Baton Rouge – State and Local health officials are warning the residents of East Jefferson Waterworks District #1 (eastbank), West Jefferson Waterworks District #2 (westbank), including Grand Isle, St. Charles Water District #1 (eastbank) and Westwego Waterworks not to 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 through out Southeast Louisiana are notifying their customers of the status of their water systems.
At this time health officials have been notified of a loss in pressure in the following water systems:
- East Jefferson Waterworks District #1 (eastbank)
- West Jefferson Waterworks District #2 (westbank), including Grand Isle
- St. Charles Water District #1 (eastbank)
- Westwego Waterworks
Therefore, health officials have issued a boil notice for these water systems, effective immediately.
Health officials are cautioning the users of the water systems to disinfect their water before consuming or using for food preparation by any of the following means:
- Boil water for one full minute in a clean container. The one minute starts after the water has been brought to a rolling boil. The flat taste can be eliminated by shaking the water in a bottle or pouring it from one container to another.
- 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 2% United States Pharmacopeia (USP) tincture of iodine solution (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.
Health officials note that boiling is the most effective method of disinfection of water particularly for people who are severely immunocompromised (infected with HIV/AIDS, cancer and transplant patients taking immunosuppressive drugs, or people born with a weakened immune system) and for infants and elderly who wish to take extra precautions.
The boil notice will remain in effect until rescinded by an authorized representative of the Department of Health and Hospitals.