irish water jerry grant managing director lead irish water houses
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Managing Director of Irish Water Jerry Grant said it is estimated that 180,000 houses have internal lead piping, which pose a health risk.
Irish Water has launched an eight-week consultation period on its draft national plan to remove lead piping and is seeking public feedback.
Although old lead piping has been removed from the mains distribution network, a programme to replace remaining lead connections from the mains to external property boundaries is underway and is expected to last several years.
However, households are responsible for infrastructure inside the boundary, Mr Grant said.
The Department of the Environment has established a means tested grant scheme to assist lower income householders to replace such plumbing.
The Health Service Executive has previously warned of the dangers of lead, particularly for young children, infants and babies in the womb.
The utility is also considering adding orthophosphate, described by Mr Grant as a "food grade product", to treatment plants "to coat old lead pipes in people's homes and reduce exposure and consequent health risk until the pipes are replaced".
An environmental assessment is to be a carried out before this happens, he added.
"We are now asking members of the public to look at the plan and give us their feedback on our proposed approach," Mr Grant added.
"In the meantime, we are also urging all property owners, especially those with young children, to check for lead pipes and to have them replaced if at all possible."
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