St. John Parish protects water supply amid recent amoeba detection

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Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 12:22pm

As a result of the recent detection of amoeba in two parish water systems, St. John Parish has implemented additional sampling and testing procedures to ensure the water supply remains safe.

The Utilities Department has also increased the levels of chlorine and ammonia in the water system to control bacterial growth as recommended by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). Two chlorine burns have been conducted and distribution lines have been flushed with additional chlorine as a precaution.

During this process, residents MAY notice a change in the smell and taste of the water throughout the parish; however it remains safe to drink.

Residents are advised to take personal actions to protect themselves from potential exposure to amoeba by limiting the amount of water entering the nasal passage while bathing or swimming. "It is important to remember that the water is safe to drink; the amoeba cannot infect an individual through the stomach," said Louisiana State Health Office Dr. Jimmy Guidry.

DHH advises that residents should consider the following precautionary measures:

  • DO NOT allow water up your nose or sniff water when bathing, showering, washing your face, or swimming in small hard plastic/blow-up pools.
  • DO NOT jump into or put your head under water (bathtubs, small hard plastic/blow-up pools) - walk or lower yourself in.
  • DO NOT allow children to play unsupervised with hoses, sprinklers or slip-n-slides.
  • DO run bath and shower taps and hoses for 5 minutes before use to flush out the pipes.
  • DO keep small hard plastic/blow-up pools clean by emptying, scrubbing, and allowing them to dry after use.
  • DO use only boiled and cooled, distilled, or sterile water for making sinus rinse solutions for neti pots or performing ritual cleansings.
  • DO keep your swimming pool adequately disinfected before and during use.

Adequate disinfection means:

  • Pools: free chlorine at 1-3 parts per million (ppm) and pH 7.2-7.8
  • 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,

  • DO 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.

For further information, please visit dhh.louisiana.gov/WaterFacts or sjbparish.com.

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