Echo Letters: Homeowners urged to check domestic plumbing for lead pipes

Dear Editor,

IRISH Water’s proposals to add orthophosphate to water supplies nationally, providing a barrier between water and the pipework to combat lead, underlines the necessity for a national utility and central planning, given the abject failure of local authorities that heretofore disregarded official requests to replace lead piping.

Irish Water plans to spend €370m over a decade replacing lead pipes and a further €78m on water treatment to improve “lead compliance nationally on a risk-prioritised basis.”

Water lead pipes August 2016

The utility is seeking feedback on a draft Lead in Water Mitigation Plan, up until September 21, and urges homeowners whose properties were built prior to 1980 to conduct checks on internal plumbing for lead pipes.

Irish Water says 180,000 domestic customer properties are affected by lead service connections and during the aborted metering programme, 35,000 letters were dispatched to householders where lead service connections were identified.

Plans are afoot to replace lead pipes to the boundary of 180,000 homes by 2026; 40,000 of which are supplied from looped shared backyard lead pipes mainly in Dublin housing estates built from between 1940s to 1960s.

The utility has agreed to replace these lead pipes, but householders must replace the remaining internal lead pipework.

Jerry Grant, managing director of Irish Water said: “While full lead replacement is the best option, this has taken decades in other countries.” The limit for lead in drinking water stands at 10 microgrammes per litre.

Children with minor lead exposure have developmental delays, lowered IQs and behavioural problems that require additional educational services.

Yours sincerely,
Gerry Coughlan,

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