Thursday, March 27, 2014
St. John the Baptist Parish - Parish and state officials for The Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) want to assure residents that potable water in St. John the Baptist Parish is safe to drink. DHH recently initiated a new disinfection rule called the "The Emergency Rule" designed to elevate chlorine disinfection levels within a potable water system to further assist with elimination of bacterial contamination. This new rule is very comprehensive and will take some time to achieve desired levels.
The Utilities Department has followed the Emergency Rule since it was issued on November 6, 2013 and has aggressively chlorinated all water lines and increased testing and sampling of the system as per the new rule. Based on sampling results, it was determined that the West Bank Water System did not reach 100% of the new higher chlorine residual levels for the first month. The Parish achieved 80% of the new standard on the first attempt in February.
The Parish has been working with DHH to obtain approval for enhanced disinfection techniques that will assist in obtaining 100 % compliance. Approval was obtained on March 24, 2014, which is the same day the emergency rule compliance report was issued to the public.
DHH Secretary, Kathy Kliebert stated, "It is important for users in these systems to understand that their water remains safe to drink, even if the system did not comply with the new rule yet," and "the raised chlorination standards are higher than the national standards for drinking water."
Authorization to conduct the enhanced disinfection techniques was recently granted by DHH, to SJBP; however, a Public Service Announcement must be issued before initiating the new enhanced disinfection techniques.
"We have worked closely with DHH since implementation of the Emergency Rule and will continue existing procedures to assure the safety of our potable water," said Parish President Natalie Robottom. As of this date, potable water continues to comply with all DHH bacterial standards.