BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - The Louisiana Department of Health has issued a water contact advisory for the Bogue Chitto River for the entire length of Louisiana.
The Louisiana Department of Health says the advisory comes after a levee breach at the City of Brookhaven's sewage plant released approximately six million gallons of storm-diluted sewage east of the Bogue Chitto River.
Their decision to issue the advisory comes from information provided by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
While officials say the release is under control, they expect the already contaminated water will reach the river and flow down.
Louisiana State Health Officer, Dr. Jimmy Guidry, says that people should take precautions to lessen their chances of getting sick from exposure to the water. Microorganisms can enter the body through the mouth, nose, eyes and ears and also through cuts and wounds on the body.
The Department of Health released these guidelines for residents:
- Do not swim near a drainage pipe or in a ditch, or near runoff or littered areas.
- Do not swim in areas with warnings against swimming.
- Avoid swimming after heavy rains.
- Avoid ingesting or swallowing the water.
- Minimize immersing your head when swimming.
- Avoid swimming with an open cut or wound.
- Shower after exposure to the water.
Officials say that exposure the water could cause illnesses such as diarrhea, sore throats, stomach cramps or vomiting. Children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk of getting sick when exposed to the contaminated waters.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality are currently developing a water monitoring plan and will advise the Department of Health of any changes once results come in.