Terrebonne checks water supply after problems elsewhere - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Terrebonne checks water supply after problems elsewhere

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HOUMA, La. - The Houma water treatment plant can process up to eight million gallons a day.

Water comes in from the Intracoastal, then goes through a three-step process before it's ready to drink. One of those steps adds chlorine and ammonia, known as chloramines.

Mike Sobert is general manager for Consolidated Waterworks District 1, Terrebonne's only water system. He's been reviewing operations locally since a brain-eating amoeba showed up in St. Bernard Parish.

"We kind of upped the ante," he says. "We went back, we rechecked, we made sure that our data is correct that we were taking, we made sure we're adding the proper chlorine to the water to keep our residuals where the state wants them and then after that, we just sort of sat back and waited. We feel very comfortable that Terrebonne Parish is in good shape."

The Department of Health and Hospitals this week recommended systems in 34 parishes increase the amount of chlorine in the water. The list included the plants in Houma and Schriever.

The recommended level of chlorine residuals is now .5 milligrams per liter of water.

Research shows that's enough to kill the brain-eating amoeba found in St. Bernard and De Soto Parishes.

Sobert says Terrebonne has always been well above that level.

"When the water leaves our two treatment plants, our chlorine residual is four," he says. "That's what we set it at, that's how much chlorine we put in the water."

That's eight times the amount required by DHH.

Sobert doesn't expect to make any changes to the levels in Terrebonne or flush the system with a chlorine burn like St. Bernard is currently doing.

He understands the concern, though he can't stress enough that the water in Terrebonne Parish is safe.

"If you drink the water, your body acids will kill it," he says. "You'll never know any different, nothing happens. It's only susceptible to people who get that water with the amoeba up the nostrils and into their brain."

The treatment and testing continues to make sure that doesn't happen in Terrebonne Parish.

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