Grant scheme to replace lead pipes and fittings
Lead in drinking water is a danger to people’s health, especially for young children, pregnant women and babies fed on formula. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) advise that there is no safe level of lead in drinking water. Lead was commonly used in plumbing systems in Ireland up to and including the 1970s, so some people may still be getting water through these systems. The most effective way to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water is to replace lead piping.
A grant is available to help people with the cost of replacing lead piping in their homes. The Domestic Lead Remediation Grant Scheme was introduced in 2016 and was updated by the Housing (Domestic Lead Remediation Grant) Regulations 2022. The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has general information about the scheme in their customer leaflet.
Can I get a grant to replace my lead pipes?
To qualify for the Domestic Lead Remediation Grant, the lead pipes and fittings being replaced must be part of a system that carries water for preparing food or drinks, or for direct human consumption.
You must live in the property as your normal place of residence. If you rent the property, you must have the owner’s permission to get the work done. You will not qualify for the grant if the property is:
- A private holiday home
- A commercial property, for example, a short-term holiday home or self-catering property
- Owned by a local authority, approved housing body or the Health Service Executive
There was previously a means test for the grant, but this was scrapped on 1 December 2022.
Lead pipes outside your property’s boundary
If your drinking water comes through lead pipes that are outside the boundaries of your property, they must also be replaced. If you are a customer of Irish Water and you plan to replace the lead pipes within your property’s boundary, you must first apply for Uisce Éireann's Customer Opt-In Lead Pipe Replacement Scheme (pdf). Under this scheme, Uisce Éireann will replace any lead pipes on the public side of your property’s boundary.
How much is the grant?
The grant covers 100% of the qualifying work up to €5,000. If it costs less than €750 to replace the pipes you will not qualify for the grant. You can include the cost of getting proof from a laboratory or a registered building professional that you have lead pipes up to a maximum of €200.
What documentation do I need to apply for the grant?
You will need to send certain documentation and receipts to your local authority with your application for the grant.
Evidence that your lead pipes need to be replaced
You must have evidence that the lead pipes in your home need to be replaced. This can be:
- A notification from your water supplier (Uisce Éireann or a group water scheme) advising that your water system probably contains lead pipes and fittings
- A laboratory certificate issued within the previous 6 months, showing that the level of lead in your water supply is over the legal limit. The issuing laboratory must be accredited by the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) for testing for lead in drinking water.
- A notification from a registered building professional advising that your water system has lead pipes. Registered building professionals include registered architects, chartered engineers, and registered building surveyors.
Documents from your building contractor
Any contractor that you use must provide you with either a:
- Tax Clearance Access Number and Tax Reference Number
- Revenue Online Service (ROS) printout of an eTax Clearance certificate
They must give you itemised receipts, detailing the work carried out and the associated costs. They must also provide certification that any materials used, including pipes and fittings, are of appropriate quality and that a proper standard of workmanship has been applied.
How can I apply?
You must get the work done before applying for the grant. However, before the work begins, you must make sure you have met all the Terms and Conditions of the Domestic Lead Remediation Grant Scheme (pdf). If your application is incomplete, payment may be refused.
If your application is unsuccessful and you are unhappy with the local authority’s decision, you can appeal it. You must make the appeal to the local authority in writing within 3 weeks of the decision. Someone in the local authority who wasn’t involved in the initial decision will review your appeal. They have 6 weeks to get back to you with their decision.
For information on how to apply for Uisce Éireann’s Customer Opt-In Lead Pipe Replacement Scheme, read more on water.ie or contact Uisce Éireann on 1850 278 278 or +353 1 707 2828.
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 (pdf) has been published and Uisce Éireann has prepared a national mitigation plan (pdf).