Residents told not to drink tap water over lead fears

UP to 70 householders in a harbour town have been told not to drink tap water because of “lead contamination”.

Residents in three housing estates in Cobh were informed by Cork County Council yesterday their water supply was unfit to drink — even when it was boiled.

A council spokesman said “elevated levels of lead” had been detected in drinking water at houses in Belmont Place along with Park Terrace and Aileen’s Terrace.

Following consultation with the HSE, the council decided yesterday to advise residents in the estates not to drink, boil or use the water in food preparation.

The council also advised that all ice cubes in freezers and filtered water in fridges would have to be discarded.

The spokesman said it was arranging for clean water to be brought to the estates and would hopefully have outdoor communal taps in place by this afternoon.

Council engineers plan to install the taps at two locations within Belmont Place, and at one location each in Park Terrace and Aileen’s Terrace.

In the meantime, as a precaution, the council advised householders to use bottled water for drinking, boiling and in food preparation.

“Infant formula should be prepared with suitable bottled water with a sodium content of less than 20mg per litre. The sodium content is written on the side of the bottle as ‘Na’ followed by a number. Bottled water that is labelled as ‘Natural Mineral Water’ or ‘Spring Water’ is not suitable for making infant formula. It should be noted that boiling the water does not reduce or remove the lead content from the water,” a council spokesman said.

It is believed the estates have been served by lead pipes, which have eroded. The council is preparing a submission to the Department of the Environment to replace lead pipes in a number of towns and villages.


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