Chlorine burn set to start Wednesday night to combat amoeba
DONALDSONVILLE - Parish officials said a chlorine burn will begin in the evening hours of Wednesday to combat a brain-eating amoeba found in a portion of Ascension Parish's water supply.
Officials said chlorine pumps would be set up Wednesday morning at Ascension Consolidated Utility District 1, which serves around 1,800 people in a small community north of Donaldsonville. The additional chlorine will be pumped in for 60 days to make sure the amoeba is out of the supply.
The amoeba, called Naegleria fowleri, causes a brain infection which leads to the destruction of brain tissue and is similar to meningitis. Less than 10 deaths in the United States have been traced back to the amoeba, with three in Louisiana over the last several years according to DHH.
The amoeba was detected through tests by DHH as part of the state’s new public drinking water surveillance program. The state said the water system is now performing a 60-day chlorine burn to make sure it's eliminated entirely from the water supply. DHH said the water system wasn't in compliance with new disinfectant rules passed in 2013 by emergency rule.
The state said tap water is safe to drink, but people in the area were advised not to get the water in their nose from bathing, swimming, or other such activities. Children should not be allowed to play unsupervised with hoses or sprinklers, or dunk their heads in freshwater ponds or pools filled with untreated freshwater.
People should also be sure to boil water or use sterile water before putting it into any nasal irrigation devices, and to keep any swimming pools adequately cleaned and disinfected.
More information about precautions people should take can be found on the CDC's website.