FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2010
EAST BANK OF ORLEANS PARISH UNDER PRECAUTIONARY BOIL WATER ADVISORY UNTIL SUNDAY AFTERNOON
NEW ORLEANS, LA– Mayor Landrieu, Public Health officials, and Sewerage & Water Board officials addressed the media today to update citizens on the precautionary Boil Water Advisory issued for the East Bank of Orleans Parish. The precautionary Boil Water Advisory is expected to be in place until Sunday afternoon at approximately 3:00 pm, when water test results can be verified by the state Department of Health and Hospitals. This does not affect the West Bank.
“I want to stress that this is a precautionary measure and the City is following the protocol required by the state sanitary code,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “Based on our conversations with health officials and the Sewerage and Water Board, we are confident that the risk is low.”
The State recommends that you disinfect your water by boiling it for one minute and letting it cool down prior to consumption (including drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, bathing or preparing food). 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. (If there is a flat taste, it can be eliminated by shaking the water in a bottle or pouring it from one container to another.)
"We're uncertain at this point if there was a compromise to the system," said Dr. Takeisha Davis, Regional Medical Director at the Louisiana Office of Public Health. "The major risk is from ingestion, and we think that this risk is very low."
Davis added, “There is little risk to taking a shower, as long as individuals close their mouths and do not ingest the water. However, we recommend that individuals with open wounds or immune system deficiencies take special precautions and avoid showering while the precautionary boil advisory is in effect.”
At approximately 7:00 am on Saturday, the Sewerage and Water Board's chemists and technicians began collecting 28 water samples from sites throughout the East Bank. Analysis began at 12:00 PM of all samples. Tests are being conducted at the Board's Water Purification Laboratory. Tests will be incubated for 24 hours to determine if any harmful bacteria are present in the samples. If the tests show that the water is free of harmful bacteria and has a normal chlorine concentration, the precautionary Boil Water Advisory would then be lifted with the approval of the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH).
At approximately 10:30 pm on Friday, the Sewerage & Water Board lost 25 cycle power at its main water plant, causing low water pressure (as low as 10 pounds per square inch) throughout the East Bank of the City. The Board has restored its 25-cycle power and is also operating on commercial power. According to the Board, water pressure has approached near-normal pressure, as repairs to the electrical system at the main water plant are underway. The Mayor has ordered an after action report to determine what caused the power failure.
The City’s Office of Homeland Security and the State Department of Health and Hospitals are in contact with hospital, hotel, restaurant, and tourism officials to help ensure continuity of operations.
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