Lead in drinking water is a recognised health concern. There are no lead water mains in Ireland, however, service connections within properties can contain traces of lead. The vast majority of lead pipes are contained within properties built up to and including the 1970's. Whether you have lead pipes or fittings depends on the age of your property and your existing pipes and/or pipe fittings.

Lead in drinking water has no taste, smell, or unusual appearance. However there are a number of things you can to do to check to see if you may have lead in your drinking water.

Check for lead pipes

There are two factors to take into consideration: (1) the age of your property and (2) your existing pipes and/or pipe fittings.

1. Age of your property

The use of Lead as a plumbing material was commonplace in properties that were built up to and including the 1970s. Therefore if your property was constructed prior to 1970 and you haven’t upgraded or replaced any of your internal plumbing, it is likely you may have lead pipes or fittings containing lead.

If the plumbing has been upgraded or replaced within your property, you should still check the pipe that runs from your property boundary to your kitchen tap, as this may still be a lead pipe. If in doubt, contact your local plumber.

2. Your existing pipes

Find the point where the water pipe enters the property and check as much of the pipe as possible. You should check the colour and appearance of this pipe.

ColourAppearance / densityMaterial
Dark grey or black with a dull coating (unless painted)
  • Joints appear swollen
  • Shiny silver when scraped with a knife
Lead
Grey, black or blue Hard Plastic
Brown/orange colour, can be bright or dull Hard Copper
Dark, may be rusty Very hard Iron

For more information, view our Lead in Drinking Water page.  

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