Lead levels exceed EU limits

by Gazette Reporter

LEAD levels in drinking water in Watermill Drive in Raheny are 825mcg per litre of water – or first on a list of 20 Dublin areas with the highest lead content. Raheny appears no less than 14 times on the list in total.

The EU limit for safe drinking water was cut from 25 microgrammes per litre to 10, in December 2013.
Meanwhile, Irish Water has stated there is no lead in the public water mains in Raheny following calls from Deputy Terence Flanagan (Renua) for a grant to be introduced to assist homeowners with the cost of replacing lead water pipes.
Deputy Flanagan raised concerns about the levels of lead found in drinking water in Dublin Bay North homes.
He said residents of Raheny and Clontarf were concerned about the impact drinking this water could have on their health.
“Many homes still have lead pipes connecting the property to the public water supply and I advise anyone living in a property that was built before the mid-1970s to check their pipes,” he said.
“I have highlighted the need for a grant to be introduced for homeowners, which would at least provide a contribution towards the cost of replacing lead pipes.
“Deficiencies in our water system are currently being addressed and it is vitally important that the lead piping issue is looked at during this period.”
A spokesperson from Irish Water has said lead in water arises solely from lead plumbing in older buildings, pre 1970s, with lead at low concentrations dissolved by the water passing through the pipe.
This has existed over the life of the buildings but is now an issue because of the 2013 EU limit for safe drinking water.
“The presence of lead pipes will not always cause levels above the limit, but the risk exists.
“Customers can access the joint EPA/HSE guidance on lead in drinking water on the Irish Water website, if they think they have lead and want to know more on its impact and actions to minimise lead levels in the short term,” said the spokesperson.
Irish Water is in the process of finalising a strategy for lead with the HSE and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). involving a random sampling programme and targeted replacement of public side Irish Water lead service pipes.
But the spokesperson said the lead risk remained unless households replaced private side pipes to kitchen taps.
As this will not happen quickly, the utility is proposing to introduce orthophosphate dosing at the treatment plant.
“This chemical has been shown to create a coating on the pipe which inhibits the take-up of lead into the water.
“As a result those countries report 90% of samples meet the standard,” said the spokesperson.

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