Baton Rouge – Because many residents are without utilities and therefore unable to boil their water, health officials offer more specific recommendations for water disinfection.
Residents in areas currently experiencing low water pressure should not drink, make ice from, brush teeth, prepare or rinse food with tap water unless it has been properly disinfected until further notice. Due to pressure loss in the water systems that has resulted from Hurricane Katrina, it has been determined that some water systems may not be safe for consumption at this time. At this time, water systems throughout Southeast Louisiana are notifying their customers of the status of their water systems.
Health officials are cautioning users who are unable to boil water to use the following methods to disinfect their water before consuming or using for food preparation:
- If the water is clear, mix 1/8 teaspoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach with one gallon of water and let it stand for 30 minutes prior to consumption. If the water is cloudy or colored, use ¼ teaspoon per gallon of water. Be sure to mix thoroughly. If the treated water has too strong a chlorine taste, it can be made more palatable by allowing the water to stand exposed to the air for a few hours or by pouring it from one clean container to another several times.
- If the water is clear, mix five drops of common household tincture of iodine from the medicine cabinet or first aid package to each quart of clear water and let it stand for at least 30 minutes prior to consumption. If the water is cloudy or colored, use 10 drops to each quart of water.
The water disinfectant notice will remain in effect until rescinded by an authorized representative of the Department of Health and Hospitals.