St. John to start using chloramine disinfectant

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, January 6, 2015

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish’s Water District 1 will switch from a free chlorine disinfectant back to a chloramine disinfectant effective Monday.

The switch in water treatment follows the Dec. 19 announcement by the Department of Health and Hospitals that St. John the Baptist Parish’s Water District 1 tested negative for the presence of Naegleria fowleri ameba.

Upon detection of the ameba Aug. 27, DHH issued an Emergency Order requiring the parish to perform a free-chlorine burn — maintaining 1.0 mg/l of free chlorine throughout the system for 60 days —in efforts to kill the ameba within the system.

Water District 1 serves six parish schools and more than 12,500 people in Reserve, Garyville, Mt. Airy and a small portion of LaPlace.

DHH Chief Deputy Engineer Caryn Benjamin said DHH regulations allow the switch back to a chloramine system, and requires the parish give residents a week’s notice of the change.

Baileigh Rebowe, a parish public information officer, said Monday residents of Water District 1 were alerted of the change.

“Anytime you change a disinfectant protocol, there will be chemical changes in the water,” Benjamin said, adding the switch will lead to taste and smell changes in the water that residents will notice.

She added, however, the changes would not be as severe as when the burn process began.