Grant scheme to replace lead pipes and fittings

Introduction

Lead in drinking water is a danger to people’s health, especially for young children, pregnant women and babies fed on formula. It 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.

A grant is avaiable to help people on low incomes with the cost of replacing lead piping in their homes. The Domestic Lead Remediation Grant Scheme was introduced under the Domestic Lead Remediation (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2016.

Revised grant scheme available from 1 December 2022

The Domestic Lead Remediation Grant Scheme has been reviewed and a revised version of it will be available from 1 December 2022. The revised scheme will mean that more people can access the grant. From 1 December 2022, the scheme:

  • Has no means test
  • Pays 100% of qualifying costs up to €5,000
  • Is open to people living in rented accommodation, as long as they have been renting long-term and have the owner’s permission

These changes were brought in under the Housing (Domestic Lead Remediation Grant) Regulations 2022.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has published Terms and Conditions for the revised scheme, where you can find more information.

Can I get a grant to replace my lead pipes?

To be eligible for the grant, you must own the property and live in it as your principal private residence. 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 show evidence of a risk of lead contamination in your home. Acceptable evidence is either:

  • A notification from your water supplier (Irish Water or a group water scheme) advising that your water system probably contains lead pipes and fittings

or

  • 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.

You must get the remedial work done before applying for the grant and it must cost at least €200. Any contractor that you use must give you a current tax clearance certificate or a Revenue Online Service (ROS) printout of an eTax Clearance. 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.

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 Irish Water’s Customer Opt-In Lead Pipe Replacement Scheme (pdf). Under this scheme, Irish Water will replace any lead pipes on the public side of your property’s boundary.

Evidence of income

The grant is currently means-tested – see ‘How much is the grant?’ 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:

  • For employees paying tax under PAYE, an End of Year Statement P21 or equivalent document from Revenue
  • For self-employed people, a notice of income tax assessment or equivalent document from Revenue
  • For people on social welfare payments, a statement of income from the Department of Social Protection

From 1 December 2022, a means test will no longer apply.

How much is the grant?

The current level of grant is based on your 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

How can I apply?

Complete the application form (pdf) and send it, and the required documentation, to your local authority.

For information on how to apply for Irish Water’s Customer Opt-In Lead Pipe Replacement Scheme, read more on water.ie or contact Irish Water on 1850 278 278 or +353 1 707 2828.

Further information

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 Irish Water has prepared a national mitigation plan (pdf).

Page edited: 19 October 2022