Galway water contaminated with lead

High levels of lead have been found in the water supply of some areas of Galway in the second drinking water alert in the city in less than 18 months.

Tests have confirmed that lead has contaminated water in Old Mervue, Shantalla, Bohemore and Cleddagh, with lead piping in homes blamed for the presence of the metal.

Galway City Council warned residents and people working in Old Mervue, the area which is worst affected, not to drink tap water.

The problem, according to the council is not with its treatment plant, which it said produces water that “does not contain lead and is of a very high quality”.

Unlike cryptosporidium, a parasite which was found in the water supply last year, lead cannot be eliminated by boiling water.

Instead residents of houses that may have lead pipes have been urged not to drink the water.

Over-exposure to lead can damage nervous and reproductive systems and kidneys as well as causing high blood pressure and anaemia.

The council has told people in homes built before 1970 that they should leave the cold water tap running to fill the sink before drinking.

Cryptosporidium was recently discovered in a private group water scheme in east Galway.

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