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L’OBSERVATEUR editorial: St. John water customers warned of flush’s impacts

The noticeable impacts to your St. John water could include discoloration or cloudiness and possibly a slight chlorine odor or taste.

It’s a possibility St. John the Baptist Parish Government officials want residents in Edgard, Reserve, Garyville and Mt. Airy to be aware of.

“What now?” might be the response of community members weary with H2O concerns over meters, severed water lines or single-vehicle crashes (2016) into a fire hydrant on Woodland Drive impacting 20,000 residents.

Coastal Drilling and Utility Services, a Verizon Wireless contractor, damaged the main water line and piping at the intersection of Cardinal Street and Highway 628 on Aug. 27, and Parish officials said this week they are still working to determine who was at fault in the process, with hopes of a meeting with Verizon next week to add clarity to the situation.

The most recent water release, we’re told this week, is all about precaution, with the negative side effects not a given for all involved.

“If this is experienced, you may want to run the water through the tap until it clears,” a release from the Parish reads. “Minor pressure fluctuations and small air pockets may also occur. Fire hydrant flushing should remove a majority of the color and odor, but some may reach customer lines during the process.”

The effort is part of St. John Utilities work conducting a voluntary chlorine flush with Water Districts #1 and #2.

The Parish plans to begin the work Oct. 1, with a 30-day cycle.

The water is safe to drink during this time, officials said.

“Due to the magnitude of customers on the LaPlace Water system, a chlorine flush for LaPlace will be forthcoming at a later time,” the Parish announced.

The chlorine burns are designed to maintain clean water and minimize the potential for harmful bacteria in the water system. Parish officials said the water disinfection process is changed during the flush from chloramines to free chlorine, utilized as a “stronger and faster-acting disinfectant.”

“Customers may notice open fire hydrants throughout the parish during this period to allow flushing of the system, which helps to remove sediment from the pipes and distribute the change in disinfectant,” the Parish said. “At the end of the free burn, the standard chemicals used for disinfections will be reintroduced to the system and be returned to normal operating conditions.”

When is comes to our water, many residents find their chief concern centers on drinkability.

That, we’re told, is not in doubt. The water is safe to drink throughout the flush.

That’s a weird sentence to type.

“Any odor and color issues will be nuisance only, which will subside as the flushing is completed,” the Parish says. “Discoloration in laundry is possible during this time. Customers who use tap water for kidney dialysis at home should consult their doctor to advise them if any changes are necessary in their residual disinfectant neutralization procedures.”

Those with concerns can call 985-651-6800.