Baton Rouge --- The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Rural Water Association, is offering free bacteriological testing (for total coliforms and E. coli) for citizens, in Southeast Louisiana in Region IX who have private drinking water wells and systems.

 LDH is responsible for regularly testing public drinking water systems; however, following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the department is temporarily expanding its testing to include homeowners with a private well system to ensure they have access to safe drinking water.

 If a homeowner's water well was flooded during Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita, the well must first be disinfected with a chlorine bleach solution then thoroughly flushed. Directions for disinfecting wells may be obtained at the drop-off points listed below. Then, the homeowner may collect a sample of water for analysis by a laboratory.  Unless the well water is boiled or chemically disinfected as needed, the water should not be used for drinking, bathing or other purposes until sample results are shown to be negative for potentially harmful bacteria.

 To have their well systems tested, homeowners can pick up sampling supplies and receive instructions on disinfecting the water, flushing the well system and collecting the test sample, from a sanitarian at the parish health unit.

 Once the sample has been collected, it must be kept refrigerated or on ice and delivered to the parish health unit within 20 hours of collection. 

The Health Units listed below will accept samples between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on designated collection days. Contact your local Parish Health Unit to learn the designated collection days for your Parish. Well water testing will begin Sept. 19. 

Drop off points are:

St. Tammany Parish Health Unit                  Livingston Parish Health Unit

         21454 Koop Drive, Suite 2-C                             20140 Iowa Street

Mandeville: Ph#985-893-6296                       Livingston: Ph#225-686-7017


Washington Parish Health Unit                    Tangipahoa Parish Health Unit

1104 Bene Street                                             15481 Club Deluxe Road

Franklinton: Ph#985-839-5646                       Hammond: Ph#985-543-4175