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LDH Confirms Naegleria Fowleri Amoeba in the Bossier Water System Drinking water is safe to consume, but residents should take precautions. Routine drinking water testing by the Louisiana Department of Health has confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri, an amoeba that occurs naturally in freshwater, in the Bossier Water System. One of the five (5) sites sampled on October 2, 2018 is positive for Naegleria fowleri. Naegleria fowleri DNA was detected in the sample collected at a sample site on Bluebell Drive in the southern part of the water system. The tap water is safe for residents to drink, but the Health Department urges residents to avoid getting water in their noses.
In order to remedy the amoeba situation, the Bossier Water System is making a temporary change in the type of disinfectant used in the water supply. Disinfectants (chlorine or chloramines) are used by water suppliers to kill bacteria and other microorganisms in drinking water. 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 water system. Free chlorine is proven to be more effective in killing microorganisms within the pipes of the distribution system. Bossier Water System monitors the disinfectant level in the distribution system on a daily basis. The temporary switch from chloramines to free chlorine will start October 10 and last for at least 60 days. Country Place Subdivision, Town of Benton, and Cypress Black Bayou Water Systems will also experience the change in disinfection to free chlorine since these areas purchase water from the City of Bossier. If a longer duration is required, then we will continue to use free chlorine as long as necessary.
What can I do if I notice a chlorine taste or smell?
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 for the increased Chlorine levels?
Customers who normally take special precautions to remove chlorine/chloramines from tap water, such as dialysis centers, medical facilities and aquatic pet owners, should continue to take the same precautions during this period. 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.
Residents of City of Bossier, Country Place Subdivision, Town of Benton, and Cypress Black Bayou Water Systems
Naegleria Fowleri Amoeba 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. 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.
If you need to manually top off the water in your swimming pool with tap water, follow the guidance below.
DO ensure that the filter is running and top off your pool by adding water directly into the skimmer box. The hose should not be submerged into the skimmer box or pool water. Hold the end of your hose in the air at least two inches above the flood-level rim of the skimmer box. This can be accomplished by securing the hose to a heavy object such as a chair or cinder block above the skimmer and ensuring the hose will run into the skimmer box without the hose being submerged.
DO NOT top off your pool by submerging the hose in the body of the pool.
DO keep your swimming pool or hot tub adequately disinfected before and during use. Adequate disinfection standards are listed below.
For pools, keep pH levels from 7.2 to 7.8. If you are using cyanuric acid-free chlorine, use between two and 10 parts per million. If you are not using cyanuric acid-free chlorine, keep chlorine levels at one to three parts per million.
For hot tubs and spas, keep pH levels from 7.2 to 7.8, and keep either free chlorine levels from two to four parts per million or free bromine levels from four to six parts per million. Residents should continue these precautions until testing no longer confirms the presence of the amoeba in the water system. The water system will notify residents when that occurs.
For more information, visit http://www.ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/1696.
During normal business hours, residents may call (318) 741-8466 with any questions concerning the free chlorine flush. After regular business hours, please contact (318) 741-8371.
The Bossier City Utilities Department appreciates the patience and understanding of its residents as it works to further improve the quality of the water for all customers.