Water use precautions, emergency numbers

NOTE: This parish news release is dated August 27, 2014

The Department of Health and Hospitals has detected an ameba at the end of the parish line in Water District #1, the system that services Reserve, Garyville, and Mt Airy residents.

While the water remains safe for consumption, there is a risk if the ameba enters the nasal passage. It is imperative that residents refrain from water entering the nose.

St. John the Baptist Parish will begin performing chlorine burns in the system beginning tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. as a protective measure. The Utilities Department will continue the chlorine burn for 60 days.

During the chlorine burn, residents may notice a change in the smell and taste of the water. If you have any questions, please call the Emergency Operations Center at 985-652-2222.

According to the CDC, personal actions to reduce the risk of Naegleria fowleri infection should focus on limiting the amount of water going up a person's nose and lowering the chances that Naegleria fowleri may be in the water. Preventative measures recommended by the CDC include the following:

• DO NOT allow water to go up your nose or sniff water into your nose when bathing, showering, washing your face, or swimming in small hard plastic/blow-up pools.
• DO NOT jump into or put your head under bathing water (bathtubs, small hard plastic/blow-up pools) - walk or lower yourself in.
• DO NOT allow children to play unsupervised with hoses or sprinklers, as they may accidentally squirt water up their nose. Avoid slip-n-slides or other activities where it is difficult to prevent water going up the nose.
• DO run bath and shower taps and hoses for five minutes before use to flush out the pipes. This is most important the first time you use the tap after the water utility raises the disinfectant level.
• DO keep small hard plastic/blow-up pools clean by emptying, scrubbing, and allowing them to dry after each use.
• DO use only boiled and cooled, distilled or sterile water for making sinus rinse solutions for neti pots or performing ritual ablutions.
• DO keep your swimming pool adequately disinfected before and during use. Adequate disinfection means:
o Pools: free chlorine at 1-3 parts per million (ppm) and pH 7.2-7.8, and
o Hot tubs/spas: free chlorine 2-4 parts per million (ppm) or free bromine 4-6 ppm and pH 7.2-7.8.
• If you need to top off the water in your swimming pool with tap water, place the hose directly into the skimmer box and ensure that the filter is running. Do not top off by placing the hose in the body of the pool.