A new grant scheme has been set up to help low-income households with the cost of replacing lead piping in their homes. The scheme is being introduced under the Domestic Lead Remediation (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2016 (pdf).
You must own the dwelling and live in it as your principal private residence. The lead pipes and fittings being replaced must form part of a system that carries water for preparing food or drinks or for direct human consumption.
You must get the remedial work done before applying for the grant. Any contractor that you use must give you a current tax clearance certificate. They must provide itemised receipts, detailing the work carried out and the associated costs. They must also certify in writing that any materials used, including pipes and fittings, are of appropriate quality and that a proper standard of workmanship has been applied. You will need to enclose these certificates and receipts with your application for the grant.
You must also provide evidence of a risk of lead contamination in your home. Acceptable evidence is either:
The grant is means-tested – see ‘Rates’ below. You will have to provide evidence of your household income when applying. This is calculated as your gross taxable income in the previous tax year, together with that of your spouse or partner. The required evidence is:
The level of grant is based on the household’s gross annual income in the previous tax year, as set out in the table below.
|Household income per year||Percentage of approved costs available||Maximum grant payable|
|Up to €50,000||80%||€4,000|
|€50,001 to €75,000||50%||€2,500|
|Over €75,000||No grant||No grant|
Lead can be present in drinking water, as lead piping, lead solder and lead-lined water tanks were commonly used in plumbing up to and including the 1970s, so some people may still be getting water through these older plumbing systems. Lead is a danger to health, especially for young children, pregnant women and babies fed on formula, so water for drinking and cooking should contain as little lead as possible. The legal level of lead in drinking water is 10 micrograms per litre.
The HSE has published a joint position paper on lead in drinking water (pdf) with the EPA, along with a set of FAQs. A national strategy to reduce lead exposure has been published and Irish Water is preparing a national mitigation plan.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.