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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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These are the 20 Dublin homes with the most lead in their drinking water

There’s some familiar addresses related to water protests.

Image: Shutterstock

A HOME ON the street where the the first Dublin Says No protest took place has the highest level of lead contamination of drinking water in Dublin.

Results of random testing show that the house on Watermill Drive in Raheny has lead contamination over 80 times the level allowed by the EU.

The figures were released under Freedom of Information with the utility identifying 20 homes with lead contamination levels of between five to 80 times above what is allowable.

18 of the 20 homes listed are in the neighbouring Dublin 3 and Dublin 5 areas on the capital’s northside.

Adverse effects of exposure to lead include damage to most organs in the body, particularly the kidneys and blood systems. Children and pregnant women are most vulnerable according to the Health Service Executive and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The readings relate to drinking water that is beyond the public water main system and is within private residences. Lead has not been used in public piping systems since the 1970s but some older building still have internal lead piping.

PastedImage-4045 Source: Irish Water

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The Irish Water figures show that the home with the highest level of lead in the water was tested on 24 July and had a contamination level of 825 microgrammes per litre.

The limit for safe drinking water as set by EU regulators is 10 microgrammes per litre. It was reduced from 25 microgrammes in 2013.

Many of the protests that surrounded the installation of water meters were first concentrated in the Raheny and Edenmore areas, with the first significant protest on Watermill Drive.

The Dublin Says No group has reacted to the release of the figures, which were reported in the Irish Times this morning, by claiming that the testing was not ‘random’ but was in fact carried out by concerned residents.

dsn Source: Facebook/DublinSaysNo

Local campaign group ‘Lead Free Water Saint Annes’ also says that they will be providing details to residents about how to get their water tested.

Irish Water say that the presence of lead piping does not always cause contamination but warns that “the risk exists”.

The utility say they are finalising a strategy to help reduce lead contamination.

“This will involve a random sampling programme and targeted replacement of Irish Water (public side) lead service pipes. However, the lead risk remains unless the households replace the private side lead to the kitchen tap,” Irish Water says in a statement.

In the interim, Iris Water says it is proposing to introduce orthophosphate dosing at the treatment plant. This practice coats the water pipes and reduces the take-up of lead in water and is carried out in a number of other countries including the UK.

Read: Why aren’t the Irish protesting? A question that was being asked a few years ago. Not anymore. >

Read: Meter installers are being offered counselling … but Irish Water say they’re not paying for it >

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Rónán Duffy

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