March 23, 2016
Water Company: Peoples Water Company
Ascension Parish, Louisiana

Chlorine Dioxide

  • On March 22, the Department of Health (DHH), per the State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry, ordered Peoples Water System to stop treating its water with chlorine dioxide.
  • Today, the Department of Health verified that chloride dioxide is no longer being used by the system.
  • There is still a chlorine dioxide by-product in the system. Testing was conducted today to determine levels of this by-product, and those samples have been sent to a certified lab.
  • The DO NOT DRINK the water advisory is still in place until further notice.


Today's On-Site Visit

  • In addition to using chlorine dioxide to treat its water, Peoples Water also uses chloramines. Chloramines are commonly used as a disinfectant and are typically used in conjunction with other approved treatment chemicals in surface water treatment plants.
  • LDH and a consultant to the water system conducted on-site sampling this morning. The sampling was for:
  1. Chlorine Dioxide - All results were found to be below the EPA standard for maximum residual disinfection level, or MRDL.
  2. Chlorite (a chlorine dioxide disinfectant by-product) - A field measurement was taken, and the results showed levels below the EPA standard. Additional samples were sent to a certified lab. Results are being expedited and are necessary to determine the levels of these by-products in the system.
  3. Bacteria - Samples were collected from the water system and send to the LDH lab to check the levels of coliform bacteria. 
  • LDH is awaiting the results of the lab tests before the agency can determine the appropriate next steps.


Next Steps

  • LDH is requiring Peoples Water System to submit a water treatment plan to the agency. This plan must be reviewed and approved by DHH. The plan must address treatment techniques. After the plan is implemented, LDH will conduct sampling. When the samples are tested, lab results must be within acceptable ranges.
  • LDH is drafting violation notices and an administrative order that address this week's findings. The administrative order will establish compliance timelines for the water system and the penalties if compliance is not achieved.



Dr. Jimmy Guidry, State Health Officer

Today, I still have more questions than answers. The water system has been unable to satisfactorily answer our questions as to why their self-generated test reports that had chlorine dioxide levels above the EPA standard were not reported to us. I am also concerned that the system cannot demonstrate any actions they took when they learned of these levels.


The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents.To learn more about LDH, visit For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's  Twitter account and Facebook.