, check if it is lead along as much of its length as possible.
“Outside the premises open the stopcock cover on the footpath and see if you can identify the pipework material on the service pipe.
“Whether you have lead piping or not you should only use water drawn from the kitchen tap for cooking or drinking. Do not drink water drawn from the bathroom taps. Boiling water does not remove lead.”
See Opinion on Page 8

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