There is good news for residents in Roscommon Town as Irish Water has invested over €130,000 replacing lead services at three different locations. This news comes after Ireland’s water utility announced details of its draft Lead Mitigation Plan in September which urges consumers in Co Roscommon who are living in homes built pre 1980 to check their internal plumbing for lead pipes. 

Exposure to lead is a known serious health risk particularly affecting young children. In recent decades, lead has been removed from petrol and paint. Since then, Roscommon residents have had limited exposure to lead except in drinking water where people with lead plumbing in their home can be exposed to low concentrations of lead as it dissolves in drinking water passing through lead pipework on its way to the tap.

In Roscommon Town, Irish Water, working in partnership with Roscommon County Council, has replaced 101 lead services with polyethylene pipe work. The work, which took place on Castle Street on the Galway Road, and on Lanesborough Street, also included the replacement of approximately 300m of existing cast iron water mains with PVC mains on Lanesborough Street. The three projects were completed in March 2016, June 2016 and September 2016 respectively.

All of the works were carried out prior to planned road maintenance, resurfacing and reinstatement works to ensure that roads would not be dug up following reconstruction works to minimise disruption to local people and businesses.

Public side pipework, as far as a property boundary, is the responsibility of Irish Water but all pipes within the property boundary including those in the home are the responsibility of the property owner except for those 40,000 served by common backyard mains where responsibility is shared. The best and most effective way of dealing with lead in drinking water is to replace all lead pipes and Roscommon homeowners should seek the advice of a plumber if they are unsure what material the pipes in their home is made from.  The Department of the Environment has established a grant scheme to assist low income households to replace lead pipes.

Irish Water is confident that lead piping has now been removed from the public water distribution mains but the utility estimates that approximately 180,000 homes in Ireland and hundreds of commercial and public buildings still have internal lead plumbing, including lead service pipes from the water main to the stopcock. Of the homes affected around the country, about 40,000 are thought to have shared backyard (common service pipes) which Irish Water will be targeting the replacement of over the next 5 years.



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