Cabinet to discuss strategy for lead contamination in water

Alan Kelly will discuss options to deal with drinking water contamination

The Government is to consider a new strategy to deal with lead contamination levels in the State’s drinking water. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Government is to consider a new strategy to deal with lead contamination levels in the State’s drinking water. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

A Government strategy to deal with lead contamination drinking water is expected to be agreed at today’s Cabinet meeting.

The Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly is to discuss a range of options to deal with the issue of lead in the water supply of up to 200,000 homes.

Mr Kelly will outline plans to replace pipes and to raise awareness of the problem and of the different ways to treat water at a Cabinet meeting.

Lead was used for pipework before the 1970s in many homes, schools and hospitals.

Lead contamination levels up to 80 times the legal limit have been detected in drinking water in Dublin.

Irish Water has identified the 20 homes in the capital where the highest levels of lead have been found.

Of these homes, 14 were in Raheny, with tests on one home on Watermill Drive showing levels of 825 micrograms per litre. The second highest reading was in Vernon Grove, Clontarf, at 123 micrograms per litre.

The remaining houses in the top five were all in Raheny, but the sixth highest reading was in Ranelagh, where levels of 97 micrograms were recorded in Chelmsford Road.

Lead in drinking water can cause a variety of adverse health effects.

In babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water above the action level can result in delays in physical and mental development.

The Government strategy is likely to include a means-tested grant to assist home owners to replace internal water pipes in affected properties.

Irish Water has begun the process of writing to up to 28,000 households who they already know are affected.