Parish officials steaming over nonprofit group’s water study

The parish’s waterworks director criticized a recent study stating the water has cancer-causing contaminants as really being aimed at creating “mistrust and fear of public water supplies.”

Parish Waterworks Director Robbie Brou said the parish’s drinking water is safe and in compliance at Monday’s Council meeting.

“I would like to be clear that St. Charles Parish’s drinking water is in full compliance with all state and federal water quality standards, is safe to drink and has been recognized by local, state and regional authorities as being one of the best tasting on a consistent basis,” Brou said. “Our record of accomplishment with regulatory compliance has been impeccable throughout my tenure with the department and started decades prior to my career with the Waterworks as evidenced by St. Charles Water District #2 being awarded with the first ever EPA Operational Excellence Award in the country. “

He disputes the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s “Tap Water Database,” which outlines test results based on the water utility and provided by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Enforcement and Compliance history database.

Brou maintained, “The health guidelines they claim are not being met do not represent the consensus of the mainstream scientific and health communities.”

Overall, the report outlines compliance issues with many of the nation’s water systems.

But Brou disputes the findings.

“This organization’s website is a compilation of self-imposed standards that reinforces their claim that most water systems are failing,” he said. “However, to them the answer is not bottled water, which they are equally critical of, due to its leaching unacceptable levels of cancer causing agents from the plastic bottles, their answer is to use a point of use filter which surprisingly you can buy straight from their site.”

Brou also maintained EPA reports more than 90 percent of the country’s drinking water systems meet federal health-based drinking water standards yet this report would have residents believe otherwise.

The EWG report states there are cancer-causing contaminants detected above health guidelines in the District 1 water supply. In District 2, the report lists 10 contaminants in this category and 12 others detected.

For St. Charles Parish, the study says top sources of these pollutants listed in both districts include industry, treatment byproducts and as naturally occurring.

But Brou said the parish’s waterworks has been repeatedly recognized as an example “on how to do it right” by regional and state Department of Health regulators, as well as has been working with them to develop new water standards for Louisiana.

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