Tests by Irish Water have found lead concentrations 15 times the limit deemed safe to consume in drinking water in one area in Co Roscommon.

That’s according to today’s Irish Times.

Audits in recent years by Irish Water found 33 cases where drinking water had lead concentrations above the safe limit of 10 micrograms (µg) per litre , with each case reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The highest levels of lead in drinking water were found during a test of drinking water from a tap in one part of Co Roscommon, which was 148µg when a sample was tested in 2020.

The HSE  advises if the levels of lead are above 10µg per litre, households should consider finding “safe drinking water from some other source”, particularly when it came to bottle-fed infants, young children or pregnant women.

Tests found high levels of lead in drinking water in 12 different counties, including Mayo, Cork, Wicklow, Wexford, Limerick, Donegal and Cavan.

The results of the internal audits of drinking water were released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

Irish Water said when water left its treatment plants it was “lead free” and that none of the country’s water mains used lead pipes.

In homes built before or during the 1970s it was likely some of the pipework connecting the home to the mains contained lead pipes, it said.

The national water utility said it was aware of an estimated 180,000 service connections, which were short pipes connecting a home to the water mains, that were made of lead.

The agency had replaced 42,000 of these pipes to date, with plans to replace a further 48,000 lead pipe connections by 2030, it said.




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