Parishes take measures to ensure water safety

Following the discovery of the rare waterborne Naegleria fowleri amoeba in St. Bernard Parish's water supply, several other parishes have taken steps to ensure water safety.

In St. Charles Parish, waterworks treatment operations personnel have increased sampling of the parish's water system to ensure its continued safety.

Effective disinfection is the main method of control against the amoeba. This includes maintaining continuous disinfection residuals throughout the water distribution system. St. Charles Parish routinely monitors chlorine residuals at 77 locations throughout the system, from very near the plant to the end of the line and in between. Additional samples are being taken as a precautionary measure. Waterworks officials will continue to monitor the situation.

Plaquemines Parish has put in a request to the state to get its water system tested.

Parish employees will flush our water lines this weekend.

"There is no reason to believe that we have a problem with our water," says Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser. "The steps we are taking are purely precautionary measures."

The parish is also looking for a long term program that will periodically test the parish's water system to insure that residents of Plaquemines Parish are safe. Following proper protocol, Plaquemines Parish Government has put in a request with the State and the Department of Health and Hospitals to test the water system in Plaquemines Parish. The state in turn will meet with the Center for Disease Control to decide when and how the Plaquemines Parish water system will be tested.

As the parish flushes the water system this weekend, residents may see open fire hydrants. This is a part of process, and should be no cause for concern.

St. Tammany Parish government spokesman Ronnie Simpson says chlorine residual levels are checked seven days a week and so far there are no abnormal levels.

In Jefferson Parish, normal chlorine residuals are sufficient to destroy the amoeba. The parish says it anticipates no problems and will continue to diligently monitor the situation.