Parish already using plenty of chlorine in water supply

State asks for increase after second deadly amoeba found

October 18, 2013 at 9:35 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is requiring public water systems across the state that use chloramines to disinfect their water to increase chlorine levels throughout their distribution lines.

The new standards are being implemented after portions of the water system in Desoto Parish tested positive for the presence of a brain-eating amoeba last week. A 4-year-old boy died after contracting the amoeba from St. Bernard Parish’s water supply last month.

After the amoeba, which enters the body through the nose, was found in St. Bernard, St. Charles began taking additional samples from the water supply. Though the state Department of Health and Hospitals recommended that water systems maintain 0.5 milligrams per liter of chlorine, St. Charles Parish already uses more chlorine in their water.

“St. Charles Parish averages between 1.50 to 2.25 milligrams per liter. After our initial review of the new recommendations it does not appear that Waterworks will need to increase the level of chlorine entering the system,” Parish spokeswoman Renee Simpson said. “St. Charles has had a longstanding flushing program that allows the system to maintain adequate chlorine residuals.”

Residual chlorine levels of 0.5 milligrams per liter throughout drinking water distribution lines are key to eliminating biological contaminants such as Naegleria fowleri, the amoeba found to be present in water systems in DeSoto and St. Bernard parishes.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the safe level of chlorine allowed in drinking water is 4 milligrams per liter.

Still, the Centers for Disease Control says that residents should avoid allowing water up their nose in order to stay safe from the amoeba. Also, children should not jump into or put their heads under bathing water and should not be allowed to play with hoses or sprinklers unsupervised since water may accidentally squirt up their nose.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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