The city of Port Allen water system is currently equipped to protect users from a brain-eating ameba, Public Works Director Terry Vincent confirmed.
In November of last year, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) issued an emergency rule that “required that water systems in the state maintain a higher residual disinfectant level and increase their number of sampling sites by 25 percent,” according to a press release.
State health officials enacted the rule after water in St. Bernard and DeSoto parishes tested positive for Naegleria fowleri ameba last year.
Naegleria fowleri ameba does not affect drinking water, only activities such as swimming and using a neti pot that would cause the ameba to enter the nose.
The city of Port Allen and West Baton Rouge Parish were not included on DHH’s March 21 list of water systems not in compliance with the emergency rule as of Feb. 1. ‘Not in compliance’ means that those systems failed to meet the minimum chlorine level, according to the press release.
“Port Allen has some very good, safe water,” Vincent said, adding that the city water undergoes more strenuous testing than bottled water.
The city meets the minimum chlorine levels per the emergency rule, but Vincent said about 25 percent of the additional sample stations required by the state need to be installed.
He said the state requires eight water samples a month, at different times of the month and from eight different locations.
In January, Vincent said the first four water samples were taken, but the last four water samples were not, due to the freezing weather and sleet.
The city was obligated to alert customers of those missed samples, which they did with the March billing statement and in the West Side Journal. Vincent said the samples before and the samples after the missed set of samples were all clear.
“We never had a bad sample,” he said.
Vincent said other recent improvements to the water system include a natural gas generator for the 6th Street water well.
He said both water wells in the city (on 6th Street and on Avenue D) now have generators.
“If we have any kind of power failure we are prepared,” he said. “It won’t affect our water.”