Contact: EPA – Communications Office, (214) 665-2200
LDH -- Communications Office, (225) 342-1532
Hotel and Restaurant Owners Urged by EPA and LA Dept. of Health and Hospitals to Ensure Healthy Drinking Water
(Baton Rouge, LA) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDHH), along with other federal, state and local public health officials, urges the owners and managers of New Orleans-area restaurants and hotels to ensure that drinking water provided for customers is purchased only from reputable experienced vendors.
Federal officials responding to Hurricane Katrina have become aware of several instances of drinking water vendors bypassing established safeguards and using inappropriate vehicles to deliver water to customers, potentially exposing both residents and responders to water contaminated with unhealthy bacteria or chemicals. On Sunday, October 2nd EPA and LDHH officials met with a major New Orleans hotel chain to urge caution in using potentially improper water handling services. The hotel took immediate action and no illnesses have been reported. An investigation of the transport service is on-going.
Suppliers of drinking water are responsible for securing appropriate and clean trucks to transport potable water to customers to ensure that drinking water does not become contaminated with unhealthy substances. Several locations have been identified in the New Orleans area for local vendors to obtain potable drinking water.
Restaurants and hotels have a unique responsibility to ensure that they are providing clean and healthful water for their customers by only purchasing drinking water from reputable vendors following appropriate health precautions.
Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention
& Visitors Bureau said, "New Orleans's hotel industry has always been and always will be unequivocally committed to providing the safest, cleanest drinking water to our guests. Only bottled water is currently being provided for consumption in New Orleans hotels."
Drinking water customers and vendors are both reminded that fuel trucks, chemical haulers and other waste collection vehicles should never be used to transport potable water. Using appropriate vehicles to deliver drinking water can help ensure that returning residents of New Orleans as well as responders have access to clean, healthy drinking water.
Potable drinking water is available in the following locations in the New Orleans area:
- East Jefferson Water Treatment Plant, Jefferson Parish
- West Jefferson Water Treatment Plant, Jefferson Parish
- Algiers Water Treatment Plant, Orleans Parish
- I-12 & MacMillon Water Treatment Plant, Baton Rouge.
More information on EPA’s activities responding to Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana is available at:http://www.epa.gov/katrina .
For guidelines on reopening restaurants following the hurricane, see:http://www.dhhemergencynews.com or call the Sanitarian Services Division at (225) 763-5555.