Irish Water confirm asbestos cement pipes used in Laois mains water supply

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Irish Water has confirmed that there are a number of areas in Laois where there are asbestos cement pipes in the mains water system.

It said that this pipe material was widely used in the past.

While there are asbestos cement pipes, Irish Water has said the water schemes in Laois are not of the same scale as the one in Drogheda.

Tens of thousands of people have been left without water this week in Drogheda after an asbestos pipe burst on the main water supply.

Asbestos can be found in approximately 6,000 km of Ireland’s water mains, but there is no evidence to show that the use of this type of piping is dangerous, according to Irish Water.

Read more: Rathdowney residents without water after pump failure.

Asbestos cement was valued for its durability and heat resistance, commonly used for mains in Ireland, the UK and Europe from the 1950s to the 1980s.

No new asbestos pipes have been laid in Ireland since the 1980s and plastic materials are now preferred.

Asbestos is a known cause of cancer when fibres are inhaled.

The World Health Organisation says there is no evidence to suggest that an increased cancer risk is associated with ingestion of asbestos in drinking water.

Read more: Laois people could have to ration water depending on the weather.