Water warning issued

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 23, 2006

St. John officials say there’s no serious danger


Staff Reporter

ST. JOHN – St. John the Baptist parish residents on the East Bank of the Mississippi River recently received notice from the water board that the water supply for the second quarter of 2006 was in violation of certain drinking water standards imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1998.

The notice states &#8220The St. John Consolidated Waterworks District #1 water supply is in violation of the maximum containment level for total triahlomethanes (TTHMs) as set forth in the State and the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. This is not an emergency. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately.”

The EPA set the standard for allowable TTHMs at 80 parts per billion in 1998 to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health affects, which long term exposure to TTHM levels above standard have been proven to cause, according to the water board notice. Tests done on samples from April through June of this year showed the water contained 91 parts per billion.

St. John Public Utilities Director Ralph Bean reiterated that there is no emergency, and the levels are only in violation of a standard imposed on St. John in 2002.

&#8220It’s a requirement for us to send these letters when we exceed the EPA’s limits,” Bean said. &#8220They didn’t reduce those levels until 2002 and we weren’t exceeding those limits until they lowered it.”

While the EPA set the standard for allowable TTHMs in 1998, St. John had until 2002 to implement the necessary materials to bring the water board up to par for the stricter policy.

Voters approved a bond issue in 2004 for $9.5 million to rectify the problem by upgrading the water treatment system at the Ruddock Well and the Lions Water Plant which service St. John Parish, according to Bean, but that project won’t be completed until next year at the earliest.

Bean said the project is still on schedule and should be ready sometime in the first quarter of 2007, but the water is still safe to drink and there should be no cause for alarm.

The notice states anyone with further questions should contact the Utilities Department at 985 651-7670.