Does your home have lead pipes? The only way to be sure is to test your water.

Roughly 5,500 meters of lead piping is still being used for drinking water in four areas nationwide, according to an EPA report on water supplies.

The EPA estimated that the cost of replacing the pipes will be in the region of €10-12 million.

“We don’t want to cause panic with people,” an EPA spokesperson said. However, the agency has warned that there is still a real health risk from the remaining lead water mains around Ennis, Co Clare; Mallow, Co Cork; Lough Guitane, Co Kerry and central Co Longford.

According to the World Health Organisation, lead poisoning can damage the nervous and reproductive systems, as well as causing high blood pressure and anaemia. It is especially harmful to foetuses, young children and pregnant women.

There is also a risk that lead piping could remain in many people’s homes, the EPA spokesperson said.

There is still a lot of lead in people’s houses. A significant proportion of houses built before 1970 would still have lead service pipes in them, and the only way to ensure that you have water with safe levels of level is to get rid of the pipework.

Once the pipe crosses the boundary from the street into the property, it becomes the homeowner’s responsibility. More than 30,000 homes are presumed to be at risk.

To keep your family safe, test your home drinking water with one of our Drinking Water Test Kits available in our shop.

Simon Chapman
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