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PRECAUTIONARY 60-DAY FREE CHLORINE BURN STARTED FOR WATER CUSTOMERS IN MARYDALE SUBDIVISION, GRAND BOIS & ROMERO SUBDIVISION (BAYOU BLUE)

Post Date:08/18/2015 3:50 PM

The Lafourche Parish Water District No. 1 purchases water from Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Waterworks, Schriever Plant, for the areas of Marydale Subdivision, Grand Bois, and Romero Subdivision (Romero Street, Bayou Blue).

The LA Department of Health & Hospitals has confirmed the presence of the Naegleria fowleri ameba in the Schriever Water System at the site 588 Island Road, Montegut (Pointe Aux Chenes).  The Department asked the water system to conduct a 60-day chlorine burn to ensure that any remaining ameba in the system are eliminated.  Parish officials began the burn Monday afternoon. Information regarding this chlorine burn is provided on the “Water Treatment Change Coming Soon” which is provided below.

The affected location in Terrebonne Parish’s water system did not meet the required chloramine disinfectant levels set forth by the 2013 emergency rule at the location where the sample tested positive for the ameba. A second site tested negative for the ameba but was also below the requirement for chloramine disinfectant levels. Two other sites on the system tested negative for the ameba and met the requirement for the minimum disinfectant residual level. Tap water in Terrebonne Parish as well as the Marydale Subdivision, Grand Bois, and Romero Subdivision is safe for residents to drink, but the Department urges residents to avoid getting water in their noses. Naegleria fowleri is an ameba that occurs naturally in freshwater. 

As Naegleria fowleri infections are extremely rare, testing for this ameba in public drinking water is still relatively new and evolving. DHH conducts sampling of public drinking water systems for Naegleria fowleri each summer when temperatures rise. So far, DHH has tested a total of 21 systems for the ameba. Positive results for the ameba have previously been discovered this summer in St. Bernard and Ascension parishes. Both parishes are conducting chlorine burns as well. 

Naegleria fowleri causes a disease called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which is a brain infection that leads to the destruction of brain tissue. In its early stages, symptoms of PAM may be similar to bacterial meningitis.

The Department requested that the water system conduct a 60-day free chlorine burn in the water system. The chlorine burn will help reduce biofilm, or organic buildup, throughout the water system and will kill the ameba. The parish has agreed to conduct this precautionary measure. 

Precautionary Measures for Families

According to the CDC, every resident can take simple steps to help reduce their risk of Naegleria fowleri infection. Individuals should focus on limiting the amount of water going up their nose. 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: - Pools: free chlorine at 1 to 3 parts per million (ppm) and pH 7.2 to 7.8, and - Hot tubs/spas: free chlorine 2 to 4 parts per million (ppm) or free bromine 4 to 6 ppm and pH 7.2 to 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 the pool by placing the hose in the body of the pool.

Residents should continue these precautions until testing no longer confirms the presence of the ameba in the water system. Residents will be made aware when that occurs. For further information on preventative measures, please visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/prevention.html.  This information can also be found on lafourchegov.org, facebook.com/lafourchegov, and dhh.louisiana.gov. 

 Water Treatment Change Coming Soon

For Residents of Marydale Subdivision, Grand Bois and Romero Subdivision (Romero Street, Bayou Blue)

August 18, 2015

Lafourche Parish provides water purchased from Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Waterworks for the residents of Marydale Subdivision, Grand Bois and Romero Subdivision. All water systems including Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Waterworks, from whom we purchase water for your area, monitor the disinfectant residual in the distribution system on a monthly basis. This measurement tells us whether they are effectively disinfecting the water supply. The disinfectant residual is the amount of chlorine or chloramines in the distribution system. Chlorine and chloramines are common disinfectants used by water suppliers to kill bacteria and other microorganisms in drinking water; therefore, if the disinfectant residual is too low, microorganisms can potentially grow in the distribution piping.

In order to provide the most effective disinfection process, Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Waterworks, is making a temporary change in the type of disinfectant used in the water supply.  It is typical for water systems that use chloramines to temporarily change to chlorine in order to clean water pipes and provide a reliable disinfectant residual throughout all points in the distribution system. Free chlorine is proven to be more effective in killing organisms within the pipes of the distribution system.

When is this switch scheduled?

The temporary switch from chloramines to free chlorine started August 17, 2015 and last for at least 60 days. If a longer duration is required, then we will continue to use free chlorine as long as necessary.

What is being done?

We are going to change the distribution system disinfectant from chloramines to free chlorine. Although the level of disinfectant will remain the same, the type of disinfectant will change.

We will continue to monitor the chlorine levels throughout the water system.

What should I do?

You do not need to boil your water or take other actions. This is not an emergency. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately.

What can I do if I notice a chlorine taste or smell?

During the temporary switch, you may notice a chlorine taste and/or odor in your drinking water. Chlorine levels will continue to meet EPA standards and are not a health risk.

  • Run the cold water tap for several minutes when water is not used for several days.
  • Collect and refrigerate cold tap water in an open pitcher. Be sure to collect water after running the cold water tap for two minutes. Within a few hours, the chlorine taste and odor will disappear.
  • Water filters can reduce chlorine taste and smell. Be sure to use a filter certified to meet National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards and replace the filter cartridge as recommended by the manufacturer.

Who should take special precautions during the temporary switch to Chlorine?

Customers who normally take special precautions to remove chloramine from tap water, such as dialysis centers, medical facilities and aquatic pet owners, should continue to take the same precautions during the temporary switch to chlorine. Most methods for removing chloramine from tap water are effective in removing chlorine.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses).  You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

Water System Contact:  Lafourche Parish Water District No. 1, (985) 532-6924

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