Baton Rouge -   The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals' Safe Drinking Water Program today issued its most comprehensive water system boil advisory list following Hurricane Isaac.

Major storm events like Hurricane Isaac that cause power outages can result in pressure loss for a water system, or floodwater flowing into the system can cause natural contaminants to enter the drinking water supply. The LDH Office of Public Health staff contacted water systems around the State to assess whether their systems experienced any of these issues and would need a precautionary boil advisory.

See LDH's list of public water systems in Louisiana under a boil advisory. LDH also has a list of water systems safe to drink.

Customers of a water system that is under a boil advisory should disinfect it prior to consumption until notified the system is restored and the advisory is lifted. People whose water system is under a boil advisory should disinfect water prior to drinking it, cooking with it, brushing teeth or preparing food using one of the following methods:

  • Boil water for one full minute in a clean container. The one-minute boil time begins after the water has been brought to a rolling boil. (The flat taste that sometimes results from this process can be eliminated by shaking the water in a bottle or pouring it from one container to another.)
  • If the water is clear coming from the tap, mix 1/8 teaspoon of unscented, liquid chlorine laundry bleach with one gallon of water and let it stand for at least 30 minutes prior to consumption. If the water is cloudy or colored, use 1/4 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.

Boiling is the most effective method of disinfecting drinking water, and is particularly important for people have compromised immune systems (e.g. those who have HIV/AIDS or cancer, and organ transplant patients who are taking immunosuppressive drugs.) This is also recommended for infants and the elderly.

People who obtain their water from these systems must continue disinfecting their drinking water by one of the above listed methods until the Department of Health issues a public notice that the water has been tested and is now safe to drink.

Consumers may experience some irregularities with their water while the system restores treatment services to ensure the water is safe. It is expected that water may have an unusual chlorine odor or have possible sediments appear in it while special precautions are taking place.  Flushing household taps for a few minutes should fix this problem.

Contact:  OPH Safe Drinking Water Program, 225-342-7499.