Public Health Advice for Galway City

24 September 2008

High levels of lead have been found in the drinking water supply in some houses in Galway City. The most likely cause of this is that there are lead pipes bringing water to the houses. Lead was commonly used in plumbing until about 1970.

We do not know at this stage why the lead is getting into the water supply, but investigations are underway to try to explain this.

Detailed water sampling will be conducted in the coming days to assess the extent of the problem.

People living in affected houses and in the Old Mervue area where there are high levels have been given specific advice about not drinking the water.

For the rest of the City the following advice is given:

  • If your home was built or modernised since 1970 it is unlikely that there are any lead pipes on your property
  • Pregnant women and carers of children under 6 who live or stay in houses built before 1970 should flush the pipes as a precaution. The cold water kitchen tap should be run to fill the sink, particularly first thing in the morning or if the water has been unused in the pipes for longer than six hours. Tap water can be used until further notice.
  • Tap water is safe for bathing, showering, brushing teeth, washing dishes and clothes even if homes have lead service pipes.

Read the following Information Leaflet on the effects of Lead on Health, which may provide answers to questions you may have.

Questions about lead water service pipes should be directed to Galway City Council at 091 536400

If you have access to the internet you will find more information on

Diarmuid O'Donovan MD
Director of Public Health
Health Service Executive, West


Last updated on: 26 / 09 / 2008